Defending Deep to Win the Ball

By Sean Pearson

Area Size: Half Field

Teams: 20 mins

Players: 5 v 5 + 2

Objectives

  • For players understand where to use the 2v1 overloads
  • To use the movements of defenders against them and have multiple options to attack

Set-Up

Use half a 9v9 field with 5 defenders set up as GK-3-1 and 5 attackers in a 4-1 or a 1-3-1. Have 3 gates of which the 2 wide gates are occupied by a neutral. If you have an extra player use as a neutral in the middle gate.

Execution

Use the middle of the field with the natural 2v1 overload. Draw the lone defensive midfielder towards the ball by moving forward. When then defensive midfielder comes across, use an angled pass forwards to the other midfielder. Encourage this midfielder to take the space and drive forwards.

When the midfielder gets close to the penalty area the central defender has to make a decision. The striker moves away from the ball and (1) if the defender comes across to stop the forward momentum of the midfielder, this opens up the pass for the striker.

(2) if the defender is drawn to the striker or does not close down the midfielder well enough then the midfielder can either continue to drive forwards or dribble past the defender.

When the central midfielders pass out wide the neutral then becomes involved in the play. To set up the scenario, the wide midfielder must be as wide as possible with space in front of them. If the full back steps up to mark the wide midfielder, then a pass behind them is the option. As the ball is travelling towards the wide midfielder the neutral begins their overlapping run. The wide midfielder then drives inward whilst the striker runs behind the central defender and the opposite wide midfielder runs behind the opposite fullback.

Use the movement of the full back and central defender to determine what pass is best. As the wide midfielder is driving inside, this should bring the full back in with them, which allows more space for the overlapping full back for the 2v1 overload. 1) slide the full back in and they can cross early to the players attacking the goal. 2) If the full back aims to stop that pass by not coming in field with the driving wide midfielder, slide the striker in behind the defense with a split pass between the central defender and full back. Now you are manipulating the movement of the full back with the 2v1.

If the defense wins possession they look to dribble through an empty gate or pass to a neutral behind a gate to score.

Variations

  • Use other formations to create 2v1 overloads at different areas of the field.
  • Add another defender is possible to make it more challenging for the offense.
  • If you end up with 6v5, if the defense scores have them switch with the offense

By Sean Pearson. Sean is also the author Coaching Team Shape in the 3-3-1, Coaching Team Shape in the 4-2-3-1 and Coaching Team Shape in the 4-3-3

About the Author Tom Mura

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