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Tactics/ football strategy thread

See and hear lots of terminology these days about false 9s, high press etc and have never really paid much attention to the evolution of football tactics and strategy over the years but it seems now even at our level it is increasingly relevant so I'm keen to learn more and pay attention to that side of the game this season at all levels.

See that many posters on here a very knowledgeable and well versed in this area so thought it may be useful for those of us who are not initiated in the terminology and even concept of lots of modern tactics to have a thread on it.

My starter for ten is what is Garner's style/ Garner ball and what sort of players are required (know it's been discussed on various threads elsewhere but can't recall where)
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Comments

  • I will be very interested in this and people's views.

    When I first went in the 70's and 80's it was a default 4 4 2. I don't recall any major changes in formation when Theo Foley was replaced by Andy Nelson or when he made way for Mike Bailey.

    Interestingly both Nelson and Bailey both built promotion teams not by bringing in lots of new players but somehow they managed to get better results than their predecessor.

    What has changed in the last 40/50 years?
  • what is a false 9 ?
  • So pleased you started this thread RCT and I’ll probably keep referring back to it as the season rolls on.

    Seemed so much simpler in the old days when full backs marked the wingers, centre half the centre forward, left and right halves the inside forwards etc
  • edited July 20
    Been there before obvs.
    Talking about the great Eddie Firmani.
    (See also Don Revie).


  • what is a false 9 ?
    It just a new trendy term for a deep lying Centre Forward, like Hideguti for Hungary v England in 1953 (England got pulled apart and lost 3-6 because the Centre Half held his deep position and failed to come and engage him),or Don Revie for Man City v Birmingham in the 1956 FACup Final (Dubbed "The Revie Plan).
  • Thanks mate. Will read the book you recommend.
  • May I suggest a football move that always has and always will be effective?
    What used to be called the 'wall pass' or the '1-2' or the 'give and go'.

    What ways have footballers got to beat another player?

    Superior speed.
    Diddling jiggery pokery.
    Selling a dummy.
    Receiving the ball in space and passing away from the opponent.
    Tanking through 'em.


    Are there really any others?

    Formations are to my mind ever more elaborate versions of the 1-2.
    Like the 1-2-3-4-5-1again-3again and so on, all intended to support the above list.

    Isn't football getting a bit over complicated anyway?

    Get between the ball and the goal when you haven't got it, make yourself available to a teammate when you have, make your decisions quickly.
  • edited July 20
    Thanks mate. Will read the book you recommend.


    The reason center backs have different numbers in different cultures is my favourite.  Many ways to solve a problem :-)
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  • Certainly feels like wide players have been phased out for a long time now.  I recall Lyle Taylor would take up excellent wide positions in our promotion season.  Pulling players out of position and thus creating space for oncoming midfielders.  

    Obviously no one bar Sean Dyche seems to play 4-4-2 anymore, so the old school winger certainly feels like a thing of the past, and width is, as mentioned above, provided by attacking full backs.

    I’m not as into football as I was when I was younger, by that I mean watching the Prem, CL and knowing who all the up & coming players are, which means I am in a similar to boat re: modern day tactics as @RodneyCharltonTrotta, however, at our level, I think players are okay, but not necessarily good enough to adapt and adopt different formations and styles of play.  

    Playing it out from the back is a great example.  You have to have very good players, proper movement and players good and comfortable with the ball at their feet.  This sort of football I believe belongs in the upper echelons of the game, and if I think back to last season, we made a lot of rudimentary mistakes, sometimes the same ones several times over.  Now, the team may be shaping up to be better this year, but if playing it out from the back is our preferred approach (going by what I’ve read on here), then it comes with big risks.  

    Overall I’m a great believer in top players being able to play adaptive and expansive styles, but the lower you go, you need to simplify it.  
  • edited July 20
    cabbles said:
    Certainly feels like wide players have been phased out for a long time now.  I recall Lyle Taylor would take up excellent wide positions in our promotion season.  Pulling players out of position and thus creating space for oncoming midfielders.  

