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GAME ANALYSIS #1: CENTRE BACKS

Developing as a footballer is so much more than just the on-field training. Contrary to popular belief, sitting in front of a screen for 90 minutes is sometimes okay.

We've all watched the great centre backs that have been a part of the beautiful game in the 2000s. Terry, Ferdinand, Vidic, Puyol, Ramos, Pique, van Dijk. Like I said, we've watched them, but have we studied their games? Most likely not. If you are a young centre back with big dreams, you need to know what the Pros are doing, and learn from it. Watch them play with purpose. Take what they do and incorporate it into your own game. Below I will list some things that you should look out for when analysing centre backs, or even when you analyse your own games.


#1 POSITIONING

Positioning is arguably the most important part of the position. Both on and off the ball, knowing where to be and when to be there is crucial if you want to play at the highest level. Let's start with BP (ball possession)l. When watching the pros, analyse where they stand in relation to where the ball is. When their centre back partner has the ball, are they standing on the same line? (NO!!!) Are they standing slightly deeper than them to create a diagonal passing line (They should be)? Look for these things, and make sure you note them down and learn from them.


In BPO (when the other team has the ball), here are some things you can look for:

  • Positioning when defending crosses

  • Positioning in relation to the opposition's striker

  • Positioning (again) in relation to where the ball is (For example, if the wingers, strikers, or centre mids have the ball)

#2 DECISION MAKING

Decision making is another crucial component of being a top central defender. Both on and off the ball, it is so important that we get our decision making right in order to minimise mistakes and maximise ball retention. The modern game is all about how we can keep the ball and build up from the back - and it is crucial that we are an asset to our team in this department, rather than a liability.


On the ball, some decisions that are key are:

  • Timing of the pass (do we engage the player pressing us first or just pass as soon as we see an option)

  • Pass variety (in what areas of the field do we try to break a line with a pass)

  • When can we drive out with the ball (is there space for us to take in front of us?)

Additionally, when we don't have the ball it is crucial to make the right decisions:

  • When do we step up, and when do we drop off?

  • In 1v1 situations, when do we delay and when do we make a tackle?

  • Should we get drawn out of position and defend in wide areas if our fullback gets beaten? Or should we stick to defending our box?

These are all decisions that we must make every single time we take the field, and it is important to get as many of them right every match.


#3 TECHNICAL DETAILS

The technical, finer details of the game are often overlooked but are some of the most important components of being a professional player. As a centre back, there are many small details, that will turn us from good defenders into the best of the best. Some that you should look to learn from watching the Pros include:

  • Weight of the first touch (in what situations do they kill the ball, and in what situations do they push it into the space)

  • Body shape when asking for and receiving the ball

  • Body shape when defending


There are so many things you can look for when analysing games, and so many things that you can pick up and use to improve your own game. We'll help you get started. Watch the video below and note down some things that you feel you can incorporate into your own game:

Thanks for supporting the blog, we hope it helped! We'll see you guys next week!

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