Defending 1v1 in midfield

Pits the wits of defenders and attackers against each other in 1v1s within the main game. Plus use sweepers to give midfielders a ‘get out’ clause when their way ahead is blocked.

Why use it

Stopping players going through midfield is often a 1v1 pressure situation that players need to be able to cope with.

Set up

You need balls, bibs, cones and two goals. Set up an area 40 x 20 yards split into three with the outer zones 8 yards and the inner zone 24 yards. We used 12 players in the session.

How to play

Split your players into two teams of five with one player becoming a sweeper, plus two goalkeepers. The sweepers play in the outer zones defending the goal in that zone. The teams play 4v4 in the centre zone but pair them up so they go 1v1 against the same player whether defending or attacking. Players stay in their zones. In the final part of the session clear the zones and play a normal 6v6 game and see if your players have learned how to cover and defend 1v1.


Defending 1v1 in midfield, shadowing, pressing, intercepting and tackling

Defending the midfield 1v1

    1. Goalkeepers start the session with a pass into the sweeper player in the outer zone
    2. Each player has a specific marker making it much harder to create space in midfield – here the pass has to go back to the sweeper

Going 1v1 in midfield

    3. Players are under constant pressure to move and try to shake off their markers so they can advance
    4. Here quick play creates a chance on goal

Go 1v1 to defend midfield

    5. Progress the session by removing the zones and restrictions on the players
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