Tag Archives for " Vasco "

Spatial Awareness is a Myth - Tottenham Hotspur

By Vasco Mota Pereira, PortuGOAL correspondent

Playing football it the highest echelons revolves around much more than simply nutmegs and tackles. Despite what the vox populi may have us thinking, results are more than the mere consequence of wanting the win more than one's opponent or "getting stuck into them".

Even though the motivational aspects of the game are all too important, the proper organisation of a team may help players even more - particularly when they are exhausted, hearts beating at 180 bpm and little oxygen actually getting to their brains, impairing the decision-making process. That is why well-oriented exercises in training sessions are vital to get the team to perform consistently week in, week out, rather than succumb to the players or supporters' moods.

As mentioned in the previous post, zonal marking seems to be all but disappearing in England. With the influx of foreign managers and players towards the Premier League, the English game became more Continental and not as insular - in short, less about individual duels as Sir Bobby Robson liked to emphasize during his stint in Portugal. However, with the advent of 4x2x3x1, teams tend to be a little less packed down the middle and to defend in two banks of four, often opening up huge gaps in between their lines.

After breaking down Manchester United's vulnerabilities, it is now time to take a look at Tottenham - specifically their match against Southampton a couple of weeks ago and the Saints' goal.

Southampton-Tottenham 1

Tottenham had lost the ball a few seconds earlier whilst attacking down their left wing. Southampton followed the textbook and immediately

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Manchester United's Defensive Frailties

By Vasco Mota Pereira, PortuGOAL correspondent

Much has been said and spoken about Manchester United and their faltering form. The transition from Sir Alex Ferguson to David Moyes was bound to include some bumps along the way, but the former Everton manager is bound to be found scratching his head while reviewing some recent results and displays. Moyes was considered to be a reactive, reliable, safety-first manager, but his credentials have left much to be desired so far. And while reading through most of the English football press might lead one to believe that it is all a matter of simply adding a few players to the squad, it is hardly the case.

Case in point, the first goal Swansea scored at Old Trafford last weekend for the FA Cup. Manchester United are picked apart smack down the centre by 4 simple touches from Swansea, starting from their centre-back. Since the match is pretty much in slow motion, it is difficult to accept such bad defensive positioning from the current English champions.

Man Utd-Swansea 1

Swansea's centre-back Chico Flores has the ball and already United look out of position. Javier Hernández is contributing nothing defensively and Danny Welbeck is

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How Higuain Creates Problems For Opposing Defenses

By Vasco Mota Pereira, PortuGOAL correspondent

Every once in a while my blog deviates from the analysis of a particular match's trends and incidents, focusing on a specific play or pattern from a specific team. Today we will be dissecting Gonzalo Higuaín and Mezut Özil's typical move during the match that pitted Real Madrid against Borussia Dortmund for the Champions League's semi-finals.

As always, Higuaín is often keen on leading defenders (especially direct markers) astray, clearing up space for his team-mates' penetrations through the middle. In this particular instance, it is Özil who profits from the striker's clever move.

In the first picture, Modric is shuffling the ball from one side to another, looking for the best passing option. Dortmund are apparently well positioned, with bender picking up Özil (orange) and Hummels doing the same on Higuaín (red). When Higuaín sees the Croat midfielder under no pressure, he immediately checks towards the ball, Mats Hummels marking him all the way up. Bender is under the impression that Hummels is free to pick up Özil and leaves him unmarked, with Schmelzer too far wide, ready to press Di María should he get the ball.


What happens next leaves a gaping hole right in the center of Dortmund's defense. Hummels is dragged out of position by

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