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Discord Server: Download James Arthur - Empty Space ♫ Follow us:https://fb.me/TheGoodFMht. Overplaying the press through open space. A pressing always opens up space in other areas of the pitch. Space-oriented defences will shift towards the ball to remain a compact shape. This opens up space in behind. If the opposition tactics include a man-oriented pressing, however, will offer an increased area of empty space between the players. The latest tweets from @Emptyspaces7. Translate Empty space. See Spanish-English translations with audio pronunciations, examples, and word-by-word explanations.

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There’s nationwide excitement when the international break eventually finishes and the Premier League campaign resumes. The headline of the returning matches came from the Etihad, where Manchester City – who were desperate to maintain pressure on the league leaders Liverpool – faced a dangerous Chelsea side, who under Frank Lampard have found their scoring touch. The game under the lights didn’t disappoint as the Champions came from behind to take a vital three points.

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In this tactical analysis, we look at how Chelsea’s tactics nearly scuppered Man City using their dynamic midfield. We also provide an analysis of how Man City tactically overcame their opponents to snatch the three points.


The hosts started in their favoured 4-3-3 system, using Rodri Hernández as the deeper-lying playmaker and single pivot in midfield. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne made up the midfield three, occupying positions further forward in the half-spaces. This narrower more advanced positioning in these channels made them useful links for attacks to be developed.

Pep Guardiola continued with Fernandinho as a centre-back, being partnered by John Stones. The pair looked to hold a high line to squeeze the Chelsea shape and recover possession more aggressively. Whilst this allowed Man City to see more of the ball for periods, it left them vulnerable in defensive transition which we look at later.

The attacking three consisted of Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez on the wings. In sustained possession, the pair maintained their wide positioning to open gaps in the half-spaces for the advancing midfielders. As attacks developed, however, their roles differed slightly. Sterling made sharp bursts inside in an attempt to penetrate behind the Chelsea backline. Mahrez, on the other hand, received the ball to feet and used his dribbling ability to attack outside-to-in at Emerson. This asymmetrical approach made City unpredictable in their build-up play which led to them achieving an xG of 1.25.

The visitors matched their opponents in a dynamic 4-3-3 system. The usual suspects of N’golo Kanté, Jorginho and Mateo Kovačić made up the midfield three. Under Frank Lampard, the labels attached to these players have been relinquished as they now operate on a fluid rotational axis. This system allows the single-pivot to alternate, making it easier to build-up play through the phases. This, however, led to problems as a lack of clear designation occasionally left Chelsea disorganised and easy to play through.

Chelsea started with Willian and Christian Pulisic as the wide midfielders. The pair looked to stay narrow, reducing the horizontal space between themselves and Tammy Abraham. The reason for this was that in offensive transition the trio could use their pace and close positioning to attempt fast interchanges to break in behind the high Man City line.

The story

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In possession, the hosts sought to implement their Guardiola-style by using short passes to methodically build through each phase of the pitch. Rodri dropped deeper to collect possession from his centre-backs and looked to develop the attacks by using the open passing channels into the full-backs. Or when the opportunity presented itself, a more penetrative pass into Silva or De Bruyne, who as we can see below operated much further forward than their midfield partner. This was stifled early on by the visitors who looked to get in the faces of the home side.

Off the ball, Man City looked unsure of how to deal with Chelsea who were attempting to match their aggression. At first, they operated a higher man-to-man press, supported by the high defensive line in, which allowed them to go in search of aggressive recoveries.

This, however, became unsustainable due to the threat Chelsea were showing in behind their defensive line, and as a result, the Champions were forced to adjust to a more containing system and wait for triggers to move into a man-to-man press. This is demonstrated by the PPDA chart below, where we can see how Man City significantly drop their aggression in periods of the game.

As for the visitors, they started the game frantically, looking to take the game to Man City. They did this by implementing an organised system out of possession which saw them turn over the ball frequently, which they then used as a platform to catch Man City in defensive transition – where they are vulnerable. This is explained below.

