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Fluid Football Explained and Illustrated

Fluid football explained and illustrated

Tactical Analysis: The Theory of Fluid Football Explained and Illustrated

What is Fluid Football?

Fluidity or fluid flowing football is another term in describing a system where players have the freedom to move as they wish while putting in mind the tactical system of their coach.

In modern football, a lot of managers such as Sam Allardyce Jose Mourinho just to name a few prefer positional discipline so as to create a rigid system.

However, some other coaches like Marcelo Bielsa, Pep Guardiola and the late Johan Cruyff have taken and or took the risk to their hands by giving players the freedom to interchange positions in order to create a fluid, flowing attack.

MUST READ: Tactical Analysis: The Theory of Positional Play in Football

Advantage of Playing Fluid Football

The advantage of fluid football is that, it makes a team less predictable and therefore difficult to defend against.

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Player position or players swapping positions creates confusion in the oppositions defence and drags them out of position thereby ensuring the ball can move from back to front as there usually should be one or more free players upfront.

Within or during a fluid passing move, players are bound to adjust their positions numerous times.

For example, winger can cut into or moves into the striker’s position as strikers move inside out.


MUST READ: Three of the Most Common Football Tactics Explained

How to implement fluid football in your team

Fluid football in most cases is usually introduced within training with a 3v3 or 5v5 system and to make it work, players need a strong tactical understanding and chemistry of their teammates as well as good off the ball movements combined with technical skills to ensure they can receive and pass the ball under pressure.

The continues training and applications in games afterwards makes the system a second nature of the team and at this stage, players can anticipate and sense where to move early to make things flow rightly rather than just reacting to a teammate leaving a position to another.

For fluid football to work, players need to be fluent in various positions so as to ensure every individual player does not fall out of position that would weaken the team. For example, a centre-back on the wing and a target man in midfield.

For example, Manchester City under Pep Guardiola has seen a lot of fluid flowing football although in the last couple of seasons. Like last season (2020/21), we saw Pep using midfielders, wingers in this system by fielding Foden, Bernado Silver, Sterling, Mahrez and De Bruyn who were bound to interchange their positions at any given time.

However, Pep’s system was not completely fluid football because despite their fluidity upfront, the team still maintained its shape. There was always a rigid structure in place.

In a fluid flowing football system, a turnover or a lost ball high up the pitch could easily lead to a dangerous counter-attack as the team needs to adjust into an organized defensive shape.

As such, teams that play fluid football are forced to counter-attack or press in numbers to prevent dangerous attacks against them.



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