Questions from Ricky

I’m on a podcast called The Extra Inch. Sometimes when I’m on it I forget to not talk in jargon. As a result I’m asked this:

What are inverted full backs?

About 20 years ago coaches decided they were going to attack more with their full-backs. But the formation, the 4-4-2, they were playing meant both the wingers and full-backs would be attacking in the same bit of space – the wing. So we came up with ‘inverted wingers’, more attacking full-backs and a lot of teams started to play a 4-3-3.

More recently, for various reasons this got switched around. We returned to ‘traditional’ or ‘natural’ wingers and instead inverted our full-backs, again making sure we only had one players operating out wide on each side.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 16.30.05

Do you have a youtube vid that points out vertical passing lanes?

No. But I think I can explain what that means. When we, us dickheads, talk about a pitch we talk about it like it’s a graph. It has a vertical axis and a horizontal one.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 16.33.09.png

So a vertical pass is just a forward one. A pass from a centre-back to a midfielder. A pass from a midfielder to a forward.

A ‘vertical passing lane’ – and I’d like to take a second to point out it wasn’t me who said this phrase – exists when a defending team leaves space for a forward pass to happen.

What in the living fuck is a middle block?

When teams are defending we – us dickheads again – like to sort them into three different categories.

There’s the high-press – like what Tottenham do. It’s when you chase the ball around all over the pitch.

There’s a low-block – this also gets called ‘parking the bus’. It’s when you defend with your whole team in just your third of the pitch.

And then there’s a mid/middle/medium block. Which is sort of half way between the two.

The team who defend in a medium block, drop their forwards back to the halfway line when they don’t have the ball, invite the opposition towards them and then try to win the ball with their own midfield.


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