Home High Performance Key Fundamentals of a Central Defender

Key Fundamentals of a Central Defender

Some weeks ago we discussed about some of the Fullbacks Individual Fundamentals, analyzing goals scored during the 4th MatchDay of the UEFA Champions League. Today we will focus on the Central Defenders, analyzing moves done during the 5th game of the Champions League group stage.

Each attemp on goal, almost certainly, is preceded by several Individual, Line or Collective fundamentals that have not been carried out effectively and efficiently. Therefore, leaving an advantage to the team with the ball.

In the different cases we will discuss next, several micro-situations are observed within the general situation to be resolved by different fundamentals. As we have said, we will focus solely and exclusively on those where the central defender is responsible and ended up conceeding a goal. We will then try to understand how we believe that all of those situations could have been resolved or, at least, decrease the chances of conceeding. 


Situation 1:

Player holding the ball with enough space and time to filter the ball behind the defensive line, and the opponent midfielder (Mertens) making a clearence in depth between the 2 center backs. (In this case between center back and fullback, since Van Dijk has been overcomed). 


How to solve it optimally?

Fundamental: Individual defense of the second centerback in the clearing of the space between central defenders (get in – get out)

The second centerback must read the run of the unmarked player between defenders, and anticipate his movement to prioritize the defense of the space behind his back, following the clearance and thus preventing the opponent from receiving with clear advantage. If he reacts to the movement as it happens in this action, he will always be one step behind the forward and it will be very difficult to defend the action. 


Situation 2:

Very similar situation to the previous one, where we find the opponent striker making a clearance between central defenders. In this case, the second centerback decides to get in and out to leave the opponent offside, but the forward ends up receiving behind his back with advantage over the entire line.

How to solve it optimally?

Fundamental: Individual defense of the second centerback in the clearing of the space between central defenders (get in – get out)

The centerback can only lstop running back when the opponent is already in an offside position, based on the defensive line, and the ball has not yet left the feet of the player holding the ball, or it has been difficult to filter that ball . If the player decides to leave when the pass has already been made, the forward will end up receiving with advantage as in this action.


Situation 3:

Situation of advantage for the rival team, where the first centerback is in a position to defend the player holding the ball. In the situation shown, Messi ends up filtering a ball to the space for the winger (Griezmann) in a diagonal break into the area, who ends up getting the goal.

How to solve it optimally?

Fundamental: Measure the player holding the ball, avoiding being targeted and minimizing the clearance space for the other attacking player

The centerback could do it better by avoiding being targeted by the ball holder, and therefore avoid being left out of play with a small move by making two steps backwards. In consecuence with this decision, the defender will be closing the angle to the player holding the ball, and therefore will be minimizing the possibility that the opponent will take advantage of the situation.

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