Mechanising the Play – Stretching the Midfield

This is a superb post by our friend Lee Scott over at FMAnalysis. Enjoy, and thank you Lee for letting us share this with you guys.

Football Manager Analysis

Those of you that have read The Blizzard may have seen the piece in Issue Zero written by Michael Cox (Zonal Marking) on the similarity between New Labour and Dennis Bergkamp. In the article he describes the way that Wenger stretched the opposition creating space for Bergkamp by playing a deep midfield and forwards with pace and the freedom to run in behind the defence.

Bergkamp was fielded alongside a pacey central striker – first Ian Wright, briefly Nicholas Anelka, then Thierry Henry – which forced the opposition back four to defend deep. On the other hand the use of two holders (Patrick Viera and one other, most famously Emmanuel Petit) drew the opposition central midfielders up the pitch into battle. The gap between the lines was maximised, increasing the space Bergkamp had to work in.

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