This game between Brentford and Norwich City was played in round eight of the EFL Championship. Norwich won last three games, their opponents won two from three last matches. Brentford manager Thomas Frank and Norwich City manager Daniel Farke chose tactical structures with two central defenders. We could see a tactical schemes 4-4-2 and 4-2-4 in defensive phases of the game. To increase power of attacking plan, managers used 3-2-5 or 4-2-4 schemes. Also, there was a lot of situations, when teams tried to use the width of the field. So, let’s look at our tactical analysis.
It’s necessary to notice, which tactical lines suggested creative and high-class players. To start, let’s pay attention to Bryan Mbeumo, the most expensive footballer of his team. He is a fast winger with strong left foot. After Said Benrahma moved to West Ham, it seems, that he’ll be new star of Brentford.
The guests brought more interesting players in the squad. We shouldn’t forget about Teemu Pukki, of course. Besides him, took part in the match such good players as Max Aarons (22 million EUR on Transfermarkt, 20 years of age), Todd Cantwell (20 million EUR, 22 years) and Emiliano Buendia (Spanish winger, who came from Getafe). In order to increase yours Championship knowledge, it’s recommended to look at these guys. To stop Brentford’s shots was called famous former Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul.
The next step of our analysis is to look at defensive and offensive tactics of both teams, and how they tried to progress the ball forward.
Norwich City offensive phase
As it was said earlier, Daniel Farke tried to win tactical battle by using the width of the field. It will be clearly seen at the game footage.
The main basic scheme of Norwich build up was something like 4-2-4. But this structure changed sometimes to 2-4-4 and 3-2-5. Brentford’s players tried to close central activities of the opponent, so, they used 4-2-4 and 4-4-2 systems. It’s necessary to notice, that hosts didn’t afraid to make fullback’s positions very high. The aim is clearly understandable – progressing the ball forward due to create 6vs4 overload by using flanks. Brentford tried not to risk and stayed in the center, did a pressing movements sometimes.
Also, Norwich tried to use the activity of left-footed central midfielder Mario Vrancic. He descended to the four-man defensive line and created something to progress the ball forward. He looked for a chance to do it by passing the ball to the flank or founded an opportunity in the center. But the last one was too difficult.
When the game structure was unbalanced, Norwich didn’t refuse from using the width of the filed. It couldn’t be amazing, because it was game plan and it’s typical attacking movement when team doing defense to attack transition. There is a lot of space on the flanks, that’s why it’s so easy to run through this area.
To sum up, Brentford did everything to defense by using 4-2-4 or 4-4-2 schemes. The aim of their defensive plan was to cause U-shaped ball moving from one flank to other. When Norwich attacking players were on the Brentford’s part of the field, four-man defensive line didn’t expand and tried to keep next to each other.
Brentford build up
To do a successful build up, Brentford tried to use two main structures. The first was to make a 4-2-4 formation, including using the width of the field. Like the hosts, exactly. It’s not surprisingly, because it’s too hard to attack through the center. Usually teams try to keep defensive structure in order to block as much space as they can. Additionally, there is a need to do defensive movements to realize pressing traps and return possession. So, the basic defensive structure of the guests was 4-2-4. Two players closed center and did a pressure on two central defenders. Other two flank players were waiting the moment to press Brentford’s fullbacks.
Sometimes, when ball was kicked to the flank, Norwich defensive structure turned to 4-1-4-1. It was necessary to create 3vs3 situation, due to instigate the hosts to do a long ball.
To break defensive plan of the opponent, Brentford tried to use 3-4-3 and 3-2-5 formations. Using of 3-4-3 scheme was like that: one of fullbacks shifted high, other stayed near two central defenders. It caused 3vs3 situation on the other side. Fast and clever movements were the key weapon to do something dangerous.
Formation 3-2-5 was a continuation of transformation 4-2-4 scheme to more offensive phase. One of central players shifted down to create three-man triangle. Two fullbacks pushed higher to add to three-man forward’s line. Two other central players were responsible for searching a chance to progress the ball forward through the center or did attacking movements by passing the ball to the flank.
It’s necessary to repeat the main tactical things, that were analyzed earlier. Brentford, being the hosts of the game, chose basic 4-4-2 formation. When they were in offensive structure, the scheme was 4-2-4, if Norwich allowed them to use the wide spaces. Then it was hard to do it, they transformed offensive formation to 3-2-5 or 3-4-3, in order to create overloads to use the width. When Brentford were defending, they were using flexible 4-4-2, which sometimes turned to 4-2-4 due to not allow the guests to do a successful build up.
The same way to attack chose Daniel Farke. His team tried to use the width, but they did it more in a more dangerous way. It was expressed by using 2-4-4 formation with high location of fullbacks.
Despite the fact, that teams tried to close the center as much as they could, both goals were scored through this area.
Norwich tried to keep possession more than the opponent. Stats can show us, that Norwich had more touches and more successful passes. This fact shouldn’t be surprising, because guests tried to do a lot of positional attacks in order to make a good shot position for Teemu Pukki and other players of attack. Also, they tried to use a strong quality of every player; some of them are very expensive and promising, in spite of age.
It’s very interesting to analyze this game in order to get a thoughts how to break an opponent’s pressing traps by using the width of the field. Also, there we can look a lot of situations when teams turned their flexible formations to other. It can be useful for the readers to understand how game structure can be changed and what formations are largely used in tactical battles of coaches.
The competition they are playing in will give us many other different and interesting games, so, we’ll wait for it.