Tag: 4-4-2

The Lost Art of the Cross

Crossing a soccer ball takes place hundreds of times throughout a game.  It is carried out as a pass and even as a shot. What do I mean, though, when I say the art of crossing is lost?

With the rise of speed, tricks and goal-minded players in modern day soccer, the cross has lost its value and potential. As opposed to having the ball do the running for the players, many players have decided they will showcase their skills and cover large spaces of the field dribbling the ball rather than passing it.

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Playing with a man down

Once a player is given a red card and sent-off, game tactics change drastically for both teams on the pitch.  Depending on the scoreline and what’s at stake, a few traditional approached are taken to dealing with one less player.

Let’s analyze the team that has just lost a man.  In a traditional 4-4-2, the most common tactical move is to appoint one player as a lone forward, and the remaining players will maintain the same formation.  So, your new look will be a 4-4-1.  Again, depending on the circumstance of the game, a 4-4-1 might be too conservative.  If you are desperate to score a goal and tie the game or win the game, you might want to take away a midfielder rather than a forward.  What this creates is a 4-3-2 formation.  Nonetheless, a 4-4-1 is your best option.

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Defensive Strategies: Dealing with Fast Attackers

It is a problem players and coaches of all levels face and often struggle with – speed.  In soccer, as in many sports, teams have a very difficult time arranging a strategy to deal with pace.  The saying “speed kills” is more often true than not.

When a soccer team is put together, the fastest player is usually put in the forward position.  This does not always hold true, but is a tactic many coaches use.  A quick forward does not necessarily have to be skilled to be effective.  Because there is so much room in an outdoor soccer field, quick forwards have endless opportunities to put their speed to use.  When a forward has speed, his teammates will send him on runs to out-run the defender and score breakaway goals.

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Defender’s Guide: Left & Right Back

The fullback, aka the left or right back, plays a very crucial role in modern day football.  It is not to say that it never played a crucial role, it suggests that in today’s day and age, the fullback is given much more room to maneuver, but much more responsibility as well.

In the modern day 4-4-2 formation, the fullback has very little support from a defensive standpoint.  Because the defense is arranged in a flat line and the two central defenders have the responsibility of marking the two forwards, the fullbacks are left to fend for themselves in many regards. 

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Role of the Midfield Winger

Many wingers think their sole responsibility is to run up and down the field, take throw-ins, corner kicks and be fast.  However, there is more to being a midfield winger than this.  Depending on the formation your team plays you will have different duties.   

4-4-2:  in this formation the wingers’ main offensive responsibility is to provide through-balls to the forwards, cross the ball into the 18 yard box when in the attacking third of the field, attack defenders with the ball and a lot of runs off the ball to receive passes from your teammates, specifically center midfielders. 

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Forward movement for Forwards

Many players want to be a forward in the game soccer for the obvious reason scoring goals and having the glory that comes with each goal.  As you develop as a soccer player you will feel more comfortable in certain roles.  You will also begin to see true forwards emerge.  Ones that kind find a way to score no matter their speed, size or skill level.  When you develop a scoring touch you immediately separate yourself from the rest of your teammates.  Remember, the ball is round and anything can happen therefore you must be prepared for any possibilities. 

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