The Proper Use of Give and Goes

By Sean Pearson

Session Length: 90 mins

During my days as a trainer, a lot of head coaches were (and still are) obsessed with the give and go, as if it’s the lifeblood of being a good team. While it is definitely a great combination to get behind opposition lines of defense it is not the be all and end all of attacking. Players and coaches alike need to understand it is a tool to use for specific scenarios to progress an attack, not to be used all the time as different scenarios will not allow it.
So to keep coaches happy and work on the give and go I developed a session that constantly worked on using the combination in the

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Atletico Attack the Strong Side

By Stevie Grieve

Atletico Madrid may not regain the Spanish League title that they earned last season, but Diego Simeone has kept them competitive in 3 competitions with arguably a weaker starting XI than last season, losing Goalkeeper Thibaud Courtois, Left Back Felipe Luis and Talismanic Striker, Diego Costa all to Chelsea. Simeone replaced these players with players of similar playing profiles;

Jan Oblak and Guillherme Siqueirha from Benfica, Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich, while adding mobile attacker Antoine Griezmann from Real Sociedad. This has given them a team with similar profiles in each area from last season while arguably a weaker team, other additions such as creative midfielder Cani, have given them more options Siqueirha is an attacking left back, Manduzkic is the

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Lyon’s Attacking Movements

By Stevie Grieve

Lyon have been this season’s ‘surprise’ package in Ligue 1, with a team of cast-offs who have proved unsuccessful at other clubs and academy graduates, staying in the top 6 would be the realistic aim and top 3 would’ve been ambitious. As it has unfolded, Lyon have been one of the most attack minded teams in the league, scoring 60 goals in 31 games, and having the best goal difference in the league.

Some of the success has come from the emergence of Nabil Fekir and the continued improvement year on year of Alexandre Lacazette, the return to form of Yoann Gourcuff, and a stable 4-4-2 diamond formation, with attacking full backs providing the width when the dual strikers are more central.

Lyon use a fluid formation and one of the reasons for this is the above mentioned Full Backs, the fluidity of movement from the strikers and how they stretch the field when in possession.

Basic Shape; 4-1-2-1-2 becoming 4-3-3 becoming 2-1-4-3

LyonAttack1

Both FBs (black circles) are very high, on the line of the

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Juventus Compact Defense

By Stevie Grieve

Massimiliano Allegri was appointed Juventus coach in the summer after the departure of Antonio Conte to the Italian National Squad, and has tried to adapt the Conte 5-3-2 formation and solid defensive system, to a more expansive 4-4-2 diamond formation, using the energy or Pogba and Marchisio in central midfield while giving Tevez and new summer recruit Alvaro Morata more freedom of movement by playing a front 2 with an attacking central midfielder giving a central presence behind them.

This has led to success in the Champions League this season, and currently leaves them in an almost untouchable position at the top of Serie A. A large part of this is the coach and team’s ability to alter the 4-4-2 diamond and change to a 5-3-2. In the game v Borussia Dortmund, Andrea Pirlo was unavailable and inside the 1st 20 minutes, Juventus lost exciting midfielder Paul Pogba to injury.

The coach reacted to this by changing to

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Thiago’s Flexibility to Play Multiple Defensive Shapes

By Stevie Grieve

During the run to winning La Liga in 2014 and reaching the Champions League Final in 2014, Diego Simeone’s well organised team were very flexible in their defensive structure. Normally a team who would play 4-4-2 in attack, they could play defensively in multiple formations; 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1, -4-5-1 and 4-3-3.

To do this from a starting position and stay in these positions and defend in the one shape is fairly easy to coach, but much more difficult is to teach players to understand how to come out of a compact 4-1-4-1 into a high 4-4-2 press and who compensates for the player coming out of line to help the front player, and what the different roles are for the players around the space which is vacated.

Thiago of Atletico de Madrid has been able to demonstrate the flexible positional qualities to understand when to move forward or back, how to shift laterally and cover space, without being exposed between the lines or in the space left to press, such as against Bayer Leverkusen.

Thiago between the lines in a 4-1-4-1

Mindgame72a

Here, we can see a clear 4-1-4-1 shape for

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Switching the Play

By Sean Pearson

Session Length: 90 mins

This session focuses on players recognizing when, where are how to move the ball away from pressure on one side of the field to a point on the other side of the field to attack from. One of my frustrations with players is not seeing the ‘bigger picture’ of the situation in front of them when the space around them is crowded. Players either force the ball further into the ‘scrum’ or if the ball gets passes out or pressure, because of a lack of awareness and incorrect body position the player receiving this ball, plays the next pass back where it has come from. The end result? Usually a loss of possession. So below I talk about when to switch the ball, player movement to help the switch and where to attack from after the switch. The reason I talk about this last point is the point of a switch is to change the point of attack to create a scoring chance, not to just keep possession by going back and forth over and over again.

Warm Up: 10 mins

Use a basic passing warm up to get players moving, receiving, passing and making decision.

  • 3 teams passing to only their own team, everybody on two touch. So players have to move to see the ball and make decisions on where and when the ball can be played,
  • Players can pass to anyone but if they receive from the same color they keep the ball, if they receive from a different color they must play a one time pass back, but it can’t be in the same direction.

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