The Tactic Board The Crossing of One’s Balls The Final Curtain Call

The 4-5-1 System

Currently Newcastle United are the main team within the Premiership who adopt this tactic on a regular basis, Newcastle in example mode tend to sit deep with the five players across the centre of the pitch, when without ball retention five players can be within a 5 to 15 yard space between their defenders which can result in the team surrendering up to 75% possession of the pitch. Newcastle tend to drop an extra man into the back four without ball retention.

The intention is to invite the pressure looking for a quick counter attack, but due to the lone forward, a long ranking pass when gaining possession would not provide the answer on most occasions as the forward ball will invariably settle either side of the forward, so in theory, the forward pass has to be a short pass into the midfield named five who would then look to branch into the centre of the pitch markings to link the lone forward and allow the counter attack to move at a fast, but controlled pace.

The bonus of the wide men, left and right is a big plus for this system, to be supplemented with one or two of the centre midfield of three to released into the central positions to support the lone forward.

A quick movement either side left or right by the wide men would quicken the counter attack as they drive forward into the arrowed areas looking to create a three pronged attack on the counter attack as illustrated below.

Space being created behind the oppositions defence on the counter attack

The common usage by most managers is for the central midfield player to drive forward and the remaining two midfield players (central) to step inside ten yards off their normal positions to create a mini defensive line in front of the back four, in anticipation of the opposition’s counter attack. In the suggested modes, systems, tactics formations, all come under the same umbrella, but it is down to the players once they have crossed the white line, to implement the managers instructions, to make any system a success in the mode of the tactic board.

Today’s footballers are paid vast amounts of money, but are all players technically of a high efficiency, do they possess the technical skills required or are they over valued, over paid and over indulged? As Manero highlights the failing art of consistently crossing the ball into the forward’s domain, the penalty area with accuracy.

To assess the number of crosses which are made during a Premiership match reveals the lack of the pin point cross come pass to the in rushing forwards inside the penalty area, the need to move the head upwards before aiming at the intended forward come target is amiss with many footballers. The crossing of the ball into an empty space or directly into a defender’s line is the norm during a match, so do the players practice crossing the ball during training on a regular basis? Perhaps not as much as they should do.

As the stats reveal, the number of quality crosses as opposed to poor crosses to open up a defence and close in on the blind side of the opposition is imperative for teams to succeed, but how many times do we see wasted crosses? A pinpointed cross is just as important as a good shot on goal, hitting the intended target has to be the main priority, it has to be suggested that players need to show more consistency with their technique in the crossing of one’s balls!

The Final Curtain Call

The end of a footballer’s career can for many former professionals be the long road to despair and recklessness, once the plaudits have left and the blades of grass are no longer part of daily life, the adjustment to life without football can for some be too much to bear.

The Paul Gascoigne story is well documented in the public domain, but many former players do not hit the headlines with the same intensity. The former Manchester United and Newcastle winger Keith Gillespie squandered a mind boggling 7 million pounds on gambling and was declared bankrupt alongside the former Aston Villa player, Lee Hendry who hit the bankruptcy note with a 10 million loss due to a property crash. The facts and stats are startling, statistically speaking once players stop being professional footballer, follows with 3 out of 5 being declared bankrupt within five years of retiring with 1 out of 3 ex-players filing for divorce within three years of retiring. Many footballers do not anticipate the end, while many endeavour to stay within football, as coaches in the main, but football is a precarious profession and for many former pro’s it can be just as precarious outside of football, once the final whistle has blown!