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The first stage of Chelsea’s tactics when out of possession started with an organised structure being implemented in the form of a mid-block. The midfield three would push high, moving tight onto Silva and De Bruyne. This was supported by the attacking three who situated themselves narrow and close to the second line of press. As we can see above, this prevented Man City from playing directly through the heart of the pitch, and if they did opt to do so, any recoveries could be quickly turned into a counter-attack.

As a result, the home side funnelled possession into their full-backs. It was at this point where the system deviated from being a containing structure and transformed into an aggressive high press.

Once the horizontal pass was played by the centre-back to the full-back, Chelsea triggered their man-to-man press. Kovačić continued to be aggressive and pushed up onto Rodri in order to force Man City backwards. This bold strategy saw immediate success as the away side took the lead with a tidy Kanté finish. But as Man City have shown against other sides who have ventured into the Etihad with an aggressive mindset, eventually, they will find gaps to exploit.

High and dry

Though they did eventually turn the game to their advantage, Man City are showing a weakness which will give teams hope. The higher line being held by Stones and Fernandinho is vulnerable to exploitation, which Chelsea nearly executed perfectly. This is analysed below.

In the image above, Chelsea have possession in a 3v3 on the right-wing. Silva has moved across to support Sterling and Benjamin Mendy who are marking their respective wide players.

Silva’s movement across leaves a large empty space in midfield (highlighted) which De Bruyne is slow to recognise. His positioning should be deeper to help create a more solid defensive structure.

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Instead, Willian breaks free from the 3v3 and bursts into the empty space. We can see that Rodri has dropped into the defensive line, to mark Abraham. I personally think there is any need for him to take on this job. If Rodri instead stepped out into the empty space and Stones moved across closer to Abraham, then this goal wouldn’t have happened. Below we can see an alternative way Man City could have dealt with this situation.

However, as Guardiola likes to operate an inverted full-back, João Cancelo (highlighted) has taken up and advanced position out of the backline and inverted himself. This positioning means Stones can’t move closer to his defensive partner, Fernandinho, as he can sense players over his shoulder. By moving Rodri out of the defensive line would have created a 4v3 in the initial phase of the attack and snuffed out the trouble as soon as Willian broke away.

Instead, no one is there to do so and Cancelo is taken out the game trying to cover the large vacancy infield. Willian, however, is too fast and leaves three Man City players behind, giving himself several options to penetrate the home side. Unfortunately for Chelsea, they were unable to punish this system implemented by Man City who gave the visitors plenty of opportunities to do so.


Another defeat against a ‘top six’ side will hurt Lampard, who despite heaping praise on his players will know this business ultimately deals in the currency of results. His Chelsea side are looking strong going forward, Lampard just needs to find that added steel to help grind out results against the best sides.

Man City will be relieved they managed to turn this game around. A second successive defeat would surely have spelt the end of their title hunt, even before the Christmas break. Their goal-scoring ability still remains, with team fluidity and individual brilliance carving out chances for the Manchester club. Guardiola will know, however, his back four are still a liability and without a few tactical tweaks, its only a matter of time before more points are dropped.

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By Andrew Gillian l @andrewgillan

Barcelona came through their toughest test of the season so far in Saturday’s lunchtime kick off against Real Sociedad – although it might not look that way if you just look at the score-line. 5-1 might seem like a comprehensive victory, but until a late avalanche of goals, the Basque side were well in the game and had created numerous chances to level the scores at 2-2.

Their first equaliser, Nahikari García cancelling out Leila Ouahibi’s opener, was a landmark in itself, being the first goal that had been scored against Barcelona this season and putting an end to a club record run of 962 minutes without conceding.

Although an unfortunate own goal from Nuría put the champions ahead again before the break, they looked rusty, having only played once in the previous four match days, and far from their best as Real Sociedad took the game to them early in the second half.

But as, despite their best efforts, they failed to pull level again they ran out of steam and Barça, as they do often do, found another gear and put the game to bed with an avalanche of goals – three in ten minutes this time. Their strength off the bench proved crucial as Jenni Hermoso came on to set up two goals for Alexia Putellas and Marta Torrejón before Mariona adder the fifth.