    Obviously no one bar Sean Dyche seems to play 4-4-2 anymore, so the old school winger certainly feels like a thing of the past, and width is, as mentioned above, provided by attacking full backs.

    I’m not as into football as I was when I was younger, by that I mean watching the Prem, CL and knowing who all the up & coming players are, which means I am in a similar to boat re: modern day tactics as @RodneyCharltonTrotta, however, at our level, I think players are okay, but not necessarily good enough to adapt and adopt different formations and styles of play.  

    Playing it out from the back is a great example.  You have to have very good players, proper movement and players good and comfortable with the ball at their feet.  This sort of football I believe belongs in the upper echelons of the game, and if I think back to last season, we made a lot of rudimentary mistakes, sometimes the same ones several times over.  Now, the team may be shaping up to be better this year, but if playing it out from the back is our preferred approach (going by what I’ve read on here), then it comes with big risks.  

    Overall I’m a great believer in top players being able to play adaptive and expansive styles, but the lower you go, you need to simplify it.  
    I really don't understand this argument/point of view at all.

    It's get the ball, keep the ball, create a chance.  That is it.  It's not complicated is it.

    If we subscribe to the fact Garnerball is some complicated alien concept that's far to confusing to our mear motal players.  Let's have a quick stock take.

    3 players from Swindon.  Obviously comfortable with it.

    Dobson: Westham academy.  That famous school of kick and rush.

    Aneke: Aresenal academy, offered the chance to go to Barcelona.......

    Inniss: Palace academy under Garner.

    Fraser: a stand out player in MK Dons kick it and hope for the best team?

    CBT: a cat 1 academy graduate are producing really good technical players.

    Charlie Kirk: Crewe are the team John Beck wished he managed.

    O'Connell: Obviously signed for his Pearce style wrestling skills, second only to Brock Lesner in that regard.  Or not.

    JFC: part of Poyet seniors Brighton revolution, not good enough for the prem but...

    I could go on but there is no way on God's green earth this style of play is too complicated or alien to them.


  • I like to keep things simple. 

    Just spread out. 
    Morning Karel.
  • Those stats are really quite interesting. I just wonder how this style will work against sides that come to The Valley and stick 10 men behind the ball for a point. Hopefully with a fully fit Fraser and the addition of Payne there's a bit more creativity to unlock those type of games. If we could turn into Poyet Sr's Brighton that romped this league playing possession based attacking football that would be very fun.

    I do think we might start a bit slow , first few games will be a bit of a learning process for sure. 
  • MarcusH26 said:
    Those stats are really quite interesting. I just wonder how this style will work against sides that come to The Valley and stick 10 men behind the ball for a point. Hopefully with a fully fit Fraser and the addition of Payne there's a bit more creativity to unlock those type of games. If we could turn into Poyet Sr's Brighton that romped this league playing possession based attacking football that would be very fun.

    I do think we might start a bit slow , first few games will be a bit of a learning process for sure. 
    Swindon were 11th in the home table and 1st on the away one.

    https://www.soccerstats.com/homeaway.asp?league=england4

    Five subs changes things as you can have more of the team playing at a higher intensity knowing they’ll be subbed off. Signing a couple more options for the front three is a must to add more goal threats and creativity to the squad.

    It’s also why being able to score via set pieces is important. Bringing in an Inniss alternative could make a real difference at both ends of the pitch.
  • Scoham said:
    MarcusH26 said:
    Those stats are really quite interesting. I just wonder how this style will work against sides that come to The Valley and stick 10 men behind the ball for a point. Hopefully with a fully fit Fraser and the addition of Payne there's a bit more creativity to unlock those type of games. If we could turn into Poyet Sr's Brighton that romped this league playing possession based attacking football that would be very fun.

