Pat Mustard Tactical Synopsis: Possession-orientated, offensive 4-3-1-2/4-3-3 with attacking full backs and a high defensive line. This is a highly attacking, dynamic lineup that aims to establish effective control in midfield and play a majority of the match in the opposition half. To that end, we’re fielding a high defensive line led by Dutch legend Ruud Krol partnered with high-line specialist Carles Puyol, who are flanked by the stellar all-rounder Maicon at right back and the attacking virtuoso Marcelo at left back. Valery Voronin provides top-notch defensive coverage and distribution in central midfield, and his partners van Hanegem and Jansen both boast excellent pedigree in such possession-based setups. With outstanding deeper playmakers in van Hanegem and Krol behind him, our star attacker Zico can concentrate his efforts on scoring and creating in the final third, and should see plenty of the ball. Italy’s all-time top scorer Gigi Riva should be a great fit for Zico as a battering ram centre forward with deadly finishing and a surprisingly deft and creative touch. Jupp Heynckes completes our attack as a roaming forward. It’ll be Heynckes who plays the most selfless role of the trio, constantly probing across the width of the forward line for openings and providing decoy runs to create space for Zico and Riva. Assessing The Opposition Threat: Two quality wingers, probably positioned high up the pitch, a GOAT roaming CF in Cruyff linking with Socrates, and the top-notch deep passer Koeman. To counter this: 1) Deprive the opposition of the ball with a possession-orientated gameplan. We have proven quality in possession-orientated setups throughout our backline and midfield. 2) High defensive line to limit space between the lines for Cruyff and Socrates, with Krol and Puyol possessing exceptional credentials in high-line setups. 3) An all-time great libero in Krol leading the defence, and three powerhouse contributors in the defensive phase in our midfield in van Hanegem, Jansen and Voronin. 4) Excellent covering options if Marcelo or Maicon are beaten or caught out of position. Krol and Puyol have played at LB and RB respectively, and Voronin can drop into CB if they are dragged into wide areas or choose to spread wide when we’re in possession to allow Marcelo/Maicon to advance forward. Both van Hanegem and Jansen can also cover the wide areas effectively. 5) Riva/Heynckes to take primary responsibility for pressing Koeman/Maldini when they’re in possession. oneniltothearsenal Strategy: “Our foundation was technique and everything else was a matter of positioning and support. Good positional play meant that you didn’t have to run so far, so technique was ablke to come more easily to the fore.” - Johan Cruyff Fluid Front Four Cruyff and Sócrates’ combination play is the heart of this side. They both have their preferred channels and the foundation to play completely fluid with the front four. Cruyff and Sócrates’ interplay is the spearhead to the attack. Even the best man markers and defensively sound players could not stop players of the ingenuity of Cruyff and Sócrates from scoring goals. Also, the entire front four are superb at tempo changes. These changes in rhythm and tempo keeps the opposition unbalanced. Sócrates, Cruyff, Conti and Ribery all excel at changing the tempo to catch out the opposition. Wingers Swapping Sides Conti and Ribery are an ideal pair to overstress the defense by swapping sides. Both have a very high game intelligence along with great work ethic, movement, dribbling and passing to maximize this advantage. They will operate around the center pair and use their combination play to create openings in the defense that can be exploited by any of the front four. This intelligent movement will open up spaces to exploit in any defense. Even the best defenses in history like Italy ‘82 and Milan ‘93 gave up key goals to clever movement. This side has some of the best attacking positional masters of the game in Cruyff, Sócrates, Conti and Ribery. They will unbalance the defense and score many goals. Koeman and Nelinho Dismarking with Passing Koeman is probably the greatest passing defender of all time. His range and accuracy offers both strong control in possession and lightning quick counter attacks. Nelinho complements this by offer another passer capable of accurately quickly switching sides. This feeds into the fluid front four and switching wingers by offering quick and accurate ball delivery. It also makes the side extremely press resistant. Koeman masterfully directs play from the backline. With the Total Footballer and the Doctor constantly buzzing around confusing the defense and the guile of Conti and Ribery swapping flanks, the ability to pick out pinpoint passes from across the pitch will prove vital. They have the ability to take numerous out of a play with a skilled pass. Cover Shadows This is how Spielverlagerung defines cover shadow: “With the use of the own body, a player can defend by applying a cover shadow that is usually utilized in terms of a zonal defence. When a player positions himself between the ball carrier and an open man, he covers the latter in his fictive shadow. Therefore, the defender can prevent a pass.” When the opponent has possession a player like Sócrates doesn’t need to press off the ball like a Klopp player to be effective. Our side will employ the cover shadow principle to prevent the opponent from easily recycling possession through the backline. This will be used in conjunction with Ribery and Conti’s hard work off the ball to prevent easy use of the 3 at the back to recircle the ball. By doing this we negate any advantage a back 3 has in possession.