This session is all about exploiting the opposition in wide areas in order to gain the opportunity to either cross or shoot at goal. Our games have a lot of interactions in the wider areas, so it’s important to us that we can try to exploit this type of attack.
The players at our club really tend to enjoy small-sided duals and combination play, so elements of both aspects of the game are integral to these practices.
The use of this type of training session will be dependent on what kind of team we are due to be playing. If we feel we can exploit our forthcoming opponents in the wider areas, then we will work on what that looks like and how we can achieve that.
The session develops from unopposed key movements into an opposed practice as soon as possible.
The progressions are key to the realism of what we may face at the weekend.
“Our games have a lot of interactions in the wider areas, so it’s important to us that we can try to exploit this type of attack”
We set up a circular playing area with a diameter of approximately 24 yards. We’re using 12 outfield players. Eight players are positioned around the outside of the circle, while four working players dribble around the circle with a ball each. To begin with all four of the working players perform the movement shown in the diagram by player 1, dribbling the ball to a spare player on the outside and switching places with that player. The exercise runs continuously for 90 seconds.
For the next 90 seconds the four working players perform the movement of player 2, dribbling the ball towards a spare player on the outside and then playing a one-two combination with that player, switching places as the outside player steps in to become the dribbler.
Once that exercise has run for 90 seconds, the four working players next perform the movement shown by player 3. This entails dribbling the ball towards a spare player on the outside, playing a one-two combination and on receiving the ball back finding a third player on the outside to pass to, either to the left or the right.
Finally, the four working players perform the movement shown by player 4, which is the same as the previous exercise but now the first receiver overlaps the working player to receive a pass from the third player on the outside. This also runs for 90 seconds.
All four exercises are shown in the one diagram .
SWITCH AND ATTACK 2v1
We set up a playing area of 20×20 yards split into two halves and with two mini target goals positioned along each side. We’re using 10 outfield players, split into two teams of five. Two players start at each team’s station 1 and one player starts on each teams’ remaining three stations. Both teams simultaneously follow the same passing sequence starting from opposite ends – this represents a way of switching the play. Player 1 passes to player 2. Player 2 passes to player 3 and then player 3 passes to player 4. Player 4 steps in with the ball and attacks along with player 3 to create a 2v1 situation against player 2 from the opposite team, who assumes the role of defender, as shown [2a].
This sequence creates a 2v1 in each half of the practice area and the aim for the possession team in each half is to score in the mini goal they are attacking. However, if the defender wins the ball, they can score in the opposite mini goal, as shown [2b].
When the ball is dead, players move to the next station in the passing sequence and plays starts again.
We set up a playing area with two penalty areas facing each other. We use the full width of the pitch, creating wide zones outside the two 18-yard boxes. We position a full size goal and a goalkeeper at each end. We’re using 18 outfield players. We set up with two teams of nine including keepers, plus two neutrals who play in the wide zones for the team in possession. Each team has three players in each half of the central area and also one player in each wide zone.
Play starts with a pass out from the goalkeeper and the possession team builds an attack on the opposite goal. To score, the ball must first enter a wide zone where the neutral players create a 2v1 attacking situation and they should help to set up crossing opportunities if possible.
The three possession players in the attacking half should try to attack crosses to finish on goal, as shown . The wide players can enter the central area to support play in the attacking half but remain locked in the wide zone in the team’s defensive half.
“To score, the ball must first enter a wide zone where the neutral players create a 2v1 attacking situation”
WIDE ATTACKS PROGRESSION
We finish the session by progressing the previous activity. We increase the size of the playing area to 56 yards in length but we still use the full width of the pitch. The wide zones are now removed.
The player set-up remains the same as before. It is a 9v9 game including goalkeepers plus two neutrals who play for the team in possession in wide areas. Normal football rules apply but the team in possession should be encouraged to create overloads in the wide areas with the neutral players always being connected to the play and helping to give the attacking team an 11v9 advantage, as shown .
What are the key things to look for?
In all of the practices featured in this session we’re looking to develop the players in terms of their quick feet and decision making abilities. We want to see high quality passing using the correct weight and tempo, good movement to exploit space, including overlapping, underlapping and blind side runs, and an awareness of what decision to make at what time.
We also want to see players employing useful communication to help team mates, whether that is a warning shout of ‘check your shoulder’, instructions explaining where the ball should be played, or just simple shouts of encouragement.
What are the typical mistakes players might make and how do I avoid them?
Players sometimes make poorly timed runs, going too late or too early, or they can make the wrong selection of pass. We would work with the players on their decision making, so they would make the correct decisions for the circumstances.