Core Styles

A core style is a component style that relates to the overall use of both complementary attacking methods and complementary defensive methods.

Core styles include:

Each of the main core styles is summarised below, with details of the following:

The extent to which it is appropriate for a team to implement each of the primary and secondary style methods detailed below depends on player suitability, the overall tactical risk level desired by the team's manager and the preferences of the team's manager.

Attacking Football

Attacking football is based on using a high risk mentality in order to create space, penetrate space and restrict space in more advanced areas with a high level of attacking pressure and defensive pressure.

A high risk mentality is typically complemented to some extent with wide positioning to enable space to be created more easily in advanced areas that become more congested as a result, along with high tempo play and closing down to further increase attacking and defensive pressure, and a high line to complete a high defensive block.

Key Primary Style Method

Typical Primary Style Methods

Common Secondary Style Methods

These higher risk playing methods naturally complement a high risk mentality but they are typically used in moderation to avoid excessively high overall tactical risk levels.

Tactical Risk

Typical overall attacking risk level: high - focuses more on penetrating space.

Typical overall defensive risk level: high - focuses more on restricting space.

Tactical risk can be balanced to some extent by compositing attacking football with the short plays attacking style or the containment defensive style.

Typical Forward Movement Partnerships

Typical Passing Range System

Typical Number-Ten

Tactical Organisation

Tactical reorganisation frequency typically required:

Typical speed of tactical transition:

Consolidating possession is typically used to a greater extent (in both the attacking phase and the attacking transition phase) due to the typical use of a more progressive passing range system and a typically slow attacking transition. Consolidating possession is particularly useful due to a typically high overall attacking risk level.

However, a high level of attacking and defensive pressure can cause the opposition team to be more tactically disorganised, which can be taken advantage of by using breaks (and counter attacking).

Player Suitability

Outfield players:

Players assigned deeper playing positions:

Players assigned more advanced playing positions:

Defensive Football (Counter Attacking Football*)

Defensive football is based on using a low risk mentality in order to create space in more advanced areas by drawing players forward into deeper areas, before penetrating space quickly from deeper areas*, and also to retain solidity, protect space and retain compactness in deeper areas.

A low risk mentality is typically complemented to some extent with narrow positioning and low tempo play to keep possession and retain compactness in deeper areas more easily, along with sitting off to further protect space, retain compactness and encourage the opposition team forward, and a deep line to complete a low defensive block.

*Defensive football is also commonly known as counter attacking football, especially when only implemented to a moderate extent, because it typically involves the use of breaks (and counter attacking) to a greater extent in order for space to be quickly penetrated from deeper areas effectively.

Key Primary Style Method

Typical Primary Style Methods

Common Secondary Style Methods

These lower risk playing methods naturally complement a low risk mentality but they are typically used in moderation to avoid excessively low overall tactical risk levels.

Tactical Risk

Typical overall attacking risk level: low - focuses more on keeping possession, retaining solidity and retaining compactness.

Typical overall defensive risk level: low - focuses more on protecting space and retaining compactness.

Tactical risk can be balanced to some extent by compositing defensive football with the direct plays attacking style or the aggressive pressing defensive style.

Typical Forward Movement Partnerships

Typical Passing Range System

Typical Number-Ten

Tactical Organisation

Tactical reorganisation frequency typically required:

Typical speed of tactical transition:

Breaks (and counter attacking) are typically used to a greater extent due to the typical use of a more direct passing range system and a typically quick attacking transition. Breaks are particularly useful due to a typically low overall attacking risk level.

The opposition team typically moves forward into deeper areas in the attacking phases and the defensive phases, leaving available space behind opposition team players in both the attacking phase and the attacking transition phase that can be exploited by using breaks (and counter attacking).

Player Suitability

Outfield players:

Players assigned deeper playing positions:

Players assigned more advanced playing positions:

At least one player assigned an attacker playing position: