Pep Guardiola and Graham Potter share a similar footballing philosophy
Here's a look at attacking patterns that are used by Pep Guardiola in his 3-5-2 formations - which can offer an insight into how Potter probably sets Brighton up.
I'm currently reading '88 attacking combinations and positional patterns of play direct from Pep's training sessions volume one' written by SoccerTutor.com - that title doesn't roll off the tongue but it does offer a fascinating insight into the tactics of one of the best managers in the world.
From Pep to Potter, the Brighton boss is one of the brightest young talents to come into the Premier League in the last decade. Guardiola labelled Potter 'the best English manager right now' back in January.
Man City As you can see, the play starts from the back and is switched across the deck over to the over-lapping full-back on the right. When the full-back receives the ball in behind, close to the byline, as you see so often with Guardiola's teams, he squares it for the attacker to simply tap in. Brighton Ok, now look at the picture again and see it through the Brighton team. The ball being knocked around in the middle with Bissouma sitting, Lallana linking, Maupay dropping, wing-backs threatening, and Gross playing a ball in behind, which is later squared into a great position. I also think it's interesting how many players are making runs into the box.
And it would be fair to say Potter's style of football is similar to what Guardiola plays. So an insight into Guardiola's training routines may help us understand how Brighton play.
We very rarely hear about tactical side to the game as it is so important to keep a secret; look at Marcelo Bielsa sending spies to Derby County for example.
I'm going to focus on the chapter 'switching the point of attack and passing in behind to the wing-back', because Brighton's mode of attacking, at least before Lamptey and March got injured, was mainly through the wing-backs.
So how does one of the most innovative thinkers in the game attack using the 3-5-2 system?
Man City Once again, the wing-backs are really pinning the opposition back by making threatening runs. This time the ball is worked from right to left where it eventually falls to David Silva, who threads a ball in behind for his wing-back. The wing-back then picks his head up and squares it to one of the many options he now has in the box. Brighton Same again, this is something I have watched Brighton do this season. The only thing missing is a clinical striker to finish off these wonderfully worked patterns of play. I also think it's interesting how each player's position is marked out as a section. Each player occupies their column of the pitch.
The following pictures show Guardiola's patterns of play, with the yellow lines depicting the direction of the ball and the black lines the direction of the players' runs, there are also sections highlighted on the pitch which each player keeps within for the most part.
I would recommend buying the book; it has certainly improved my understanding and enjoyment of the game. To buy the book, click here.
Man City Once again, a seven pass move and they are in the box. The picture makes it look easy, and it is when it's executed well. One thing I've taken from this is that they are all passing the way they are facing and probably using a maximum of three touches. These two simple things are what most of us were taught when playing football at a young age. There's also FIVE players busting a gut to get into the box; the more in the area, the better probability of scoring. Simple game. Brighton Next time you watch Brighton in a 3-5-2, closely watch their build up play. How many touches are they taking? Are they making runs threatening to get in behind? How many people are sprinting to get into the box? How many passes did it take to get into the box?