strategy and tactics …..

Viktor Maslov said
“Football is like an aeroplane.
As velocities increase, so does air resistance, and so you have to make the head more stream-lined.”

Malsov’s analogy requires a slight gloss, for to say a team must be streamlined doesn’t make a huge amount of sense.
What he meant, presumably, was that as the velocity of players increases, it becomes harder for them to find space, and thus more necessary for attacking players to come from deeper positions, making them harder to pick up.

The false nine is one of two directions in which the centre-forward position seems to be heading eg Fabrigas
at the highest level – lower down, where control of possession and imagination of approach are necessarily less prioritized, the traditional virtues of being quick or big or predatory are still of value …
If he is not refining himself out of existence, he is doing the exact opposite, and imposing himself as a powerful leader of the line and creator of space …..
examples … Fernando Torres and Mario Balotelli …

Either way, the situation has emerged whereby a striker’s primary function is no longer to score goals, but to create the space for others to do so. Obviously it’s advantageous if he can take chances, or even conjure up goals out of nothing, but increasingly goals alone are an inadequate measure by which to judge a forward………..

That diversification of the striker’s role is part of the wider trend towards universality.
It was an ideal first articulated by Maslov, before being more fully theorised by Valeriy Lobanovskyi and Arrigo Sacchi,
An analogy can be drawn with table football.
Get beyond a certain level, and the key attacking players become the back two because they have time and the space behind them to line up a shot;
the three forwards thus take on a function as blockers.
As full-backs in football proper have exploited the space they have been afforded and become more attacking,so wide forwards have become more defensive to close them down.

Evolution, though, is not linear.
It hops about, goes forward and back, and isn’t necessarily for the better.
Ten years ago, you’d have said football was becoming a game for physical monsters, but the success of the likes of Messi, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Andrey Arshavin suggest that while players with the physique of Cristiano Ronaldo clearly have certain advantages, there is still a place for the comparatively diminutive player with skill

To an extent, evolution is a game of cat and mouse: a space opens, it is closed, and so a space opens elsewhere.

But it seems fair to assume that the recognition of the holistic nature of football – of the team as energy-system, as Lobanovskyi put it – will become more widespread, particularly as statistical analysis becomes more sophisticated and the effects of events in one part of the pitch on events in another are more fully understood.
To resurrect an old line, you don’t win games by scoring goals, you score goals by winning games
by playing the game where you want it to be played, thus maximising your team’s strengths and minimising those of your opponent.

“Today’s football is about managing the characteristics of individuals,” Arrigo Sacchi said. “And that’s why you see the proliferation of specialists. The individual has trumped the collective. But it’s a sign of weakness. It’s reactive, not pro-active.”

for the ‘initiated’ the game is all about space and how you controlled it
make the pitch big when you have the ball and it is easy to retain it
make it small when you do not and it becomes far more difficult for the opposition to keep it ….

new technology(s) using multiple synchronized cameras linked to computers have enabled the collection and tracking of movement information for all players on the field.
Over the last decades the total distance covered by a player has increased significantly, from about 8,500 meters (5.2 miles) of the late 1970s to between 10,000 (6.2 miles) and 13,000 meters (8.1 miles), depending on the country being examined, today.

The ability to perform high intensity bouts of work in the field has significantly increased in the men’s game.

there’s a staggering increase in the ability of players to perform or engage in high-intensity bouts of activity (high speed running and sprinting) during a match.

Over the last 7 years in the Premier League there has been a 46 percent increase in the total number of high intensity activities (movement above 19.8 km/h [12.3 mph]).

For example, in the 2003-04 Premier League teams on average performed a total of 287 sprints (movement faster than 25km/h [15.5 mph]) during the season.

Last season, however, the average total number of sprints was 487; almost a 70 percent increase in the number of sprints over the last 7 years !

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