Tag Archives for " Midfield "

8 v 5 Formation Possession Game

In this week's Animated Drills Video I'll show you a video of an activities that I first shared in episode 252 of the CoachingSoccerWeekly.com podcast. It focused on different ways to train your #6 and the other central midfielders. The diagram is being created with the Academy Soccer Coach software. See more at www.academysoccercoach.co.uk Tom

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Attacking Spaces Around the Defensive Midfielder

By Alex Trukan Defensive midfielder’s position has been a response to available half spaces between units. Many team used to play with flat lines (eg. 4-4-2) what created gaps easy to exploit by the opposition. Defensive midfielder’s role was to cover these spaces, screen through balls and mark any opposition players within these areas. There

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Flexibility of the Midfield Three

By Alex Trukan With many teams trying to overload central areas, playing with three central midfielders has become widely used. This often initiates a discussion on whether to play a triangle with a point up (two defensive midfielders) or point down (one defensive midfielder). Both of the shapes have certain strengths and weaknesses. However, whichever

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The Controlling Defensive Midfielder

By Alex Trukan Defensive midfielder’s position has been recognised as a key to both defensive and attacking security for years. Many centre backs are becoming confident with the ball and many defensive midfielders are playing as the last man, the center back position has continued to evolve. The line between centre backs and defensive midfielders is

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Striker's Movements to Support Midfield Play

By Alex Trukan Recent years has seen a rise in formations and styles of play overloading midfield areas and getting away from the traditional role of number ‘9’, replacing it with a ‘false 9’ and formations like 1-4-6-0. That has pointed many coaches’ attention to possible alternative roles strikers can have. One of the more

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The Defensive Midfielder Out of Possession

By Alex Trukan Next to the centre backs and full backs, defensive midfielder is one of the main players responsible for restricting opposition’s from creating chances and regaining possession. The role of typical defensive midfielder emerged as a response to the newly developed position of ‘number 10’ years ago. His main role was therefore to

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Attacking Activities from the Midfield

By Chris Kouns USSF A License (USSF Coaching Education Instructor) – NSCAA Premier Diploma (NSCAA Coaching Education Associate Staff Coach) – Head Women’s Soccer Coach – Georgia Gwinnett College In these activities we are working on our midfielder’s ability to use movement and run to goal. Exercise #1 Beginning 15 yards outside of the 18

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Classic Counter-Attacking

By Alex Trukan

According to the type, counter-attack can be divided into four different styles: solo, classic, collective and advanced. Solo involves a player picking up the ball and running with it to score, while other players just make supportive runs to create space. A Collective one is based on a group of midfield players who play against disorganised defence. The Advanced type is when the ball is won higher up the pitch due to pressing being applied. The Classical type of counter-attacking strategy, which involves regaining possession deep in their own half and using quick play to progress forwards and score will be presented below.

Using the target man

When counter-attacking from deep position it is often a case of having 10 players behind the ball what makes it extremely difficult to collectively threaten the opposition defence. That is why, it is crucial to have a target man in front of the ball who can be used as a player to pass to and gain time for the supporting players to arrive. His positioning should be ideally on the weak side of the

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Midfielders Getting into Goalscoring Positions

By Alex Trukan

Modern players are becoming more universal and adaptable to different situations and requirements. Defender is no longer responsible just for defending and striker’s role have evolved and now different types of strikers have emerged, who not only score, but assist, distribute and defend. Midfielders’ role has been probably the most multidimensional out of all the positions for many years. These type of players have numerous responsibilities both out and in possession of the ball. One of the crucial elements that can make a good midfielder a great one is his scoring ability.

Working off striker’s movements

The type and direction of midfielder’s forward run will be determined by the position of the striker who should move across the opposition back line and create space for the

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Attacking Movements of Central Midfielders

By Alex Trukan

One of the advantages of a 4-3-1-2 system is having an overload in midfield (when playing against 4-4-2) without sacrificing the amount of forward players. Playing with a triangle, whether it’s a point up or down, makes supporting of the striker easier, and at the same time, remaining balanced in defence with one holding player. The profile of the midfielders is evolving into multidimensional role, combining qualities to support building up from the back (movements to receive, support, using blind space, passing and receiving range and quality) as well as attacking on the opposition’s half (playing off striker’s shoulder, combination play, through balls, movements to support wing play or shots from distance). Apart several characteristics that remain the same despite of the team tactics, there are also components that change depending on the formation and system employed.

