Indian Super League 2020/21: Hyderabad FC vs Jamshedpur FC – tactical analysis
It is nothing short of an achievement to turn a team whо conceded the most league goals last season into a team whо have now got two clean sheets in two matches. Manolo Márquez Roca took charge of Hyderabad FC as Alberto Roca left the club to join FC Barcelona only after few months of his appointment. The former La Liga coach had the opportunity to go top of the table but was disappointed by the 1-1 draw. On another note, Jamshedpur FC have hired a coach who got the team from the bottom of the table to play the finals of the Indian Super League in the same season. The former Premier League boss Оwen Coyle got along with him the top scorer of the league, Valskis from Chennayin. Coyle has switched sides and taken a ‘Mammoth Task’ altogether.
Hyderabad started in their preferred 4-2-3-1 and made four changes from their 0-0 game against Bengaluru. Laxmikant Kattimani took charge of the goal in place of injured Subrata Pal. The back four remained unchanged with Asish Rai, Odei Onaindia, Chinglensana Singh and Akash Mishra. João Victor and Hitesh Sharma formed the double pivot. Liston Colaco played with Halicharan Narzary on the flanks. Aridane Santana led the line with Mohammad Yasir coming in for injured Joel Chianese.
The Scottish head-coach lined up his side in a 4-3-3 with just two changes from their 2-2 draw against Odisha. Pawan Kumar came in for suspended Rehenesh TP. The backline consisted of Laldinliana Renthlei, Stephen Eze, Peter Hartley and Ricky Lallawmawma. Mobashir Rahman, Aitor Monroy and Amarjit Singh Kiyam formed the midfield three. Alex, Nerijus Valskis and Jackichand Singh played as the front three.
Hyderabad’s build-up against Jamshedpur’s press
Jamshedpur’s man-to-man marking
The Men of Steel would transform into a 4-1-4-1 formation when they didn’t have the possession. They employed a man-to-man marking press which was firm in the central corridor and much relaxed in the wider areas. Valskis was the only player who applied consistent pressure when the ball was in Hyderbad’s defensive third. His support was activated only once the ball entered the middle third. This created a dilemma of gauging time and distance for the coordinated press. As a result, it gave an impression of differing efforts and non-uniform actions of pressing. Their PPDA (Passes Per Defensive Action) was therefore 8.1 in the first half (which went to 16.7 in from 16-30 minutes). The Hyderabad players were quite solidated with their positioning.
Progressing through the pressure
The two central-midfielders stayed in their positions despite them dropping in the backline would have been the easy solution to break Jamshedpur’s man-marking strategy. Rather they relied on quick combinations and movement on the wider flanks. The full-backs Akash and Asish took support from Colaco and Narzary to play quick one-twos and make constant underlapping/overlapping runs. Therefore they also stayed in the back-four during the build-up phase but occupied different vertical channels than that of their wingers. The swift passing and moving did enough to break the system and progress the ball. The Nizams had an open-ended approach in their build-up. Aridane’s presence upfront made it more convenient to go long when all the options on the ground were shut.
Role of Jamshedpur’s centre-backs
Aridane has justified his dominant persona through his playstyle. He is a striker who plays with his back to the goal. He has qualities in the air and is strong with his hold-up play. Aridane tends to drop to the halfway line to help progress the ball as he did the same at Odisha last year. Eze was on his toes to track him as deep as he had to and ran the risk of leaving space behind. Hartley too glued himself to Yasir when he dropped back to support. These actions tie well with the communal system of man-to-man marking. They didn’t offer time and space for Yasir and Aridane to turn and look for options.
In return, they paid a hefty fee of being cautioned due to their numerous tactical fouls. As Hyderabad got an early lead in the second half, they forfeited possession in favour of a defensive organisation. Jamshedpur too introduced new energetic wingers who could help recover the ball faster. A more urgent and aggressive outlook dropped their PPDA to a mere 5.3 in the second half.
Hyderabad’s chances created
The combinations discussed before to progress the ball was again used by Hyderabad to create their chances. Akash and Asish made dynamic runs to based on the situation. Yasir was heavily involved as he can be attributed as a ‘pass and move’ player. His constant movements were pivotal in getting the ball behind the opposition’s backline and made Monroy’s job difficult.
Since the focus of the play was mostly from the flanks, they played 17 crosses (eight accurate) in the game. Hyderabad didn’t just find a way to get balls into the box but also a considerable amount of players. Since they relied on the qualitative superiority of the players and not the numerical superiority, they had many players making runs into the box to attack the crosses. However, Coyle must give due credit to his solid centre-back pair for coping with those deliveries at equal standards.
Finding isolated wingers
Although the first 30 minutes were dreary for both the sides, there was a real change in tempo of Hyderabad in the last 15 of the first half. A glimpse of Nazary’s action in the 40th minute to cut inside and take a shot probably laid the foundation of second-half tactics. The Nizams progressed the ball through the right corridor and played a cross-field ball to Nazary with the intention to find him isolated against Renthlei. When they were unsuccessful in finding him in a 1v1 situation, they would circulate the ball back to the right flank and attempt another cross-field ball. They played three consecutive cross-field passes to Narzary in the span of 30 seconds. Yasir’s reverse body position and angle to play a long ball might seem unnatural but it only confirms the aforementioned tactical instructions given by the coach.
