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For this topic I was inspired by two of my Belgian friends here, who also are two of the best posters of this site:

:star: Adriaan :star: http://www.xtratime.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=63139

and

:star: Binswhacker :star: http://www.xtratime.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=61834

It's not because you answer this topic you can not answer those both threads. At least read them they are excellent!



Anyway now the issue of this topic. I want to talk tactics here. i just read an interview with a Belgian player, Kevin Van Dessel, of whom nobody here has probably heard. He plays in Holland and states that his team Roda JC now finally playes a modern system and that the teams in the Dutch league finally understood they have to play more realisticly.

To cut short they shouldn't play a game based on possession of the ball, but use a tactict where the long ball is used as often as possible. The idea is that in modern day football goals are scored out of situation where a team changes as quick as possible from defence into attack. That way they can make use of the space the opponent has given away in the back.

Personally I dispise this approach. To me the most beautiffull football is the one Ajax played some years ago and which also is the house-style of my club anderlecht (although these days we don't see that anymore :(). A system where the opponent is pressed on his own side of the pitch and where a team passes the ball around waiting for that one occasion that eventiually will come.

Still if we are honest that system isn't played anymore (only exception is Real Madrid). The dominant system now is one that as described above. The team gives possession to the opponent, conquers the ball and kicks it long to a fast forward, or a targetman that keeps the ball 'till the midfielders have followed (as quick as possible). There are no or few teams that use a slow build up.

And this modern day approach pays of. Teams that give possession to their opponent get results. The clearest example is Valencia of Cuper, but they are not the only one. In a way Deportivo la Coruna does the same thing (although they have a variiation).

Most clear example to me is the French NT. With 4 defenders and 2 or 3 defensive midfielders they wait for the opponent's mistake give the ball to Zidane who launches Henry. They won the European as wel as the World title with this approach.

Sure this system can be spectacular. But quality-wise I think it is far inferior to the concept of total-football Ajax brought. If you want to call yourself an attacking team you should play on your opponent's half, go out from your own qualities and base your game on possession of the ball.
 

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I think Italian football is typical of the slow build up - perhaps why they have failed in Europe.

On the differing styles, i'd say that no single apporach is more effective, its just whichever style suits the players you have and the opposition you are playing agianst. For example Liverpool play on the counter with the pace of Owen and Anelka whereas Man Utd will play a possetion game because they have the quality of Beckham, Veron etc. Both styles work well for the team that uses them. :)
 

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Time for my first (and perhaps only ;) ) post in this forum

Firstly gOD (or Geert if u like ;) :D ) i think the title of the thread is misleading or simplistic at the least because teams that play possession football can still play defensively, and likewise teams that play a counterattacking style can be very attacking and score a lot of goals

I think the best way for me to attack this topic would be to quote parts from yur post :)

gOD said:
To cut short they shouldn't play a game based on possession of the ball, but use a tactic where the long ball is used as often as possible. The idea is that in modern day football goals are scored out of situation where a team changes as quick as possible from defence into attack. That way they can make use of the space the opponent has given away in the back.



Partially true, although it is possible to play a counterattacking style (i.e letting the opponent have the ball for long periods and then try to score as fast as possible when you get the ball due to their mistake) without using long, high balls and actually using lots of short and medium distance passes along the ground. This is actually a system i love to watch because it means the ball is being moved about very quickly, but looks nice to watch and allows players to try little tricks and play more technically than by "hoofing" awkward long high balls towards a target man :Cool:

gOD said:
To me the most beautiffull football is the one Ajax played some years ago and which also is the house-style of my club anderlecht (although these days we don't see that anymore :(). A system where the opponent is pressed on his own side of the pitch and where a team passes the ball around waiting for that one occasion that eventiually will come.