Team Shape – Understanding Context

In order to understand the attacking profile of the midfielders in a given formation, it is important to be aware of the whole team tactics – understand the

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Movements of the Midfield Three in a 1-4-3-3

By Alex Trukan

The system with a three midfielders operating in a triangle is widely known and implemented all around the world. Over the last years, numerous variations of this tactics have been developed and used what has led to the successes of the teams like FC Barcelona or Bayern Munich. One of the crucial components of this system are movements of the midfield three, which not only enable more effective build-up play but also support forwards in the final third of the pitch.

Starting positions – basic shape

When the defenders are in possession during building up play from the back, three midfielders form a triangle with a point down (defensive midfielder being positioned closer to own goal than the two offensive midfielders). That creates some defensive cover and great attacking potential with two

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Attacking in the Middle Third and Anaerobic Capacity

By Alex Trukan

This game-related practice combines tactical and physical development focus. From the tactical perspective, its aim is to improve attacking from the middle third by exploiting the space in behind of the defence using dribbling, through passes and forward runs with and without the ball. Apart from that, it develops Aerobic Capacity which is crucial for maintaining the quality of actions throughout the whole match by quick recovery after high intensity efforts.

Set-Up and directions

Set up a pitch of approximately 30x40 yards (depending on players’ characteristics) with a separate area in the middle third as shown on the diagram. Divide the team into two groups of 4. There should be one goalkeeper in each goal.


The starting point of this game is in the middle third. Two teams compete and

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Playing with Inverted Full Backs

By Stevie Grieve

Positioning in modern football is a massive part of the success of a team, particularly in the development of an attacking game but also in ball conservation to defend, while defensive positioning has always been an important factor in a successful defensive unit. With Pep Guardiola (of whom regular blog readers will know I analyse his teams on a regular basis), his tactical innovations are changing the way the game is played and coached across all levels.

Inverted Full Backs to overload the centre and cover several zones with one player


The full backs of Bayern – Alaba and Lahm – can both be played in central midfield and at full back in both attacking and defensive phases. This gives Guardiola so many more options but instead of being a traditional coach and using

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Bayern Munich's Positioning in Midfield

By Stevie Grieve

Bayern Positioning3

Bayern initial set up – 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 hybrid

With Alonso (yellow) screening infront of the defence and playing laterally, this allows Rode (yellow) and Hojbjerg (orange) to be free to drift between the lines and support if Robben or Ribery (Red) stay wide. If they stay wide, Bernat/Rafinha stay deeper and tuck inside as inverted FB’s and help overload centrally to look for forward passes through the defence.

Bayern Positioning 4

Bayern 4-3-3 with 1v1 zones on the side and inverted full backs

As Robben and Ribery are excellent 1v1 players, staying wide opens up a lot of space in

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Lack of Defensive Cover in the Midfield

By Stevie Grieve

In the last few seasons, Arsenal have tried to play a possession and pressing system, but often with massive instability, mainly through Mikel Arteta’s bad decision making at the bottom of the midfield triangle when deciding to press (and often foul) or drop off.

As he was always more of a controlling central midfielder than a deep playmaker in the #6 position, adjusting to this position in an attacking sense has been a lot easier than the defensive aspects needed for the role, such as pressing, covering, screening passes into strikers, tracking runners and offering protection to centre backs.

In the recent game against Manchester United, the lack of stability in the Arsenal midfield out of possession was again evident, particularly when pressing, and often with no stability around or behind the pressing zone.

Example; Rooney’s goal for 2-0 in the 86th minute



In this image, the ball is rebounded to the central midfielder. Above the dotted line, there is only 1 player able to confront the ball carrier and delay play, and not from a weak side position. This dictates that

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