The third pass finally allows Narzary to use his skills to drift inside and have a go at the goal. Pawan manages to save it again but this time parries it away into the path of Aridane. Pawan should have ideally pushed it wider to abate the chances of a player scoring on a rebound. Aridane scored his second goal of the campaign and gave Hyderabad its deserved lead.
The tactic was implemented to maximise the effect of the three attacking Indian players, Colaco, Yasir and Narzary. They were amongst the top five fastest players at that night when the speed of the players was recorded in the 60th minute. They also attempted 22 dribbles collectively out of which 15 were successful. Their immense pace and ability to dribble makes them viable to win the offensive duels and hence the reason for the coach to design a system to get them in those situations.
Due to reasons such as Jamshedpur’s poor passing from the back, Hyderabad’s effective pressing and Jamshedpur committing a swarm of players for their offensive set-pieces, Hyderabad had multiple opportunities to counter-attack. These counter-attacks didn’t just have Hyderabad’s pacey attackers but also had a numerical advantage. Along with the numerous positional attacks, the men in yellow counter-attacked five times. Jamshedpur couldn’t rely on much but some luck and tactical fouls.
However, there was one significant change for Hyderabad when they found themselves in a 3v1 situation as Jamshedpur had committed eight players in a set-piece in their desperate attempts to find an equaliser. Despite being a right-footed defender, Asish has no excuse for not burying that shot when he had an open angle in that situation. He delayed the shot in order to look for other options and missed the best opportunity of the match. Hyderabad ended the game with four shots on target out of the 12 taken with an xG of 1.44.
Jamshedpur in possession
First half ineffectiveness
The Red Miners opted to go long in search of their frontman on every occasion. Pawan played maximum passes (three) to Valskis in the game. Hartley played 11 long passes, which is most for his team. The game-plan was evident and therefore much predictable for Hyderabad. Eze didn’t look comfortable on the ball and gave away possession cheaply on various instances. He had the third-lowest passing accuracy for his team (68%) which clearly shows that he is not a ball-playing defender. This plays a huge part in deciding the tactics and the reason for them to long.
However, seldom they would try to play it out from the back after winning the possession or receiving from the pass from Pawan. At this time, Hyderabad stayed in their 4-2-3-1 shape. Aridane played a crucial part in making the field smaller. He ensured the play area was limited to one vertical half and blocked the backward passing channel. In the meantime, Yasir stayed closed to Monroy by either keeping him in his shadow or staying behind and tight to him. This set-up did force Jamshedpur into making mistakes which led to dangerous counter-attacks.
Service to the forward
The gameplan didn’t work well for Jamshedpur as they registered just two shots with one being on target in the first half. The system was disjointed in attacking and the players barely combined to feed for one another. The midfield in particular lacked creativity and intelligence. Alex who is centre-midfielder was utilised as a left-winger and he kept switching positions with Kiyam but it didn’t turn out to be fruitful. Valskis received just one pass from Monroy, Alex and Rahman and zero passes from Kiyam. The passing network shows the lack of interaction between the midfield and the attackers. Hyderabad’s Onaindia controlled the situation well by winning five of the seven aerial duels contested.
Yet for a forward like Valskis, he needs service from players around him and not from long balls. He got that last year from players like Crivellaro and Thapa. In the 60th minute, William received a through pass to run into the opposition box. Valskis intelligently used double movement to evade his marker and run into free space right outside the six-yard box. William fails to read the move and opts to cut back. He then slips a pass to late entering Aniket inside the box. He decided to take a touch instead of finishing it the first time and is thus surrounded for three players in yellow immediately. Jamshedpur struggled to provide quality service in the box and take their best chances.
Tweaks at half-time
Coyle realised the building momentum on Hyderabad at half-time and didn’t wish to wait until he got punished. He urged his cosmic 1.98m tall defender Eze to stay forward for each set-piece until the next phase of play begins. He was tasked to win the first header and ideally flick it for his teammates. Be it Monroy’s free-kicks from halfway line for a long throw-in from Renthlei, Eze was always inside the 18-yard-box.
In the 85th minute, Valskis’ cross was cleared and William tried to control that. His touch was a bit heavy and the ball rolled into the path of Eze. He took the first opportunity and thumped it into the roof of the net. Jamshedpur created some good chances from set-pieces due to Eze’s presence in the box. The Red Miners had a total of six shots out of which only two were on target with an xG of 0.73.
Hyderabad started with just three foreign players and managed to pull out a great performance. Despite conceding their first goal of the campaign, their defensive display was solid. Yet they have just scored two goals in three matches and they need to come up with a solution before they face ATK Mohun Bagan. On the other hand, Jamshedpur are still waiting for their first win this season. They have quality individuals both in front and back but can Coyle find the right catalyst to ensure the smooth functioning of the team.