    I do think we might start a bit slow , first few games will be a bit of a learning process for sure. 
    Swindon were 11th in the home table and 1st on the away one.

    https://www.soccerstats.com/homeaway.asp?league=england4

    Five subs changes things as you can have more of the team playing at a higher intensity knowing they’ll be subbed off. Signing a couple more options for the front three is a must to add more goal threats and creativity to the squad.

    It’s also why being able to score via set pieces is important. Bringing in an Inniss alternative could make a real difference at both ends of the pitch.

    Creativity is going to be a big thing to address, definitely think we're probably a senior striker and a winger short as it stands at least. Having 5 subs does change things , if you've got the ability to use Aneke for 30 mins off the bench most games then that's a big asset. 

    Don't know what kind of setpiece threat O'Connell will add , but Lavelle and Innis have shown they can cause problems. 
  • Bravo to @RodneyCharltonTrotta for starting this thread and @Cafc43v3r for getting the ball rolling !

    The stat that was left out of the impressive list at Swindon under Ben Garner was the amount of goals conceded which put the Robins in 10th place; that is quid pro quo if you are an attacking team and get hit in transition; counter attack in old money.

    Ian Evatt attempted to do the same with Bolton last season in League 1 when they attacked with numbers and had numerous forwards and midfielders in and around the box. Again the league table tells you that it was only partially successful as they were outside the top 6 but on their day they went for the jugular as the 4-1 win at the valley shows as they didn't sit on the 2-1 lead.

    Surprised that the stats showed Swindon had the most shots and the best possession?  I can understand that with Man City but surprised to see that in League 2; It sounds a contradiction as some teams that are good in Possession won't pull the trigger near goal.

    Brighton under Poyet were the best example of possession football and playing out from the back in League 1 that I have seen.

    I met a couple of Hibernian coaches 2 weeks ago through my son's job at a youth match and it was excellent to listen to them and I was grateful that despite agreeing with my views on the jeopardy of the pass back and defenders and keepers attempting crazy passes in their own area they couldn't see it changing as their remit was a keeper has to be good with his feet, they said being good with their hands was still mandatory!

    New names but as has been stated "Garner ball" is a misnomer as several younger coaches and not so young are trying to play this way and the 5 sub rule will again prove that football is a 16 player game and the starting 11 won't always be as important as the 11 at the business end of a game.

    Enter Chuks Aneke who must be delighted as other than older players he is the only professional that prefers to come on off the bench that I know of.

  • Cafc43v3r said:
    cabbles said:
    Certainly feels like wide players have been phased out for a long time now.  I recall Lyle Taylor would take up excellent wide positions in our promotion season.  Pulling players out of position and thus creating space for oncoming midfielders.  

    Obviously no one bar Sean Dyche seems to play 4-4-2 anymore, so the old school winger certainly feels like a thing of the past, and width is, as mentioned above, provided by attacking full backs.

    I’m not as into football as I was when I was younger, by that I mean watching the Prem, CL and knowing who all the up & coming players are, which means I am in a similar to boat re: modern day tactics as @RodneyCharltonTrotta, however, at our level, I think players are okay, but not necessarily good enough to adapt and adopt different formations and styles of play.  

    Playing it out from the back is a great example.  You have to have very good players, proper movement and players good and comfortable with the ball at their feet.  This sort of football I believe belongs in the upper echelons of the game, and if I think back to last season, we made a lot of rudimentary mistakes, sometimes the same ones several times over.  Now, the team may be shaping up to be better this year, but if playing it out from the back is our preferred approach (going by what I’ve read on here), then it comes with big risks.  

    Overall I’m a great believer in top players being able to play adaptive and expansive styles, but the lower you go, you need to simplify it.  
    I really don't understand this argument/point of view at all.

    It's get the ball, keep the ball, create a chance.  That is it.  It's not complicated is it.

    If we subscribe to the fact Garnerball is some complicated alien concept that's far to confusing to our mear motal players.  Let's have a quick stock take.

    3 players from Swindon.  Obviously comfortable with it.

    Dobson: Westham academy.  That famous school of kick and rush.

