These ‘types’ are appropriate in a system where Nigeria sit deep and counter, but in the expansive system the Super Eagles played at the World Cup, they struggled. When Onazi pressed high, leaving Mikel behind, and the ball was lost; the opposition would break away and meet only the Chelsea man shielding the defence. He doesn’t have the physicality to cover the space needed to cover those behind him.
This was evident in the Argentina and France games. It’s much better in an expansive system that the holder is the one with the physical abilities and he has a more attacking and technical partner, this way the defence is more solid and able to cope with counter-attacking moves.
This was obvious when Reuben Gabriel came on for Onazi against France, he was behind Mikel, almost inverting the midfield roles, and made the Eagles look more balanced.
It’s possible that with more training the players could become more accustomed to the 4-2-3-1 system. But this raises a question, will a national team ever really have the time to test and try out new tactics?
Surely the best thing is to use the players you have at your disposal to create a balanced side that suits the players equally and fix the little quirks. In a bid to solve some little problems we may end up discovering bigger ones.
A three-man midfield is the approach that has worked the best for Keshi’s Nigeria. Mikel sits deep and acts as a holder/playmaker, while Onazi and the third man act as aggressors and runners.
Mikel covers for the other two players’ lack of technique and passing and they in turn cover for his lack of dynamism and sheer physicality. The beauty of it is that it can work in a high press and a deep shape as the midfielders are never really far from each other. An example is Antonio Conte’s Juventus that has Paul Pogba and ArturoVidal protecting Andrea Pirlo.
If the team can improve the pressing off the ball and movement/passing on it, making them a much harder team to defend against, then there may be no need to change shape to achieve success at the 2015 Cup of Nations in Morocco. (goal.com)[eap_ad_3]