With goals a plenty in this seasons Gambrinus Liga Chris Boothroyd analyses the attacking traits shown by the leagues top sides. For every Dukla Prague there is always a Viktoria Žižkov…
Over the past weekend Plzeň walked through the Hradec Králové defence, then a day later Mlada Boleslav sauntered through the normally unreachable Sparta’s back-line. On Sunday fans of the Gambrinus Liga were treated to fourteen goals over three games. Sadly free-scoring Jablonec failed to add to their tally of goals as they succumbed to a defeat against a stuttering Teplice side, but their record of 32 goals in twelve league games is not to be taken lightly.
Mark made a case that there have been numerous defensive errors recently such as the sight of two Hradec defenders running into each other which was as comical as it was a horrendous scene (if you’re a coach the defence or are a Hradec fan). But while there has been a fair share of calamitous defending the Gambrinus Liga has been the home to a lot of attacking football and attacking football will determine who finishes where in the table this season. Let’s have a look at the two recently promoted clubs to the Czech top flight for example.
Dukla have been one of the most interesting teams to watch this year. They came up as rather dominant champions and have continued to play their attacking brand of football. Luboš Kozel sends out Dukla in a 4-3-3, and it isn’t really one of those 4-5-1/4-3-3 hybrids that shift between the two formations depending on attacking or defensive phases.
Their squad is full of attacking talent with Lietava, Berger and Svatonsky providing problems for every back-line that they’ve been pitted against and their midfield harbours the veteran Patrik Gedeon who amply fulfils a role similar to Horvath at Plzeň whilst Marek Hanousek bounds from box-to-box showing that he is probably destined for bigger and better things in the year to come.
In the twelve games so far this season Dukla have shown that they aren’t afraid to attack anybody as they showcased sharing six goals with Plzeň back in August, though they ultimately lost.
Alternatively Žižkov play rather rigidly, more concerned with trying to keep it tight and take advantage through counter-attacks than being expansive and trying to force the advantage. The majority of their defeats have come by the odd goal, but they have been substantially beaten four times, generally picking up a consolation when the damage had been done. In short they are scoring goals at the wrong time. They defend before they attack whilst Dukla attack before they defend.
Keeping things tight at the back is only one part of the formula needed for success in any league in the world. The other bit needed is goals and there are plenty of those to be had in the Gambrinus Liga. They say that attack is the best form of defence and that is the case this season. Every team who clicks going forwards are more than likely to win the game. David Lafata has fired Jablonec into commanding positions and his presence was sorely missed against Teplice yesterday, Leo Kweuke’s absence and then poor performance against Boleslav have coincided with two defeats for Sparta.
These are cases of teams missing key components of their play, but Slavia for all their pretty build up couldn’t hit the proverbial barn-door under Michal Petrous and fell to bad result after bad result as Pospech and Blažek kept spurning chances and consequently placing unneeded pressure on the rest of the team.
Plzeň themselves put in a horribly disjointed attacking performance against Sparta who ran out comfortable winners that day so it isn’t just a case of needing to rely on one man to do carry the team, it’s the reliance on the men towards the top of the formation to do their jobs in creating and scoring.
The league will be won and lost in how well teams perform going forwards. Don’t forget if you’re the one’s attacking then the onus is on the opposition to prevent that and mistakes, bad tactical decisions and mismatches become all the more obvious.
For every bit of skill that takes the game beyond the reach of another team, they too will equally contribute to their own downfall due to the pressure they are placed under.If you attack and attack well in the Gambrinus Liga then you can reap its rewards.