    Aneke: Aresenal academy, offered the chance to go to Barcelona.......

    Inniss: Palace academy under Garner.

    Fraser: a stand out player in MK Dons kick it and hope for the best team?

    CBT: a cat 1 academy graduate are producing really good technical players.

    Charlie Kirk: Crewe are the team John Beck wished he managed.

    O'Connell: Obviously signed for his Pearce style wrestling skills, second only to Brock Lesner in that regard.  Or not.

    JFC: part of Poyet seniors Brighton revolution, not good enough for the prem but...

    I could go on but there is no way on God's green earth this style of play is too complicated or alien to them.


    Doesn’t mean they can pull it off though. On the face of it we have better players this year and I think we are heading in the right direction, but I truly believe that a possession based game, out from the back is for the top, top players. It requires a very high level of consistent movement and concentration. We may be building that under Garner, but as much as you point out the individuals who we have that could potentially deliver in such a style, they’re all playing in league one for a reason. It’s not just us I’m referring to, more of a general observation that the lower down the leagues you go, the harder it is to pull off such football
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  • edited July 22
    If Thomas Sandgaard or the Mk Dons owner reads the stats above they may sack their managers !! and go for a direct style as it may be easy on the eye to pass the football and keep possession but to be successful and get back to the Championship, Rotherham who had few occasions when they kept the ball for 10 pass sequences were promoted and MK Dons who love to pass, pass and pass again for good luck didn't. Quality of individuals to play any system and blend as a team is still paramount for me.

    The problem with stats are they can pose more Questions than Answers; how did Wycombe allow more shots along with the relegated teams yet still get to the Play off final. Wycombe were the most direct team in the division as well.

    Thanks to @Jac_52 for the stats but when you extrapolate the information, would you really conclude that possession football beats getting the ball to your goal scorers in and around the box with crisp accurate football ?

    Doing long accurate diagonal passes isn't the same as hoof ball that go straight and long over the tall strikers head.

    I remain a disciple of mix and match, where you have the ability to pass and keep possession but you speed up the tempo when fast play will catch out mediocre League 1 defences in transition.
  • Jac_52 said:
    League 1 is a very interesting mix of teams with very different approaches. Wycombe and Rotherham were two of the most direct teams in the league and one went up automatically and the other got to the playoff finals. Wigan and MKD (edit: and Sunderland) were some of the more possession based teams and again both had success in their league position. We had no identity and were just going nowhere slowly, which seems to also work when you have very good players like Sheffield Wednesday.



    The article this chart came from has some other very interesting stats about last season in league 1 and is worth a read over a dump or two

    https://theanalyst.com/eu/2022/06/english-league-one-2021-22-stats/
    Here’s Garner’s Swindon for comparison. In league 2 he was the only team playing that way, but in league 1 he will be up against Ipswich, MK Dons, Bolton who are years ahead in terms of implementing style and getting players in for the style. Will be very difficult to do it better than them when we’ve only had 1 window and 1 pre-season 
  • Jac_52 said:
    League 1 is a very interesting mix of teams with very different approaches. Wycombe and Rotherham were two of the most direct teams in the league and one went up automatically and the other got to the playoff finals. Wigan and MKD (edit: and Sunderland) were some of the more possession based teams and again both had success in their league position. We had no identity and were just going nowhere slowly, which seems to also work when you have very good players like Sheffield Wednesday.



