Attacking the space (Boss' leaving thread)

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Boss keeps deleting this thread, so to prevent him from doing so, I'm now the Thread Starter.

Tough luck, Boss.
 

Boss

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Attacking the Space



Look at this gif, its mesmeric isn’t it? Look how Anderson skips past the opposition. He sees the space and just goes for it. It’s beautiful. He pushes the whole play forward, going for the jugular and it leads to us scoring.

Now, I’ve read that Anderson is one of the few players that are capable of such a run in our team. I ask why? Why shouldn’t more of our players go on such runs? When the opportunity presents itself, why not go for it? Why not attack the space when it opens up?

At times it can be the quickest route to a goal, you see the space and you just go for it.

It brings the whole team forward; you go past players without the use of step overs but just taking the initiative. You beat them indirectly. It’s so simple but so effective.

When Eto’o scored against us in the CL final in 2009, the goal came about from Iniesta doing just that. Using the space Carrick and Anderson left between them Iniesta glided through the gap and we were completely sucker punched.

In fact a lot of Barcelona players do this, and so do Arsenal ones. Look at Jack Wilshere, he’s a genius at it. He shifts play forward while shielding the ball, so he’s capable of pushing the team forward with defenders still on him, moving through the gaps.

It’s instilled in these clubs, I have no doubt they practise it non-stop in training. For Barcelona it is key for them always getting into the opponents box, keeping possession and creating so many chances. Notice how calm and collected their players are in the final third, it’s because they are constantly aware of the space around them.

Going past players is priceless for any team, especially in the middle of the park but you don’t have to always beat them directly. Step-overs and circus tricks are quickly becoming a thing of the past. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Let me list a few players whose game significantly utilises ‘attacking the space’:

Lionel Messi, Mesut Ozil, Ricardo Kaka, Andres Iniesta, Marcelo, Zinedine Zidane, Paul Gascoigne,Robben, Yaya toure,Ramires, Anderson,Dimitar Berbatov, Pique,Song, Nasri, David Silva, Ryan Giggs,Wilshere, Eto'o Lassana Diarra just to name a few.

When they see the opportunity to go past a couple of players, their eyes light up and they take it. When there is space, there is a way. They can go around defenders, between them, across them while shielding the ball, it doesn't matter. These players go where the space allows them.

Look at this goal at 1:10:


Attacking space is a key to Messi’s game. When he was describing his infamous goal against Getafe in 2007, he said he was ‘attacking the space like always.’ In this video he sees the gap and he goes for it, drifting past the defence and slotting the ball past the keeper. The defence are left stunned to what just happened.

Genius right? Well the finish certainly is but I believe more players are capable of taking such initiative when it comes to attacking spaces. It’s can be the quickest route to goal, when you see the gap, go for it.

Of course, not everyone is as good at it Messi/Iniesta who can worm through the smallest gaps and dribble in telephone booths but you don’t have to be. There’s always going to be larger gaps to manipulate as we saw with Anderson’s run.

Attacking the space is also key to keeping possession and keeping the ball away from opposition players. Here’s an example:


You draw defenders in, and dart off in other direction, attacking the space they leave behind. It’s genius on the eye, but it’s all calculated. These type of players are the coolest on the ball, they always know what there are going to beforehand.

(just watch this video on mute for the first 5 second it constantly repeats)

See? De ja vu? When the space closes in one direction you dart off in the other direction...beating defenders in the process. You maintain possession and keep things ticking, drawing players out of position in the process.

Look at even the likes of Busquets doing it to Kaka:

Zidane


Zidane was arguably the greatest manipulator of space

Look at this infamous goal Zizou scored against Ajax.

It’s just brilliant isn’t it? Look how when the gap closes for him in one direction, he darts off in the other, attacking the space the defenders have left, allowing him to even take a couple of touches in a penalty box before scoring fabulous goal. He attacks the space so well.

Zidane was arguably the greatest manipulator of space, it’s why he could beat so many players while being as fast as a grandmother.

Football is always pushing forward, and more teams and players will be finding the quickest route to goal.

How many good examples of players attacking the space can you find? Have a look at this one, Anderson sees the space and just goes for it! Similar to the gif I posted at the start of this post.


some others:


Between the defenders:


Ronaldo seeing the space and going for it early in his Madrid career:


Gazza:

 

Danny1982

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I think what you are trying to say is: When you some space ahead of you go for it and occupy it, because the objective is to get closer to the opponents goal, even if it's not clear what the next step in attack would be when you get there.. Things will open up for you when you get there, don't worry about it.. When you have an opportunity to "win ground" and get closer to the opponents goal, take it and don't waste time trying to figure out how to start your attack..

The problem with this, not every player has enough confidence in himself that he CAN find the next step when he gets there. Many players are afraid of taking the risk of pushing forward without an obvious continuation to the attack because they are afraid when they get there, they'll run out of ideas and get "trapped" in that advanced spot, which will subsequently mean that they'll lose the ball.. Only players with enough confidence, fitness, and creativity can pull this off.

