Thursday, June 1, 2023
HomeSportsHow Guardiola used Stones and Cruyff's playbook to fix team

How Guardiola used Stones and Cruyff’s playbook to fix team

Mikel Arteta mentioned that Pep Guardiola considers himself essentially the most defensive coach on the planet, and Manchester Metropolis’s greatest type of the season provides weight to that unusual declare. Metropolis have gained 11 of their final 12 video games in all competitions and haven’t conceded a couple of aim in a match since mid-January, combating on three fronts from a strong base.

Guardiola’s groups have usually featured 5 gamers who keep primarily behind the ball, however he has absolutely by no means fielded such a strong and combative quintet as Manuel Akanji, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake and Rodri in the identical aspect. The hybrid function performed by Stones, drifting between defence and midfield in several phases of play, has been fascinating and demonstrates the total vary of the England defender’s abilities.

That is how Guardiola has used Stones to resolve his issues, and the way the answer has its roots in Guardiola’s experiences as a participant beneath Johan Cruyff at Barcelona.

Adapting to the lack of full-back specialists

Metropolis’s formation beneath Guardiola has all the time been written down shorthand as 4-3-3, with a again 4 and one holding midfielder. On the pitch although, Guardiola not often needs his defence fanned throughout the pitch with the deepest midfielder remoted when Metropolis are constructing play. Guardiola likes to have numbers in central areas, to encourage a larger variety of quick passes and to make sure Metropolis can contract over shorter distances if possession is misplaced.

We’ve got seen Guardiola deploy quite a lot of constructions: one of many full-backs inverting to make a 3-2 form, each inverting to make it a 2-3 form or extra not often, one of many full-backs pushed excessive and one of many attacking midfielders dropping alongside Fernandinho or Rodri. Given Kyle Walker’s worth as a defensive stabiliser at right-back, in earlier seasons Metropolis usually inverted their left-back. In 2017-18, Fabian Delph carried out this function, earlier than Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo offered extra enterprise and progressive passing from the place. Towards weaker opposition, Metropolis used Cancelo and Zinchenko in each full-back roles.




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