    The article this chart came from has some other very interesting stats about last season in league 1 and is worth a read over a dump or two

    https://theanalyst.com/eu/2022/06/english-league-one-2021-22-stats/
    This graph is a lovely indicator of one of the key problems we had last season. What the hell were we? I know that the manager change will have had some impact on this but there we are bang in the middle, neither fast and direct nor slow and intricate. We barely passed the ball but by the time we lost it we hadn't got it very far. We tried to do both build up and direct attacks but the lack of pattern meant that a lot broke down, because if you don't know what your mate is about to do with the ball you don't know where to be when he does it. Was Sean Clare going to play a pass out of defence or was he going to decide to run with the ball try and overlap down the wing? I don't know! Did Morgan or JFC or Fraser know where to put a pass to create a team move? Very nope. The only things you could be certain of were that CBT was going to pelt up the pitch with the ball and someone needed to be an option for a pass before he ballooned a shot over the bar, and that someone needed to sit deep when Gilbey was on the ball because he was about to run it into an opposition player's shins. Did we seem to have a plan for working the ball wide so a cross could be put onto Stockley's head? Did we have a plan to move through the areas of the pitch together so there's always options for a pass and you can build further and further up? Was there always an out ball in every phase of play? We were totally individualistic, relying on the talents of one player at a time to make something happen instead of trying to become more than the sum of our parts. It's not that we had varied ways of playing and we could change up at will, it's that every time one of our players had the ball at his feet it was entirely on him to decide in the moment what to do and fingers crossed everyone else guessed what it was in time. Hopefully clear messaging from Garner and consistency of approach will fix that this season.
  • what is a false 9 ?
    Basically a striker that drops deep into space, the idea being that it draws centre halves out of position and the wide forwards can then take advantage. 

    Think Firmino as an example, he’s the false 9 in their system with Mane and Salah being the main goal threat from wide positions over the last few years.
    Don’t good ‘proper’ 9s do this anyway?!
  • Jac_52 said:
    League 1 is a very interesting mix of teams with very different approaches. Wycombe and Rotherham were two of the most direct teams in the league and one went up automatically and the other got to the playoff finals. Wigan and MKD (edit: and Sunderland) were some of the more possession based teams and again both had success in their league position. We had no identity and were just going nowhere slowly, which seems to also work when you have very good players like Sheffield Wednesday.



    The article this chart came from has some other very interesting stats about last season in league 1 and is worth a read over a dump or two

    https://theanalyst.com/eu/2022/06/english-league-one-2021-22-stats/
    You could use exactly the same chart for rating previous partners sexual style without changing any of the headings
  • My knowledge is quite extensive, feel free to ask if there's anything you don't understand.


  • edited July 22
    One important observation. There is nothing wrong with playing it out from the back but you do need to have a purpose in every ball you play IMO. At lower levels, many teams just seem to pass for the sake of it and lean towards easy passes and completion rather than try to open teams up. This can often involve passing to players in a worse position and increasing the odds of an error or losing posession. These teams are easy to defend against as you can just let them play in front of you and/or press their limited threats.

    To be successful alongside this possesion game, you can't have players cocking up easy passes and again this can happen too often at lower levels. Also the pass receivers have to be able to control decent paced balls. At lower levels this is also lacking but it is essential as a great pass can be a poor pass if the receiving player is not up to it. To be honest, I am not sure where we are with this this season. Each team has a passing number for their level. It is something a manager has to have a good idea what it is and ensure the tactics employed goes under this on average.

    We need to have a high number here if our approach is going to succeed. I saw some lazy balls against Sutton. We can't see those when it gets serious.
  • There was a thread on this topic recently, as I found myself in a similar situation where I felt as though I wasn't really giving the tactical side of the conversation much attention. 

    Do You Watch Football Tactically? — Charlton Life

    What I've found quite interesting in the last year or so whilst being around a few younger fans is that they know this stuff inside out. A lot more than I did when I was a teenager / young adult. 

    Not sure of the exact reason for that, but I've heard it be attributed quite a lot to the likes of Football Manager, FIFA etc as well as the overall increase in footballing discussion that we are all exposed to via social media.

    I do also think a lot of tactical opinions tend to be borrowed though. For example - at Premier League level you'll get fans who will instantly critique a player coming in from overseas, when realistically they've never sat and watched a Sassuolo or Fiorentina match and made notes to come to their position. 
  • Good idea for a thread! Really pleased to see that I’m not alone in enjoying the nerdier side of the game…
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