Having said that, it's still not something you rarely see in football nowadays.. May be in the 90s the teams were more disciplined that everybody knows where he should stand and what he should do, but now, it's not really like that.. We see nowadays many defenders who dare to make a run (a big one) when they see some space ahead.. We saw that with Jones against Tottenham for example. (Pique is also definitely worth a mention here too).

Keep in mind too that you'll spend a lot of energy with such runs, so something that could also be a factor here is how fit the player is, and how much of his energy is left or he wants to spare for the later stages of the game.. You can't make those runs all game long, you'll be dead after half an hour..
 

RonaldoVII

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Kinda feel bad just commenting on the gif but it was impressive that Anderson did that very late in the game, which had been a high tempo throughout, when previously his fitness has been questioned.
 

davisjw

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Isn't this a math lesson decorated as a footballing thought?

The shortest distance between Point A and Point B is a straight line.

:nervous:
 

AttackingFlair

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Players probably do it less because they don't want to be selfish and lose the ball (more likely) than doing a simple pass.
 

RedLars

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Screw you Boss, I had just written up a response completely agreeing with you in that other thread, and lost it as I hit reply and you had deleted it!

But yeah, like I was gonna say there, this trait is often one that stands out to me when I notice a talented young midfielder, and also partly why I was never very impressed by for instance Jordan Henderson. I usually refer to it as having a good "drive" with the ball, being able to quickly take it up the pitch when the opportunity is there.

While pace and skill are important, I think the most important trait to this skill is being able to spot the gaps and openings that allow for you to surge forward. When you do, it's a huge advantage to your team, as usually you'll be equal in numbers against the lowest defending line. This will force one of the defenders to choose whether to go out and pressure you, and thus leave an opening which can be exploited, or let you take a clear shot from decent range.

I always thought Steven Gerrard used to be very good at doing this, particularly because he's got a good shot to boot.
 

Successful

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Why waste all your time on Redcafe when you could go on being something like a commentator on tv or an assitsant to a premier league manager(to start with)??
 

Solius

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During that game against Tottenham there was a moment when Young had the ball, he looked for a pass and then realised he had a shitload of space in front of him and ran into it. I remember saying out loud at the time about it. Sometimes the simplest option is the best.
 

IrishLegend

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I think if you run at the space you draw more defenders in (as they panic) while your team mates are surging forward.

Generally leaves our lads in more space / better positions to receive the ball and have a crack at goal or play the 2nd ball.
 

anything about now

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I love that burst of speed. It not only shows physical talent, but his raw determination as well. He saw a crack in the opposition's setup, and took advantage of it to the fullest.
 

Stack

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You have forgotten the key thing to all this use of space. Its the work off the ball by team mates dragging defenders, making dummy runs and creating passing or dribbling channels. The most important player on the pitch at any one moment is the player without the ball.
 

Phil

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I always feel our players should be less static and moving a bit more off the ball, that way these gaps would appear far more often.
 

TheHorse'sMouth

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It's what Iniesta is brilliant at. When he travels with the ball at pace through CM between the opposition's midfield and defence, he eliminates a quandry of players and also distorts opposition team shape. Messi is also brilliant at it, but in a different way.
 

RedDevilCanuck

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I've seen Berbatov go past a player while moving as fast as a snail.

He just knows how much time and space he has and exploits every second/inch.
 

Mockney

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I hear you Boss. It's vitally important to attack the space.

Watch Usain Bolt here, attacking the space. He sees the space, and he attacks it. They all do in fact. All of them. But he attacks it more. Nothing is going to stop him attacking that space.


Here's another example. John Cleese, the master of attacking space, in one of his most infamous space attacks. Watch him from 0.09. He sees the space. Makes up his mind, and then at 0.13, boom, he attacks it. Classic space attacking. All the way.


Mesmeric isn't it? Look at how he skips past that long line of men in smocks. Beautiful isn't it?

Now I've read Cleese is one of the few people capable of this in England. I ask, why? At times it's the quickest route to the other side of the street.

In Spain, where everything is amazing and brilliant and that, due to their slower style of play, the space is often presented more...often. As such it is ripe for attacking. Hard.

Ewanio McGregio was a fine proponent of attacking the space in his day. As evidenced below.


Why can't we do this more often? Why can't we just attack the space? Why can't everything be like it is in Spain? I'd like a sleep in the middle of the day. Why can't I do that? Why can't Darron Gibson attack the space? Why can't Michael Carrick attack the space? Why can't I sit outside of Lionel Messi's house singing him love poetry I've written in esperanto with my own blood and faeces? How can a team of lawyers possibly rule that to be dangerous and obsessive behaviour?


In summary. Attack the space.
 

Raees

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Messi and Iniesta are good examples of attacking space, those vids of Zidane less so. Zidane didn't attack space, he just had exceptional manipulation of the ball in tight spaces, and well whilst he could do it, he's not a great exponent of it.

