Each week, Australia Scout has a short segment on the popular From the Stands A-League podcast where we dissect the tactical features from one game of the round. In our first ever appearance, we had a look at Newcastle Jets based on their 1-0 defeat to the Central Coast Mariners.
Listen to the podcast – http://www.fromthestandsal.com/fts-pod/
Thanks Boris. It’s a pleasure to be here on the From the Stands podcast and I’m looking forward to bringing a bit of tactical analysis to the show each week, looking at one game from the round and the main tactical features from it.
This week I want to have a look at one of the more under discussed fixtures of the round, but one of the more interesting in revealing how one particular side will look to play this season. Central Coast and Newcastle Jets, of course, have been written off by most, but there were several encouraging signs from the latter.
Phil Stubbins set the Jets out in the 4-2-3-1 formation they have used throughout pre-season, with new signing Edson Montano starting upfront and Joel Griffiths tucked in just in behind. Johnny Steele played on the left wing with James Virgili ahead of Andrew Hoole on the right. This front four were asked to press very high up the pitch, closing down the Mariners back four and looking to prevent their opponents from playing out from the back.
As the wingers moved very narrow when defending, they were able to ‘box in’ the man in possession a number of times, and successfully prevented the Mariners from executing their usual build-up play. This was also a feature of a pre-season friendly between these two sides at Mudgee and demonstrates that a high press may become a distinctive feature of this new look Newcastle Jets.
With the ball, the Jets played with lots of width. The two wingers, Steele and Virgili, stayed very wide, stretching the pitch. Where Virgili looked to take defenders on in 1v1 situations – creating a goal for Montano that was disallowed – however, Steele demonstrated good link-up play with David Carney, whom he played alongside at the New York Red Bulls. Often, Steele dropped into very deep positions, allowing Carney to overlap past him. If Carney was caught out ahead of the ball, Steele covered for him in the left-back position.
While the new signing was actually quite disappointing when he was on the ball – at one point skying a cross about 100m into the sky – his partnership with Carney was very promising. Carney, of course, gets forward a lot when he plays at full-back and was able to get into a number of good positions throughout this match. In fact, when the Jets played the Young Socceroos in a friendly two weeks ago, Carney was sensational, constantly bombing forward, whipping in good crosses and providing an assist. Having an intelligent, positionally aware player ahead of him will help facilitate these forward runs, but also prevent the Jets from being exposed at the back at counter-attacks.
A third and final talking point from the game was the way the Jets played out from the back. Normally, this refers to a side playing short from the goalkeeper, pushing the centre-backs to the edge of the penalty area, getting the full-backs high and wide and looking to work the ball through to the central midfielders. However, Newcastle often ignored this last convention of playing out from the back, because rather than playing through Jacob Pepper and Taylor Regan in the holding midfield roles, they often worked the ball forward through Carney.
The former Socceroo was responsible for progressing attacking moves into the final third, by trying to chip longer balls into Edson Montano, who was playing upfront. Therefore, while Newcastle did look to play out from the back, it was with a structure different to what is normally expected, but was actually fairly successful. Teams might now look to stop them from building attacks by blocking off those passes into Carney.
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