Can Chelsea try the False 9?

False 9 has became famous since Spain used it during the Euro 2012 and has been used by Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona and many more clubs down the road. A false 9 tactic uses the formation of 4-6-0. This is how it looks like.

The false 9 requires a striker to play deep in the midfield like a play maker. It often leaves the centre-backs with two choices. Follow him and leave space at the back, which can be exploited by other midfielders or leave him and let other midfielders link up with him and overrun the defence.

Lets assume that the opposition is playing with four defenders at the back with the formation 4-4-2 and one of the defender makes the first choice. He follows Torres, who keeps dropping deeper and deeper. Now Hazard, Mata and Ramires can push forward towards the empty space and have a shot at goal themselves. Here’s how it would look like.

I’ve used 4 defenders and 2 midfielders, with Mikel in possession of the ball. Torres suddenly starts going deeper and the defender starts thinking that Torres’s is moving to receive a clear pass. With all the midfielders and defenders trying to man mark their players, a spot opens up right behind one defender. Then what does Mikel do?

Mikel spots Torres going deeper. He quickly passes to Ramires and drops deeper to avoid fast counter attacks. The dotted lines represent Mikel’s pass to Ramires. He then runs in to the final third after exchanging passes with Hazard and Cesar, he  finds himself through on goal as the defender forgets to mark his area, which is shown by dotted lines with an arrow.
The other players are being marked by the opposition players. The lines with arrows show who they are marking.
The opposition strikers and midfielders are deep into the other half and getting ready for a fast counter attack.
It’s not just Ramires but anyone who can find himself clear and makes the run at the precise moment, can exploit the place left behind by the defender who tried to mark Torres.
Now lets assume that the opposition is playing with four defenders at the back once again in a 4-4-2 formation and one of the defender makes the second  choice. Torres starts dropping deeper but the defender refuses to follow him and fall for the trap. All the other opposition midfielders are marking Hazard, Mata, Lampard, Ramires and the two full backs on the sides. This is how it would look like.

Lines with arrow shows which defender and midfielder is marking whom and the line without arrow shows the defender, who does not want to follow Torres. Now Torres has two choices to make. Either he runs at the defender or picks out a pass to the flanks or to one of the midfielders. Lets have a look at that.

Same as before the lines with arrows shows, which player the defender is marking and the dotted lines with arrows shows how Torres could move. Every defender’s nightmare is facing Torres one on one. Even God can’t help the defender when Torres uses his  pace  to get past him. He can go down for a penalty or have a shot at goal .That’s goal scoring opportunity 1.
After he realizes that there is no defender dovetailing  him, he can pick out a player with an incisive pass or combine with him. ( I have not used any midfielders, so that I can show the proper trajectory of the ball. The midfielders like we have seen above will be marking their players)

Torres can pass to Hazard who see’s Mata making a run and finds space right between Defender 3 and Defender, Mata goes clear with the ball. Torres can also pass to the fullbacks, who are making runs and they can cross the ball. That’s goal scoring opportunity 2 and 3.
Now False 9 is not a child’s play. It takes hours of practice in the training ground and if perfected it can be devastating against any team with four defenders at the back.

Now I chose Torres because he knows how the False 9 works, thanks to him being a part of the Spanish national team and Del Bosque. Another option that we can use is that instead of Torres, we use Hazard as it its conventional to use a midfielder as False 9 and in Hazard’s place use someone with pace like Moses or Sturridge.

Sherry Philips . Follow me @bluebloodSherry

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