Its an innate ability, that sense of smelling a gap and just seizing the moment, it gets coached out alot of talented players or they lose confidence in doing so as they go up football levels and find they can do it less and less, leading to more errors than not. A good centre of gravity and acceleration, not to mention a laces dribbling technique are needed to be very good at it.. most of the players you mentioned in the OP all possess it.

Kaka at his peak was all about attacking space, he was a beast at it. Luis Suarez and Aguero, alongside a peak Rooney, they'll be the Prem players to watch who can do it up front.
 

#07

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It's what Iniesta is brilliant at. When he travels with the ball at pace through CM between the opposition's midfield and defence, he eliminates a quandry of players and also distorts opposition team shape. Messi is also brilliant at it, but in a different way.
It absolutely mangles teams. You can line up in two banks of four then Iniesta gets the ball destroys your centre midfield and the next thing you know you've got Pedro, Villa and Messi making runs at your defence with Iniesta carrying the ball towards them: 4 vs 4 against the best attack on earth. :houllier:
 

Brwned

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Footy is so complicated isn't it?

Luckily we have experts to break it down for us numpties.
You learn something new every day don't you? Who knew there was such a thing as a laces dribbling technique? Now I know it not only exists, it's key to being able to attack the space. Intriguing.
 

Grinner

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You learn something new every day don't you? Who knew there was such a thing as a laces dribbling technique? Now I know it not only exists, it's key to being able to attack the space. Intriguing.
Next up...Aim Between The Goalposts When Shooting.
 

Raees

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You learn something new every day don't you? Who knew there was such a thing as a laces dribbling technique? Now I know it not only exists, it's key to being able to attack the space. Intriguing.
:lol: watch any vid of Messi, Giggs and just look at which part of the foot they primarily use to control the ball at speed. Its the top part of the foot, the lace area, not so difficult to describe or learn, or something fancy. Simples. It's a basic yet important aspect of being able to carry the ball at speed in tight situations adeptly.
 

Brwned

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I think I'll need to take my coaching badges first, the concept's too difficult to comprehend.
 

Grinner

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:lol: watch any vid of Messi, Giggs and just look at which part of the foot they primarily use to control the ball at speed. Its the top part of the foot, the lace area, not so difficult to describe or learn. Simples. It's a fundamental aspect of being able to carry the ball at speed in tight situations adeptly.
If only Nike could make a special boot that has a coloured panel on the laces area so we could all learn how to do that.
 

peterstorey

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:lol: watch any vid of Messi, Giggs and just look at which part of the foot they primarily use to control the ball at speed. Its the top part of the foot, the lace area, not so difficult to describe or learn. Simples. It's a fundamental aspect of being able to carry the ball at speed in tight situations adeptly.
That's just fecking bollocks, you can't run at top speed and control the ball with the laces. You've never dribbled a ball you plank.
 

Raees

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That's just fecking bollocks, you can't run at top speed and control the ball with the laces. You've never dribbled a ball you plank.
Hmm sure, of course I haven't. Because Pete's said so. If you run with the ball at speed and are doing it primarily with your instep, you're going to look like a plank. If you don't use the front or top part of the foot, you can't run in a direct straight line at speed and under control.

Saying 'lace's' makes it sound stupid, but its not. Check Giggsy's goal here or Messi v Getafe, he uses a mixture of instep (from both feet) to keep it under control and alot of the lace area or more accurately the outer/top part of foot, to drive the ball forward into space. No one's saying a player uses that area 100% but the best players effortlessly use that part of their foot to stride into space. Big difference in say how Wilshere carries the ball into space in comparison to Carrick.


 

KingEric7

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The whole rationale to the OP is a bit weird tbh. It boils down to "don't dribble the ball into opposition players". Er... ok.
I can understand what the OP is trying to say. I think there's a real mental block with so many players, born out of the pressure of the modern game and fear of losing the ball, when it comes to being more direct in terms of 'attacking space'.

So many players could hugely improve there contribution simply by doing this. The Anderson runs up there are fantastic, but it's not exactly something that requires an unbelievable amount of skill. In the Aston Villa one, for example, he basically just waited for the right moment, and pelted it down the left side at full pace. Given that the control over the ball at pace was good,this is something well within the skillset of so many players, yet it's not something we see a lot really when you think about it.

Tunnicliffe is great at this sort of thing.
 

Boss

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I can understand what the OP is trying to say. I think there's a real mental block with so many players, born out of the pressure of the modern game and fear of losing the ball, when it comes to being more direct in terms of 'attacking space'.

So many players could hugely improve there contribution simply by doing this. The Anderson runs up there are fantastic, but it's not exactly something that requires an unbelievable amount of skill. In the Aston Villa one, for example, he basically just waited for the right moment, and pelted it down the left side at full pace. Given that the control over the ball at pace was good,this is something well within the skillset of so many players, yet it's not something we see a lot really when you think about it.

Tunnicliffe is great at this sort of thing.
Agreed.