May 23th, 2011

The Profile of Andre Villas Boas

May 23th, 2011The Profile of Andre Villas Boasby Fabio Barcellona, uccellinodidelpieroAssumption. The Profile of Andre Villas Boas cames out after watching a limited number of games. The games viewed are:• Academica Coimbra-Porto 0 -1 – 9-th day of the Portuguese league• Spartak Moscow – Porto 2-5 – Return of …


ANDRE-VILLAS-BOASThe TACTICAL Profile of Andre Villas Boas

by Fabio Barcellona, uccellinodidelpiero

Assumption. The Profile of Andre Villas Boas cames out after watching a limited number of games. The games viewed are:
• Academica Coimbra-Porto 0 -1 – 9-th day of the Portuguese league
• Spartak Moscow – Porto 2-5 – Return of the Champions League quarter-finals (first leg 5-1)
• Porto – Villarreal 5-1 – first leg semifinals of Europa League
• Benfica-Porto 1-3 – Second Leg of the Portuguese Cup semi-finals (first Leg Porto loose at home 2-0)
• Porto-CSKA Moscow 2-1 – Second Leg of the last 16 in Europa League (first round 1-0 away 0-1)
The analysis is based on this games and can serve the partial resulting from the vision of a limited sample of games.
Leaving aside the biographical notes, rather well known and readily available online, the numbers of Andre Villas Boas this season are remarkable.
At the time of writing this article, Porto of Villas Boas has already won the Portuguese league by winning 26 of 29 matches and drawing the remaining 3. Scoring 71 goals and getting only 16. Impressive numbers. Also considering that the team is virtually unchanged compared to last season, which ended in third place behind Benfica and Sporting Braga. In the Starting 11 the only new arrivals of the season are the central defender Otamendi which replaced Bruno Alves, which was sold for 22 million to Zenit St Petersburg and Joao Moutinho who replaced Raul Meireles, sold for 14 million at Liverpool. The right-back Cristian Sapunaru instead has returned from a loan at his home from Rapid Bucharest. All in all, this Summer Mercato would have weaken the team with the selling of central defender Bruno Alves.
Even in the Cup games the way of Porto has been, until now, gives us a triumphal march. The comeback in Portugal’s Cup semifinal on the field of rivals Benfica, after the 0-2 defeat at home and now the Europe League final. In Europe, 16 points out of 18 in the Group Stage, then has eliminated in the knockout games Sevilla, CSKA Moscow, Spartak Moscow and Villareal with the peaks of the victory outside at Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, the total trimmed of 10 goals at Spartak Moscow and five goals at home scored to Villareal.
In 4 of 5 matches viewed of Villas Boas’s Porto has sided with the 4-3-3. In goal, Helton or Beto. Right-back Sapunaru or Fucile , left-back Alvaro Pereira or Fucile. Central Defenders Rolando and Otamendi .The midfielder in front of the defense Fernando, right midfielder Guarin or Ruben Michael, left midfielder Joao Moutinho. Right striker Hulk, Central striker Falcao, Left striker Cristian Rodriguez or James Rodriguez.
The 4-3-3 played by Porto is very dynamic and aggressive. A special feature of Villas Boas team is to try to win back the ball as soon as possible after it is lost, not backwards, but immediately attacking opponents, as is clearly shown in two videos below.
In the games viewed of Porto, when just lost the ball, has never escaped back trying to do back-density area, but has always tried to win back the ball as quickly as possible trying to put pressure on the most advanced possible ball carriers players.
Even when the action of opposing team started from the back, Porto seeks to put pressure on opponents with a lot of conviction, as is clear from the video below where the two midfielders Ruben Micael and Joao Moutinho raise decided on the opponent midfielders. 
It is interesting to note a particular, constant pressure and quite effective mode in the midfield of Porto, with the midfielder from the weak side coming out on the opponent defensive midfielder who receives the pass out of his defenders, coming from the opponent blind side of the player. The following video shows two occasions when the right midfielder (Ruben Micael once, then Joao Moutinho) pressing by reaching from the weak side.
The pressing, a lot more offensive, of Porto is in any case very organized and aimed at regaining the ball in the area as high as possible. In support of this philosophy, the defensive team Villas Boas is always very high, thus keeping the team short, ready to support the pressing of the midfield and capable of denying the depth of the opposing ends. In the video below we see how the defensive line remains high, eventually putting the opponent attacker in offside.
The defensive line is also very active compared to stimuli ball covered / non-playable discovery / playable and is particularly keen to gain field forward to subtract it, therefore, from the opposing team.
In describing the defensive phase of Porto of Villas Boas we can’t fail to mention the role of the defensive midfielder Fernando. The young Portuguese midfielder is quick to assist the other midfielders in their offensive pressing, but it is also deputy to cover the holes that are created in the defensive line when the fullbacks are cut out of their defensive lines as a result of their advanced, integrate into the defensive line between the two central defenders when one is forced to go outside or for a cross from the side band.
In no time the defensive line is integrated, on the weak side, by one of the Wing Strikers. The philosophy of Porto which consists in high pressure on the opposing ball carriers, clearly retain high the Wing Strikers and, however, rarely the Villas Boas team when implementing offensive pressing and taking the defensive line high is constraint to defend in area in their defensive field.
Of all related and consistent with the defensive philosophy just described are the offensive phase and positive transition.
The offensive phase from Porto is quite varied and rich in solutions. The Portuguese champions are able to develop dribbling maneuvers, keeping the ball possession, and vertical and direct actions. The choice between the two solutions is the result of the excellent field and staggered in the same great movement without the ball that offers various solutions to the ball carrier. The main lines of the offensive phase of Porto include the presence of two Winger Attackers at the beginning of the action always playing very wide. At the Right always plays the left-footed Hulk who is able to play with his strong foot in the field and draw the inner lines. On the left, in the games viewed mainly played Cristian Rodriguez, who is also left footed and led to more vertical tracks. Is always very precise and coordinated movements between inside midfielder and wing attacker, according to the opposite lines the internal-external, short-deep. To understand, if Hulk cuts inside the field, the right midfielder (very often Guarin) sticks out. If Hulk shortens to the midfield, Guarin is attacking the depth. In this picture important is the role of midfielder, who must be dynamic, able to play inside, outside, deep and have good technical ability and timing for driving the ball as perfectly integrated also in the early stages of the maneuver.
