This week Martin Lewis has a scouting report on the Champions – Manchester City. This will not only be interesting for Manchester City supporters but also Aston Villa supporters before the big Monday Night Football game. In fact supporters of any club that are yet to play Manchester City this season will find this in-depth tactical and statistical analysis interesting.
N.B. Please note that this is not an article – the purpose of this report is just that for it to seem like a Scouting Report please take it in such a way.
Manchester City Initial information:
- Well organised team on a decent run of results, looking to close the gap that Manchester United have created with their win vs Norwich on Saturday.
- Confidence will be high after a good win over Chelsea, where they dominated ball possession & the initiative of the game.
- They will look to build up from the back, dominate the middle of the pitch numerically and circulate ball, with good and intense changes in rhythm and tempo. High amount of individual quality, especially technical ability in creation areas.
Manchester City Injury news:
- Team set up in a fluid 4x2x3x1, with good team dynamics that allow freedom for offensive players to interchange, while still keeping numerical balance by using compensation mechanisms.
- Patient build up, with ball circulation [slow tempo] then a quick change in rhythm in creation areas & after vertical balls to Aguero in between lines.
- Nastasic is used to build up the play and bring the ball out of defence, important to make sure that he is limited in his progression and angles to pass vertically.
- Both full backs will be wide to create big and open pitch, with one high [Usually Clichy].
- Rodwell and Yaya Toure will break lines from midfield to either cause overloads between lines and around centre backs or to run into depth to stretch defence.
- Aguero coming deep to receive ball at feet [mobility to arrive and receive in front of centre backs]. Important to match players runs off the ball, but also keep defensive line orientation.
- Intensity and penetration in creation areas, with initiative of the ball between Aguero and Silva.
- Lots of tight and close interchanges in possession in the middle of the pitch, with excellent movement into depth & combinations.
- Aguero drops deep to try to get opposition defence to move up too high, where he will then turn quickly and exploit the depth.
- Silva is also hard to contain. He is always looking to find space in between lines or to try to draw a defender too deep in the box to force team to be too deep defensively and allow Manchester City to overload in the box and create chances with high 1v1 ability from attacking players.
- Late width if the opposition have become organised, compact and superior numerically to draw them out and create space in between lines for Silva to exploit.
- Important to keep compact, tight, not to drop deep and the line alignment. Also the midfielders will need to ensure that the line is tight to the defenders to not allow space between lines or allow them to create numerical overloads around the centre backs.
- Compact and collective, the team are set up in a medium-low block, with their objective in their pressing to block spaces in the middle of the pitch & to force the opposition to play long or down the side, where they would then shuffle across to outnumber them numerically to force them back or win the ball.
- Look to play with a high line initially, but will drop when opposition have the ball facing forward to a more compact, tight and well organised low block.
- Good balance numerically, with only weak side the opposite side of the pitch.
- Formation varied depending on the offensive balance and personnel. With Tevez on the pitch, they pressed in a 4x3x3. With Rodwell they used a 4x4x2. At the times when Clichy was too high to recover initially, it would be more 3x4x3 until he recovered or the ball was won.
- Overloading on the wings is important, as they are very compact and don’t allow space in between lines.
Offensive transitions [first 10 seconds after wining the ball]:
- Good penetration in transition, with Aguero & Yaya Toure running into depth. Silva on the ball with deadly vision & ability to see and exploit depth with though balls. If delayed, Rodwell supporting from deep or a switch in play [usually Clichy] to a wide player. Important that players match the runs of Rodwell & Yaya Toure when they are breaking lines from deep.
Defensive transitions [first 10 seconds after losing the ball]:
- Clichy and Rodwell very high, meaning other players compensate their positions. Garcia and Milner will shuffle across to cover Rodwell & Nastasic/Toure/Zabaleta will become a back 3. If the transition is quick, then can be exposed on their left hand side, where you can move players around. Their weak side will always be the switch of play, as the defenders will form the defensive cover line to cover the player putting pressure on the ball.
With Tevez & Aguero:
Defensive lateral free kicks:
Pattern and combination play
Movements of players in the box:
Silva between lines:
Importance of collectivity and compactness. Stay tight to block pass to Sliva either in between lines or with back to centre back, rather than moving out and opening up space.
Dynamics of left:
Silva moving inside (between lines) allows Clichy to overlap. System then changes to a 3x4x3 with Zabaleta becoming the 3rd centre back & Milner the right-wing back.
Rodwell direct and breaks runs from deep:
Milner will then move inside to become a central midfielder:
Progression and vertical passes from Nastasic:
Aguero with mobility to arrive and receive ball in front of defenders, then pass to supporting players: