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BLOOMFIELD'S PITCH

8 March 2013

Programme Editor David Bloomfield on counter attacking football

Once upon a time you might have come away from a match and your verdict that your team was unlucky was based on the fact that they had seen so much more of the ball than their opponents.

In today’s world where counter-attack is king, how much possession do teams really want in the opposition’s half and do you really want to set up camp around their penalty box?

If you do, you know that on a few occasions at least the opposition will break out and possibly, unless in the mismatch that was Swansea v Bradford recently, they’ll give you a nasty shock and take the lead.

Barnet’s goal against Plymouth last week was a classic in this regard. The home side had the lion’s share of the ball in the first-half but the Bees only needed to put one good flowing movement together and hey presto it’s 1-0 to the visitors. The Home Park crowd couldn’t believe it. “They’ve only had one shot!”  

Teams now invite each other to go on the attack and by doing so leave gaps at the back that speed of thought and movement might be able to capitalise on. 

Perhaps this is nothing new. Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest were famous for it. Galvanising their relatively limited resources they were crowned European Champions on two occasions; they were excused on account of their status as a minnow.

But now everyone is at it; the giants that Mourinho manages are by default counter-attacking outfits. What I wonder will be the tactical innovation that counters the counter-attack?

Time for a symposium, I suppose.

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