Giving Space to your opponent 101 (Inter vs Roma)

Let me start of by saying 5-3 is not a football score, it is a hockey score or a really good game of american football.(where one team gets 5 touch downs and the opposing team gets 3). We can assume 2 things about the game just from the score line. There was genuinely poor defending and a lot of of space. Poor defending is poor defending, managers and coaches cant do anything about that. They can control space though and the amount of space that was given up was horrendous. Obviously in some games you want to give up space. For example if your team were far superior to the opposition technically. Than obviously you’d be willing to give up space knowing even if it did turn into a shoot out your team would have a higher chance of winning. Also generally when your are technically better than the opposition you will have more of the ball which means the opposition has less time to do damage. When faced with an opponent who are technically superior or who are at your level technically it is in your best interest to give up as little space as possible.

When managers say to low press or drop off it generally means you only press at the 18 not that you dont press at all. Thats what Roma did for the eto goal; there was No pressing even at the edge of the area.

Folks this is football tactics 101 its not hard. When you defend you try to reduce as much space as possible in between your lines (attack to mid and mid to defense) and to the oppositions players(especially the dangerous ones). Roma did not do this for the first sneijder goal, the third one(he had all the time in the world to pick out pazzani, and the 4th goal (where he had time and space to deliver a cross to the far post). If a player is allowed the time and space to make 3 key passes it is not coincidence. Rather it is due to the lack of tactical preparation of the opposing manager.

*This is to Claudio Ranieri … if you see a opposition player dominating the game and being alloted a lot of space, than have a defensively competent player man mark him. World class players do not need tons of space. They are world class players for a reason; they can destroy you with even minimal space, don’t help them out.

Just using a defensive midfielder between your defense and midfield will usually not be enough to deal with a world class creator(trequatista). A good trequatista can roam around and find dangerous space.(sneijder) when faced up with a good trequatista you need to take extra measure to take control their influence. De Rossi is a defensively solid player (saying otherwise would be a bit ridiculous), but Ranieri should have giving him a defined job to man mark Sneijder at all time.(You don’t want to give a player who has been talked about as a potential ballon d’or winner space).

*Note (analyzing 4th goal) when defending from a corner use 2 players to close down the corner.( If the opposition have 1) If you only use one than if the corner tacker passes it short the player who is suppose to be closing down will be out numbered. (By the opposition corner taker and the player assigned to receive the short pass). Remember you want to deny space to their players when defending. Its not that hard. (there might be certain occasions where you may give space to a technically poor player and mark every one else) A reason you might do this is because

The player cant really hurt you
You can force him to make a poor pass or decision and regain possession
(This may be covered in another article)

There are 3 main classes of attacking players.

Those who can create
Those who can finish the created
And those who can do 1&2
(This Theory will be covered in another article, but basically Sneijdar is #1 at least this season. Those who can create must be close down where ever they are and man marked you really don’t want to give these players any space they can destroy your team )

At least Inter learnt from their mistake vs Palermo. They used a narrow strata formation versus another narrow strata formation and they struggled to break down Palermo until they moved to a wider 4-3-3. This time Inter used a looser diamond. With 2 real attacking mid fielders who like to drift wide . It looked like Villareals 4-2-2-2 but a lot less fluid. (They have 2 fbs pushing fw(angel and capdevila) 2 holding mids motta and cambiasso (Bruno&Senna). Than they use 2 Wide Ams in front of them sneijdar and kharja.(carzola and cani). Finnally they use 2 strikers eto and pazzani the villareal equivelent to (rossi and nilmar). Using a loser diamond or basically a 4-2-2-2 helped inter generate more width and thus it gave their attacking placers more space to do damage.
(pic from zonal marking.com check them out it is a great website)(ZM i hope you don’t mind me using your pic but this was the best one i could use to illustrate my idea)

Another topic i would like to touch upon is space(I’ve touched upon this topic a million times in this article already lol, but it was the main theme of the game) In big games take extra measures to denie space. You can do this by making your shape narrower and more compact and pressing well.If you don’t the game will turn into a shot out and you may end up on the wrong end of the bullet. (Both teams have technically accomplished players and theres a higher chance of of these players exploiting any extra space given to them)

When using the 4-4-2 diamond have the carrileros generally stayback and
cover for rampaging fullbacks. (If both your carrileros and your fb
push up in the 4-4-2 diamond than you leave a whole flank open.
If the opposition is playing a 4-4-2 diamond.
Unless you are playing on a narrow pitch where wingers have less space
so will be less effective. Then it would be better to play down the middle and get runs
from your central midfielders. And you would have fb cover.

Dont put you self in a position where your defence has to constantly readjust
to cover up new space. They leave behind old space. (see simplacio going fw and rossi covering
leave space for snejder.

Make sure some one is can naturally press fbs. When opp using 2 flank players (winger and fb)
If not than your flanks can be over loaded and your fb will be beat easily which
creates space causes defence shift and that creates space.( Only leave flanks open if opp has poor attk
fbs or you are defending with a big team and you know crosses are going to hurt you.) If opp has good attk
fullbacks you should have some who can close him down naturally without compramising your teams shape. Use players that can naturally close down the fb (example if you were using a 4-4-2 diamond vs a 4-1-2-3 than you’d want to use your carrileros and have your remaining cm and dm cover the 2 cms in the oppositions 4-1-2-3.

Another article will be posted on how to adjust when you are a man down.