Because the side chains must be fullfiled with the contribution of the fullbacks, who, when in ball possession the constant projection is for offensive play and whose movement is integrated with the other two components of the chain. As evidence of the contribution of full-backs to the offensive play, the video below shows a fairly typical situation, with the two full backs, both were high, Sapunaru and Alvaro Pereira.
Often the movement of full-backs at the beginning of action, is to attack the depth, is a prerequisite to receiving the ball low and slightly outside of the inside midfielder of the side which takes the burden to initiate action.
The Central striker, Falcao, plays alternating movements and attack according to the depth of tactical situations. Very interesting movements that involve the defensive midfielder Fernando which is offering himself as a first option for the discharge the back line. In the case of pressure on Fernando or impossible to reach him because is overshadowed, Porto has a lot of variety of movements that can unmark a midfielder in order to allow him to play in front of the goal. Very interesting, because quite unusual in a three composed Midfield is the classic “compass movement”, typical of the couple of internal midfielders in a 4 Midfield composure, in which, when the ball outside, usually at the full back, the inside midfielder closest to the ball, pressed, stretching, taking away the man, freeing up space for the indoor reception on the weak side that meets the ball. Porto implements this movement with three players, extending the inside (central) midfielder very much in the side, initially moving Fernando towards the ball and then attack the depth and centrally going to play behind with the player behind the striker and freeing up space for the midfielder on the opposite side who, received the ball has as its first option to search for the inner line of the midfielder, with a sudden acceleration of the pace of the action.
 The choice of shunting dribbled, direct and vertical attack and the time of the attack was the daughter of the depth readings of the tactical situation in the field, reading all different and equally viable to regard, as mentioned, the synchronism of movement without the ball, accurate, continuous and in large numbers and excellent staggering in the Field. Clearly, advancing steadily the Fullbacks while also providing deep lines and/or external to the midfielders and, therefore, inevitably attacking with so many people, choosing groped the immediate recapture of the ball is the most logical.
Porto has chosen to speed up and always look with speed and conviction the depth in the early stages of offense transition, really effective and carried out with many men.
The images of the next video give an idea of the capacity of Porto to share with accuracy and speed after the regaining of the ball. The video also gives an idea of the work of the chain composed by – fullback, midfielder, winger attacker.
The rapid and immediate search of the depth in the offensive transitions is not function of the position of regain of the ball, is also part of defensive movement position, as in the video below, where the transition originates from Porto own penalty area. The video shows how the transition involving the two full backs, more than ready to support and develop quickly 6 men behind opposite area.
Clearly, the choice of playing this type of offensive transitions, makes it necessary to have the greatest number of High side references and up on the line of the ball from which to start the counterattack. And here, is perfectly consistent, showing that all stages of play are related, the choice of pressing High that allows the Strikers (and not only) to play their defensive work in a forward position without forcing them to deep introspection.
To conclude the argument Offensive Transitions, here is the video of one of four goals from Radamel Falcao to Villareal.
In some situations, with the game in progress, Villas Boas switched to 4-2-4, not changing one iota in any case the principles of the game and revealing in these cases as evidence that coordinated movements of a form also studied and put into practice. Besides, the move to 4-2-4 in the matches viewed has happened both in situations as need of scoring in that where it was most needed to defend, to indicate choices not easily categorized as defensive/offensive, but reading of the situation. A testimony of the movement of the ball and the involvement of all offensive players, one goal (goal of 0-2 against Benfica) scored with the team lined up with 4-2-4 in attack and with the involvement of central Otamendi and the usual left-back Alvaro Pereira author of the cross.
In viewed games, Porto went really in trouble only in the first half of the match against Villarreal, in which the “small Barcelona” in yellow jersey, with its thick and 4 very technical midfield players, all rather internal has managed to continuously evade the pressing of Porto and then attack with goal situations in the discovered defense of Villas Boas team. Inaccuracy (in the case of Porto rather rare) in the time of pressing, and very good teams to circumvent it (like the first time Villarreal) can create difficulties for the game as “unscrupulous” team of the young technician.
The numbers like said before are impressive and are on Villas Boas favor. With a weaker team on paper, then last season, Porto has done wonders. And the numbers generally do not lie. Beyond the numbers, you see a football team that plays a proactive, highly organized, but not “rigid”, which allows the organization instead of reading more appropriate depending on the specific tactical situation.
A very offensive football, because of rapid recovery of the ball, high defense, fast offensive transitions and in phases of ball possession played continuously with very precise movement without the ball. Remarkable is the ability of Porto of choosing the type of attack to be developed, the timing of the game, those in which speed up and where to move the ball dribbling. The same mastery of the rhythm of the match, the Villas Boas team owns when the ball is in possession of the opposite team, always choosing very precisely the time when accelerate and make the decision with the pressure and, ultimately, in choosing the right rhythm given to match that in any event, even at times of difficulty, it is always in the hands of the Portuguese champions.
There it is Andre Villas Boas