Coaches must know how their opponents play, so they must observe them, see how they play, what their characteristics are, their strengths and weaknesses in order to inform their players and give them as much information as possible about how the opposing team performs.
If you give your players the maximum and effective information about the opponent we will reduce the uncertainty that will exist in the match, giving them security. The objective is to make things easier for the player and for this it is convenient to have all the reports the week before the match, to be able to plan the training sessions prior to the match and to be able to train what is deemed appropriate. A good analysis allows you to work during the training week and to neutralise and combat the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
The match report can be done by the coach or his assistants, or it can be done by a technical analyst. There are two types of visualisation of a match:
– Audiovisual. This can be done by recording the match on video, watching it later and making the relevant ‘cuts’ according to what you want to see.
– Written, manually, by drawing up a sheet with a template according to the coach’s criteria, on all the fundamental aspects that the opponent has.
It is also important to gather individual information about the opposing players, their characteristics and movements, with their strengths and weaknesses.
Aspects to take into account when carrying out a football analysis of the opponent
Moments when the opponent has the game:
- Offensive phase, attack.
- Defensive phase, defence.
- Transitions Attack – Defence
- Transitions Defence – Attack
What is the team’s game model?
- In attack, with the ball.
– Attacking and combined play, elaborate.
– Attacking and combined play, elaborate, few touches.
– Mixed attack.
– Direct play.
- In defence, without the ball:
– How they apply pressure:
– Pressure after loss
– High pressure
– Medium pressure
- How they retreat:
Its system of play
- Number of lines and players per line.
- Positioning and distance between them.
- Weak and strong lines of the opponent.
- Use of the 5 corridors, central or lateral.
- Zones of superiority.
- Variations and automatisms.
- Variants of the system of play and the model of play.
- Offensive and defensive automatisms.
Characteristics in the offensive phase, when they have the ball:
- Type of attack
- Counter attack
- Type of unmarking
- 1×1 Dribbling
- Free spaces
- Control of play
- Speed in play
- Changes of direction
- Progression in play
- Pace of play
- Offensive assistance
- Rotations (splitting and permutations)
- Numerical superiority
Characteristics in the Defensive phase, when they do not have the ball.
Reduction of spaces: lines together or separated
- Defensive help
- Type of marking (man, zonal, mixed, combined…)
- Type of pressure
- 1×1 defensive, entry
In summary, we have to take into account: the tactical system, the initial positioning, how they start the game, how they act in the creation zone, how they act in the finishing zone, how they make transitions (attack-defence, defence-attack). Be clear about whether they press high, medium or intensive retreat, set pieces (defensive and offensive) and the characteristics of the opposing team’s players.