Tactical Thinker: How to stop the long-ball specialist…

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In all the discussion about tiki taka, possession-based, beautiful football, long passes often get a bad reputation. However, long passes can be extremely effective, and the best teams in the world know how to intermix both short and long passes into their build-up, in order to effectively break down the opposition. The likes of Ederson at Man City, Joshua Kimmich at Bayern Munich and Mats Hummels at Borussia Dortmund frequently utilize long passes to unlock the opposition’s defense, giving their team a different edge from all the possession-based football. While these players may not be your traditional ‘number 10’ playmakers, they play a vital role in creating chances for their team and kickstarting attacks. So with that, today we ask the next question in our Tactical Thinker series. How do you stop the long-ball specialist?

Do you pressure a long-pass maestro and force them into errors? Do you sit back and wait for the long-pass? How do you balance the line in between the two? Share your answers via the form below, and be on the lookout for the follow-up article, where we’ll share the very best answers and give our take.


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Here are some of our favourite long-ball specialists to study before giving your answer…

-> Ederson Moraes – Manchester City
-> Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich
-> Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund
-> Paul Pogba – Manchester United
-> Pablo Aguilar – Cruz Azul
-> Presnel Kimpembe – PSG
-> Rodri – Manchester City
-> Marcelo Brozovic – Inter Milan
-> Virgil Van Dijk – Liverpool
-> Jorginho – Chelsea


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