The previous article looking into the Lazio system, we laid down the theory of the tactical setup, what each players role was to do in the team and how that would work for the tactics on a whole. We were looking for a good defensive standing with players that could attack quickly on the counter, moving the ball from each part of the pitch quickly as the players intelligently moved. But theory and practise are two different things and I analyse the positives and disadvantages of the system against different sides and formations.
In the first 15 minutes Zarate had two very good opportunities, coming from through balls from deep, the intelligent movement off the ball by Rocchi, who was able to open the space for his partner by dropping deep and right, dragging the opposition’s defender with him. The second chance (and the first goal of the match) was all about our tactical setup – Rocchi made spaces for Zarate, he cuts inside and latch the great through ball pass by our main playmaker.
In the whole match there was situations in which we can see the great interplay and combinations between the two strikers, which first opened the space for each other (or for the pushing on midfielders from deep) then attempt to set up each other up (or to set up the ongoing midfielder).
One of the positive things is also that the two central midfielders never pushed forward at the same time – always one of them was deep and securing the middle of the pitch.
When the opposite start slowly to attack us we have the time to reshape and cover each zone in our half – that’s why the opposition’s players don’t have much chance in front of our goal. The team formed a flat back four, covered by the sweeper and the three central players ahead of them – we defended with 8 players making us difficult to break down.
The only real negatives was our central midfielders don’t seem to press adequately – they rarely picked the right time to press the ball, allowing their zone to be uncovered when chasing the ball back.
If we exclude the two goals that the team conceded our defence was very stable and didn’t give away to many clear cut chances. In the last 20mins the team attacked with great flair and made some good opportunities, unfortunately we didn’t score from them.
The first goal was due to personal mistakes of our players ; while the second was the pure evidence why the 3-5-2/5-3-2 formation has tough times against one-striker formations – our wing-back were unable to play against two players in their zones dealing with a winger and a full back, our central defenders were constantly dragged away from their position, trying to cover the wing-backs, leaving the centre zone empty and uncovered and given the fact that Milan posses great player with vision, skill and speed it was logical we conceded in that way.
In this match our counter-attacks were the pure evidence of what my tactical setup was made to do– defending deep, steal the ball then pass it via direct killer balls from deep position to one of the two strikers who goes in one-on-one situation creating clear cut chances.
One more goal conceded by set-piece. This is strange, given the fact our defenders posses good height and skills in the air.
Some good attacks, nothing more – either in defence or in attack.
This was one more time when it’s clear that my defenders lacked the agility and mobility to deal with good killer pass that release a fast and mobile striker in our final third. Our whole defence is struggling to cope with such as style of play.
The other bad thing is that when the opposition strikers constantly roams around the final third and our defenders are unable to deal with them, due to lack of concentration and squad gelling.
Against Fiorentina/4-2-3-1 with three AMCs
Against Fiorentina we were clearly outplayed little positive came out of the game at all.
We were totally outplayed by the front four of Fiorentina. They posses players with vision, skills and pace/mobility we couldn’t cope with them, absolutely no way my setup could cope with such a shape. We didn’t outnumber them in our half (they have 8 players, we have 6, more so that they have four attacking players lined in two lines while we have six defender lined in three lines) they just destroyed us by simply having outnumbering us in vital positions.
Next article I will look at the major problems of the tactical setup, many that can be seen already from the above matches – going through the steps of how to counter we have discovered.