This is where i think a distinction needs to be made between attacking tactics (or tactics when you HAVE the ball if you prefer) and defending tactics (or tactics when you DON'T have the ball if you prefer)

Attacking tactical style refer to either Possession football (keeping the ball for long periods and trying to create openings) and Counterattacking footbal (trying to get the ball into the opponents net as quickly as possible on getting the ball

Defensive tactical style can be broken into either Pressing (having you team putting pressure on the opposing players, preferably in the opponents half ) and "Dropping back" or more commonly known as putting players "behind the ball" (having you defenders retreat into their own half and forming dynamic defensive walls to stop the opponent trying to get shots in on goal )

Example(s) of Possession/Pressing would be ManUtd, Real Madrid

Example(s) of Possession/Dropping back would be Ajax, Barcelona

Example(s) of Counterattacking/Pressing would be Sparta Prague (use an "active defensive" where all 10 outfield players try to lose down their opponents and then try to score as soon as they get the ball)

Example(s) of Counterattacking/Dropping back would be Liverpool (except for the odd game when they have 60%+ possession), Dynamo Kiev (when they made the UEFA CL), Club Bruges, Valencia etc..

Obviously teams that employ a pressing defense will find it harder to play defensively (unless they are very unsucessfull at it) because they gain what i consider to be the most important football and that is "Territorial advantage"
However this is not to say that teams that defend deep with lots of men behind the ball will be defensive and struggle to score goals. F.ex Club Bruges scored a lot of goals in the UEFA cup (including a 4-1 win over French giants Lyon) and their coach (Sollied) was criticised by some of the club's senior players for being too attacking :eekani:!!!

As mutu1875 correctly pointed out, what style a team plays depends of the players at the coach's disposal. The reason why not too many teams play possession/pressing football these days is that most clubs do not have the playing talent (or budget :greed: $$) of a ManU or Real Madrid. If your average team in europe tried to play like this, they;d get hammered and struggle to win many games

gOD said:

Most clear example to me is the French NT. With 4 defenders and 2 or 3 defensive midfielders they wait for the opponent's mistake give the ball to Zidane who launches Henry. They won the European championship as well as the World Cup with this approach.
Sorry gOD but i can't agree here. When France played us (Australia) in a pre-WC qualifier in Melbourne for the first 10-15 minutes they have possession of the ball in our half and our players were left chasing thin air. When we did get the ball, our defenders would just launch the ball upfield due to the immense pressure the french players were putting on our defenders. From what i have seen of the French, they always use a pressing style defence (which combined with their sheer playing talent and depth explain why they nearly always dominate territory in a game) but can alternate between possession and counterattack (often during the same game) because they have a lot of midfielders and attackers who have lots of speed and a high level of skill and technique (e.g Henry, Zidane, Trezeguet, Wiltord, Pires etc.. ). Therefore its not surprising that most of these players i mentioned play for Arsenal, a team who can play both styles effectively and demonstrated this in their 4-0 win v Leverskusen when they scored 2 goals on the break and the other two via and extended build up

gOD said:

Sure this system can be spectacular. But quality-wise I think it is far inferior to the concept of total-football Ajax brought. If you want to call yourself an attacking team you should play on your opponent's half, go out from your own qualities and base your game on possession of the ball.
I think i've already answered this :) :stuckup :nerd:

And finally;
gOD said:

And this modern day approach pays of. Teams that give possession to their opponent get results. The clearest example is Valencia of Cuper, but they are not the only one. In a way Deportivo la Coruna does the same thing (although they have a variiation).
I think this has a lot to do with two factors; 1) the common use of a flat back 4 (in a 4 man defense ) or the alternative back 3 (in a 3-5-2, 5-3-2 etc.. ) with wingbacks and NO sweeper in either system and 2) the tendency to emply zonal defending rather than man-marking with the former (i.e zonal) been much more efficient and easier for the team to keep their defensive shape

Zonal marking in a 4-4-2 f.ex means that it is probably easier to defend against teams trying to play possession without a good creative play (e.g Zidane) because it is easier to read to play and defending against short passes on the ground is easier that trying to defend against a long high ball. Where this system has its weakness is with slow central defenders and when this situation occurs it is much easier to exploit the weakness with a long high ball, allowing a fast striker/winger to get in behind the defence and put the ball away, hence the preference for most teams to employ a counterattacking style when faced with this situation

I'd be interested to see what ppl think :hopefull:
 
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