Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


A striker who plays with a smile

dave clarkeThere have been some great players gracing the English Premier League this year, Samir Nasri at Arsenal, Carlos Tevez at Manchester City, Andy Carroll at Newcastle United and players like Yaya Toure, Michael Essien and Scott Parker, strong ball winners.

But the player who has stood out to me more than anyone is Florent Malouda at Chelsea where he has had an excellent first half of the season scoring 9 goals and creating lots of others. Go to his website and you will see the work he does for the people caught out in the earthquake in Haiti and his visits to local hospitals.

He is beginning to look like a role model both on and off the pitch.

And yet at the end of 2010 Samir Nasri was named French footballer of the year ahead of Malouda, confirming what strength in depth there is in the Premier League.

Watch out for Malouda in the coming weeks I reckon he’s got a lot more to offer this season.

See his goals in this clip below:



The importance of formations and covering players

dave clarkeManchester City in the English Premier League have bought some good players for a lot of money. But they haven’t really been much more successful than a lot of the teams that have spent less. One of the reasons is the use of players in the formations Roberto Mancini puts out.

His latest tactic of using a midfield trio of Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and Yaya Touré, I found it strange that Toure had the task of linking with the forwards.

At Barcelona Toure was known as a holding player.

Barcelona use tactics very well. Manager Pep Guardiola often plays with both full-backs pushed high, a risky strategy necessitated by how frequently they come up against sides who sit deep against them. With width on both sides they can switch the play quickly from one flank to the other, and turn defences.

In this formation they need cover in case the opponent breaks, which is where Toure excelled and now Sergio Busquets sits in, becoming in effect a third centre-back.

This is very similar to the diamond formation used at Chelsea when Mikel John Obi would sit back as a third centre-back.

When using formations in youth matches it is often the coaches that think about how to cover when employing an attacking formation that are the most successful. Cover by getting a midfielder to drop into the space left by attacking defenders can be the key to winning matches.

Of course they are not a third centre-back often they will have to hold up counter-attacks on their own but a well positioned player will make a huge difference in these matches.

Mentioning Barcelona and wing play with covering defenders cannot pass without a word about Theo Walcott and the Barcelona-Arsenal game in the Champions League last season. With Arsenal 2-0 down Arsene Wenger changed tactics and sent on his wing commander Walcott. Watch the clip below of how Walcott changed the game by stealing the wings from Barcelona. Great tactics.




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