Week of May 4
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When playing against teams who are extremely skilled, have a high level of game insight and who are mentally strong, the main style of play we should adapt and the system of play we should use will be our main concern. Further to this, we need to choose the right players for the match. Can the selected players handle the pressure of having the opposition dominating play? Can they remain focused for the duration of the match? Are the right players chosen for the system of play required? How is the level of communication between the selected players? What if we concede a goal early in the game? Would this have a negative effect on our morale, or would this goal make us even thirstier to strike back?
When pressing was not on, the white team dropped back into a compact and collective unit. Their objective is to reduce space in the central channel and close the passing lanes to prevent vertical passes (figure 1). The white team is defending in a 1-4-1-4-1 formation with number 8 guarding the space between the lines and preventing a direct pass into red teams number 5.
Red team rotated positions and circulated the ball quickly. However, the white team kept their compact defensively well-organised team shape. Furthermore, the red team were well prepared on the positive transition with a clear plan in mind.
In the second half the red team needed to score, and as expected they dominated possession. However the white team stood strong with their back four becoming a back five, with the ball-side lateral midfielder dropping to track the overlaps by the red teams full backs. In these situations, the white teams full back remained close to the central defender, guarding the half space.