Tactical Structures

A team’s tactical structure in a particular positional area is an arrangement formed in that positional area by the typical positioning of the team’s players.

Two particular types of tactical structures are positional structures and attacking structures.

Positional structures are tactical structures formed by a team’s tactical shape, before the effects of player movement.

Attacking structures are tactical structures formed by a team’s attacking shape and attacking movement. A team has separate attacking structures for when each individual player is on the ball that take into account each player’s on the ball movement.

An analysis of a team’s tactical structures can show whether the team’s playing system enables it to retain compactness effectively. An analysis of a team's positional structures is particularly useful for assessing a team’s compactness in the defensive phases and the start of the attacking transition phase. An analysis of a team's attacking structures is particularly useful for assessing a team’s compactness in the attacking phase.

A tactical structure can be analysed in terms of the number of players in each positional area and the relative positioning of those players.

Detailed below for each positional area are:

For the purpose of this analysis, the number of players in a positional structure, for each positional area, is considered to be equal to the sum of:

Attacking structures are more difficult to analyse due to the variable nature of attacking movement. However, the typical number of players in an attacking structure, for each positional area, can be approximated by considering the players who are assigned a playing position or a (positional, attacking phase or on the ball) auxiliary playing position in the positional area, and the nature of their attacking movement. Similarly to positional structures, the typical number of players in an attacking structure can be considered to be approximately equal to the sum of:

Central Defence

Minimum Number of Players

Maximum Number of Players

Positional Structures

Central Defence Partnership

The central defence partnership is a positional structure in central defence comprised of two players who are assigned central defender playing positions.

Types of central defence partnership include:

Three-Man Central Defence

The three-man central defence is a positional structure in central defence comprised of three players who are assigned central defender playing positions.

Types of three-man central defence include:

Central Midfield

Minimum Number of Players

Maximum Number of Players

Positional Structures

Central Midfield Partnership

The central midfield partnership is a positional structure in central midfield comprised of two players who are assigned central midfielder playing positions.

Types of central midfield partnership include:

Three-Man Central Midfield

The three-man central midfield is a positional structure in central midfield comprised of three players who are assigned central midfielder playing positions.

Types of three-man central midfield include:

Four-Man Central Midfield

The four-man central midfield is a positional structure in central midfield comprised of four players who are assigned central midfielder playing positions.

Types of four-man central midfield include:

Lone Central Midfielder

The lone central midfielder is a positional structure in central midfield comprised of one player who is assigned a central midfielder playing position.

To meet the minimum number of players, two players who are assigned a positional auxiliary playing position in central midfield are also needed.

Types of lone central midfielder include:

The Flanks

Minimum Number of Players

Maximum Number of Players

Positional Structures

Wide Partnership

The wide partnership is a positional structure on either flank comprised of two players who are assigned wide player playing positions.

Types of wide partnership include:

Lone Wide Player

The lone wide player is a positional structure on either flank comprised of one player who is assigned a wide player playing position.

If the lone wide player is a wide defender then, to meet the minimum number of players, one player who is assigned a positional auxiliary playing position in wide attack is also needed. If the lone wide player is a wide attacker then, to meet the minimum number of players, two players who are assigned a positional auxiliary playing position in wide defence are also needed.

Types of lone wide player include:

Central Attack

Minimum Number of Players

Maximum Number of Players

Positional Structures

Central Attack Partnership

The central attack partnership is a positional structure in central attack comprised of two players who are assigned central attacker playing positions.

Types of central attack partnership include:

Three-Man Central Attack

The three-man central attack is a positional structure in central attack comprised of three players who are assigned central attacker playing positions.

Types of three-man central attack include:

Four-Man Central Attack

The four-man central attack is a positional structure in central attack comprised of four players who are assigned central attacker playing positions.

Types of four-man central attack include:

Lone Central Attacker

The lone central attacker is a positional structure in central attack comprised of one player who is assigned a central attacker playing position.

To meet the minimum number of players, one player who is assigned a positional auxiliary playing position in central attack is also needed.

Types of lone central attacker include: