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    I have a few issue’s with this, its a good article, but when (2nd goal) Valencia had a defence along the 18 yard line, you indicated they should be deeper. You cant defend deeper than 18 yards out, especially when theres roughly 10 yards between Xavi and the defensive line!
    Had the 2nd player in from Abidal stepped out 3 yards and created a triangle between the full back and next centre back, the pass would’ve had to be lofted. Also, as the through pass was played, Abidal passed it across goal from about 4 yards out, theres only a handful of players able to play that pass to be played 1st time.
    The 4th goal – how did the ball get to Busquets? It looks as though the defence had reacted and started to move deep to cover the pass but as Busquets is class, he no doubt took no more than 2 touches to play that pass.
    Anyway, a good read!

  2. 2

    Tim Root

    I’m just curious about the 2nd goal and the point being made that the defenders are too high. You’ve got 5 defenders either on the 18 or a yard inside. If you want them to sit deeper then . . . where? At the spot? On the six? Do they just become handless keepers?

    You can’t defend in there. At some point you have to make a stand and it has to be at the 18 or you’re inviting:

    1. Much more dangerous shots from range . . . 18 – 25 yard shots.
    2. Dribbling attacks from Messi and others which lead to penalties and more close in shots
    3. No way to get out of your end

    The bigger issue is the point being made about space and time on the ball to pick out the penetrating pass. I don’t remember if this was a lofted ball from the wing, but could the keeper have cut it out? Lastly, of course, the body shape of the defenders and not tracking Messi’s run . . . just silly. Did they have a team talk before the match?

    I don’t fault their line on goal 2, but agree with the other points.

  3. 3

    roy wiseman

    I agree valencia’s big issue is their midfield not closing down the player on the ball, if all they want to do is mark space this wont be the last bad day. I dont agree with the space behind issue, i think they mostly cannot read the play, ball watch and are only reactive so by then it is too late. I agree with the author ‘who taught these guys the basics of defending’? Sadly you see this type of defensive errors constantly at this level.


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