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Defending as a Unit

In playing the playing many modern formations such as the 4-3-3 of  4-4-2, most coaches have abandoned the diamond defensive formation that emphasized preventing an opponent's attack often at the expense of other phases of the game.  The coaches have moved to a compact and organized flat back four.  This use of the fullbacks not only provides safety in the defensive half of the field by eliminating gaps and space for attackers to use, it promotes possession and facilitates 3v2 match-ups in the attacking half.   In very aggressive systems the wing backs are encouraged to support the attack sometimes all of the way into the opponent's 18.  The use of  Meghan Klingenberg by the UNWNT is a great case study in the use of outside backs on the attack in a 4-3-3. Watch  

The success of the counter attack however begins in taking care of business in your own end first.   The following short videos illustrate many of the key points and importance of playing defense a group in a flat 4.

Playing Compact - the Four D's

Delay  - Deny - Deflect  - Defend (tackle).   Former Nike Academy Head  Coach  Jimmy Gilligan explains:

Building to Compactness: Body Position

Playing Compact as a Unit

Key Points of Defending in the Danger Area

Communication is Leadership

In order for the unit to work to cohesive group communication is the key.  A quiet back four is an ineffective back four.


Joleon Lescott’s Masterclass

Case Study on Play of Central Backs

Case Study on Play of Outside Backs