Despite the defeat, Real Sociedad proved that they can compete with the best the league has to offer and that they are a worthy contender for a top three place while Barcelona’s unbeaten run rolls on.

The Real Deal?

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It is still early days for their project, but it looks like Real Madrid need to be taken seriously as a contender for a Champions League spot.

After their chastening 4-0 defeat to Barcelona got their season off to the worst possible start, Madrid have taken 16 points from the 21 available to them and Kosovare Asllani shares the lead for the Pichichi award. At the weekend they went to Betis and produced an excellent performance in a 3-0 win, wrapping up the points before the interval, to cement their fourth position in the table.

Perhaps just as much of an indication of how far they have come in a short space of time is that in the latest Spain squad, only Barcelona have more players featuring. While many people expected Real Madrid to splash the cash and bring in headline-grabbing world stars, they instead focused on building a Spanish core – and it looks to be paying dividends. While most football stars may not need to avail of this service, the best site to buy instagram followers may be of interest elsewhere.

Late drama denies Tenerife

At half time everything seemed to be going to plan for Primera Iberdrola’s surprise leaders UDG Tenerife. After surviving some early pressure from Athletic, goals in the 41st and 43rd minutes from Natalia Ramos and Allegra Poljak gave them a commanding lead and looked set to ensure they stayed top of the table going into the international break.

But Athletic, and top scorer Lucía García in particular, had other ideas. She reduced the deficit on 77 minutes, blasting home from a tight angle after Aline Reis had failed to claim a deep cross and then she earned her team a share of the spoils, bundling home from close range in the 89th minute. For Athletic it ended a run of three consecutive defeats, while Tenerife’s unbeaten run goes on.

Ludmila stars as problems pile up for Depor

After their anaemic performance against Barcelona following on from a 0-0 draw against Sporting Huelva, Atlético Madrid looked on the verge of a crisis, but last week’s big win over Betis seems to have restored the capital club’s confidence and Deportivo Abanca were the latest side to feel the full force of what they can do.

It’s not a game that the Galicians’ goalkeeper Noe Bermúdez will be looking to rewatch any time soon, as she made mistakes which contributed to three of Ludmila’s four goals.

The first came as she rushed off her line but was tripped up in a collision with her own defender, allowing Ludmila a clear run and and an empty net to shoot into. The second came from a fine header from Deyna Castellanos’ cross and then Ludmila returned the favour, her low cross giving her Venezuelan strike partner a tap-in.

The Brazilian forward got her hat-trick thanks to another error by the Depor ‘keeper, this time she failed to clear a bobbling back pass and anticipating the error, Ludmila followed through and knocked the ball in. Her fourth and Atleti’s fifth came when Bermúdez again came out of her goal to try and intercept but could only look on as her tormentor in chief sidestepped her and lobbed the ball into the unguarded net.

Depor got one back as a poor clearance from Pauline Peyraud-Magnin went straight to Athenea and she made no mistake with an empty net to aim for, but further goals from Emelyne Laurent (2) and Toni Duggan put the seal on the biggest win of the Primera Iberdrola season so far.

While Atlético could travel back to the capital buoyant after such a huge win – and one which put them back on top of the table on goal difference – there’s bound to be some serious soul-searching in A Coruña over the international break. In the first few weeks of the season they were playing reasonably well but not getting the breaks, whereas the last two games have seen them perform poorly and lose heavily as a result. The only blessing in disguise is that the teams immediately above them are not picking up many points either, but Depor are already seven points from safety and need to start clawing back some of that gap soon.

Week 9 Results

Barcelona 5-1 Real Sociedad, Real Betis 0-3 Real Madrid, Sevilla 0-0 Valencia, Athletic Club 2-2 UDG Tenerife, Sporting Huelva 2-2 Eibar, Rayo Vallecano 1-4 Madrid CFF, EDF Logroño 1-1 Espanyol, Santa Teresa 0-2 Levante, Deportivo 1-8 Atlético Madrid

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Image via Marca