Counter-Attacking: Learn From The Best

I’ve been fortunate enough to watch two excellent Arsenal vs Bolton games in the last week. Already Bolton under Owen Coyle look like a team who want to be more careful with the ball and play football on the ground. But in honour of Arsenal returning to the top of the Premier League I’m posting one of my favourite videos, featuring some of the best of Arsenal’s majestic counter-attacking goals.

The key elements to look for are:

  • Aggressive dribbling, attacking the space behind the defence and taking on defenders early.
  • Energetic support players, busting a gut to get 2,3 or 4 players into the opponent’s penalty area.
  • Quick 1-touch and 2-touch passing combinations.
  • Playing forward passes as early as possible, moving the ball away from recovering players and isolating defensive cover.
  • Intelligent movement, to open space on the wings and using blindside runs to pull defender’s away from the goal.
  • Calm finishing and accurate placement of final passes and shots.

Here’s the clip:

You can develop all of these skills by setting up small-sided games in your coaching sessions. Start with 1v1 games to encourage aggressive dribbling and gradually build up the number of players involved. In many of these counter-attacks there are less than 4 players required to move the ball from the Arsenal goalkeeper to their opponent’s net. You might also forward this video to your players for inspiration.

Here’s to some great counter-attacking goals this weekend!

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