In this analysis, we would like to study the pattern for the KL City FC defending organization when they were up against the possession based opponents in the Malaysia Super League (MSL), Apparently, the Top 3 teams in the MSL standings as of today display a good possession based gameplay in Kedah, Terengganu, and the reigning Champions JDT respectively.
Quite coincidentally, KL City FC had faced all the above-mentioned opponents consecutively in the first round of the league game, starting with the away game defeat to both Terengganu and Kedah, before tying JDT with a draw at home ground in Stadium Cheras.We took this opportunity to study these 3 games as a sample to analyze their defending organization against the opponents who are very good with the ball possession in the MSL.
KL City FC maintained the similar formation and lineups for all these 3 matches, while all of their opponents were using a 4-3-3 formation. Their usual starting lineups are as follows;
Kevin Ray (GK, Irfan Zakaria, Giancarlo, Daniel Ting, Kamal Azizi, Zhafri Yahya, Akram Mahinan, Haidin Azman, Fakrul Aiman, Paulo Jouse (C), Romel Morales
𝐎𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐏𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐞
Against the possession based opponents, they were rarely pressing high on the pitch, and set-up a 4-4-2-ish Mid Block out of possession shape, to limit / block any central options for the opponents, and force play to the wide area, where their Wingers will aggressively press them when the ball has been circulated to this area. This shape is available in 𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟏.
When the opponents successfully enter their Midfield and Defending Third, they will form a 5-3-2-ish Lo Block out of possession shape, to limit any space in between the lines, and force the opponents to pass the ball backward or sideways. This shape is available in 𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟐.
1. Corner kick- The common pattern when they are defending any corner kick is that they will always leave the far post unmarked. These recurrence issues eventually will cause trouble for them, and we will discuss this further later on. (𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟑)
2. Free kick- They will be defending in numbers when they are defending a free kick (𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟒)
1. Compactness- Even though their initial out of possession defending set-up was effective, things would go a different way when the opponents circulated the ball around, and they tended to be stretched either vertically or horizontally. This will lead to:
(i). The opponents are able to manipulate the space in between the line (𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟓),
(ii).The opponents are able to launch a penetration pass to the dangerous area. (𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟔)
2.Set-pieces defending (Corner kick)- They tended to let the far post unmarked, and these recurring pattern continued from their match with Terengganu, Kedah, and eventually, they conceded a goal against JDT because of this issue (𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟕)
3,Rest defence structure- When they were in the attacking phase, their rest defence structure was unable to hold the opponents in an effective way, as they would normally be exposed when the transition occurred. Further explanation is available in 𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟖𝐀 until 𝐏𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝟖𝐂.
4. Attacking transition- The position of their attackers, particularly when they were defending deep, did not help them when the attacking transition occurred, since the attacking depth was unavailable as they put all the bodies in their own half. In addition to that, similar things happen when they are defending a free kick as per our previous explanation. This situation will only lead their opponents to recover the ball possession, and they will sit deep and wait for their opponents to come.
Rest assured that our intention to analyze the issues was not meant to criticize any team in particulars. However, as the Students of the Game, it is our passion to keep learning, and sharing all of our thoughts in accordance with the modern game requirements.