18 August 2014

If I were Magath...

Right now, at this moment in time, I'm worried for Fulham this season. We're 21st in the Sky Bet Championship, we've got no points at all (one of only four clubs not to have a point), and I can't see where the points are coming from. I fancy myself as a manager in football, for I have managed teams in real life to success (those of you in Norwood at The John Lyon School will know what I mean, with your ears still probably bleeding).

Fulham have, very kindly, allowed me to watch our two matches over and over again in full. Picking on the weaknesses, looking at what could be done, and thinking "what should I play" has told me to come up with the following ridiculously simple diagram:

Don't worry, I'll break it down for you.

The team selection will remain on the broken-down pitch map at all times, but here it is anyway, I'm playing 4-2-3-1:

GK 41 J Joronen

RB 2 T Hoogland
RCB 6 N Bodurov
LCB 33 D Burn
LB 3 K Stafylidis

RCM 19 R Tunnicliffe
LCM 8 S Parker (c)

RAM 14 P Roberts
CAM 10 B Ruiz
LAM 11 A Kacaniklic

ST 44 R McCormack

Before you moan at me, saying this is a totally unrealistic team for Magath bingo, this is what I would do, not what Magath should do.

You may notice I've gone for Ryan Tunnicliffe in central midfield as I believe he is better than the alternatives of Emerson Hyndman, Chris David, and Thomas Eisfeld, but to all intents and purposes the team selection isn't important for this blog post.

So, before the overall pitch map messes with your mind too much, let's start breaking it down.


This is perfectly simple. When we're attacking, the players make their forward runs along the green arrows. When we're defending, they make backward runs along the red arrows. Simple enough. The coloured zones are where the players should end up after their forward/backward runs. The ones who have got the biggest forward runs are probably Kacaniklic and Roberts. The ones who have the biggest backward runs are McCormack, Parker, and Tunnicliffe. Now to provide a legend to the coloured zones.

Red is where the following should be when defending: Joronen, Hoogland, Bodurov, Tunnicliffe, Parker, Burn, Stafylidis. This way we saturate the defence and does give us an opportunity for counter-attacking football. With the full backs going further forward than the central defenders when attacking, then, as was the case last year, they could be caught out, which is why I've asked Parker and Tunnicliffe to drop back into the red zone.

Gold is where the following should be when attacking: Joronen. Simple goalkeeper coming out a little.

Black is where the following should be when defending: Roberts, Ruiz, McCormack, Kacaniklic. There is a bit of flexibility in this, however, in that McCormack could play in a slightly more advanced position than Ruiz (in the green zone, incidentally) when defending, giving a defensive formation of 6-3-1. 

Green is where the following should be when attacking: Hoogland, Bodurov, Burn, Stafylidis. Alternatively, Hoogland and Stafylidis could advance into the blue zone, but as a result, Bodurov and Burn would have to play a deeper defensive line, which would be in the black zone.

Blue is where the following should be when attacking: Parker, Tunnicliffe. And possibly Hoogland and Stafylidis.

Purple is where the following should be when attacking: Kacaniklic, Ruiz, McCormack, Roberts. We'll explain more in the next topic:


We've left one or two forward runs in without which the crosses or long balls can't be made.

The yellow zones are where the long balls or crosses should be aiming at.

Joronen should take a couple of steps out of his box before hoofing it up the pitch to Parker and Tunnicliffe.

Should Dan Burn or Kostas Stafylidis end up with the ball, they should hoof it up to Alexander Kacaniklic. Same goes for Nikolay Bodurov, Tim Hoogland, and Patrick Roberts respectively.

Kacaniklic and Roberts should cut in to the edge of the penalty area (to the purple zone in the previous diagram), cross the ball in to McCormack and Ruiz (on a forward run), who can then tap it in, thank you very much, 1-0 to Fulham.


Green is passes we should make when attacking. Red is passes we should make when we're defending.

Joronen: defensive passes with Hoogland, Bodurov, Burn, Stafylidis.
Hoogland: defensive passes with Joronen, Roberts. Attacking passes with Bodurov, Tunnicliffe.
Bodurov: defensive passes with Joronen, Burn. Attacking passes with Hoogland.
Burn: defensive passes with Joronen, Bodurov. Attacking passes with Stafylidis.
Stafylidis: defensive passes with Joronen, Kacaniklic. Attacking passes with Burn, Parker.
Tunnicliffe: defensive passes with Ruiz. Attacking passes with Hoogland, Parker, Roberts, Ruiz.
Parker: defensive passes with Ruiz. Attacking passes with Stafylidis, Tunnicliffe, Ruiz, Kacaniklic.
Roberts: defensive passes with Hoogland. Attacking passes with Tunnicliffe, Ruiz.
Ruiz: defensive passes with Tunnicliffe, Parker. Attacking passes with Tunnicliffe, Ruiz, Kacaniklic, Roberts.
Kacaniklic: defensive passes with Stafylidis. Attacking passes with Parker, Ruiz.
McCormack: defensive passes with Ruiz.

Joronen should only be making long balls, not attacking passes. In an ideal world, McCormack, as a lone striker, won't need to make attacking passes, but he could do with Ruiz. He should be getting most of his balls from crosses from Kacaniklic and Roberts.

That covers everything. That wasn't confusing at all, was it?

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