Ronald Koeman – Introduction :
Ronald Koeman is a Dutch professional football manager and former player who was most recently the manager of La Liga club Barcelona. He is the younger brother of his former international teammate Erwin Koeman and the son of former Dutch international Martin Koeman. Koeman was capable of playing both as a defender and as a midfielder; he frequently played as a sweeper, although he was equally known for his goalscoring, long–range shooting, and accuracy from free kicks and penalties.
They say Football does not remember its Defenders, well we believe that the essence of the game is the composure in oneself and who better to portray that if not a defender. Over the last couple of years, one such figure has emerged to be a common subject of a debate both tactically and controversially. It is none other than Ronald Koeman. Ronald Koeman has left Barcelona for a while now but the flank rotation he introduced in the club could have an impact even in the Premier League.
Ronald Koeman and his Flank Rotation used in FC Barcelona:
Koeman, the dutch powerhouse and also the highest-scoring defender in the history of the game has inculcated a minor but impactful tactic in his rather tendentious 3-4-3 formation since taking over the Pilot seat at Barcelona and we call this the Flank Rotation. This tactic is more likely to be seen in the second half of the game when the full-backs of the opponent team are weary and have analyzed a pattern in the Blaugranian attack.
Koeman’s flank Rotation is nothing but the exchange of the positions of the left (Generally a highly skilled one) and the right-winger (Generally a fast one) after every five minutes or after a round of two or three attacking drills. This play as we see has been executed with the combination of Griezmann – Dembele, Braithwaite – Griezmann, and in the currently ongoing season Depay – Braithwaite.
This play not only shambles the pattern recognized by the opponent team’s full-backs but makes them more confused and after a short argument we can say that the most vulnerable set of players on the field are the full-backs which is because of their position along with the distance they need to cover.
After a rather average season with Barcelona, we can say that this tactic is surely not making the impact it should but then the age-old two-worded question still lurks in every aspect of life, ‘What if!’.
Impact of the Rotation in the Premier League :
What if we bring this tactic to the Premier League? Where players have more space and lesser response time on the field than the other leagues. The Premier League is the only league where the difference between the duels won and the duels lost for a full back is the least!
In the 20/21 season, from Luke Shaw (Duels won -146, Duels lost -125) to Andy Robertson (Duels won – 113 Duels lost – 114) and Aaron Wan Bissaka (Duels won – 174 Duels lost -126) we can see that the statistics endorse the scope to exploit the full-backs even more! What better way to do it, if not by introducing this new minor tactic that could leave the fullbacks more nervous, perplexed, and vulnerable!
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– Akshay Chitlangia, 22 and ardent Sports Fanatic