How do you make a tactical analysis of a football match?

A-League 2019/20: Western Sydney Wanderers vs Sydney FC - tactical analysis tactics

The tactical analysis of an opponent is a fundamental task for any football coach who wants to make the most of the existing possibilities in order to have more guarantees of success in his matches.

In order to carry out the tactical analysis of a rival you can have many patterns of reference of which we are going to make a brief review in our article.

Two types of tactical analysis

  • The writing that can be the annotations and observations that we see live in a game or in the recording of the same one.
  • The audiovisual which is the assembly of a video that compiles all the necessary information that we see convenient of the rival, introducing cuts of videos classified by sections or phases of the game, images with necessary information of the rival for our team etc. This last one the most used at the present time and the most useful.


If we decide to watch an opponent’s game and we take our small notebook to write down the key and necessary information to be able to plan a week of work according to the needs of my team and the references we have from the opponent to counteract them, we must take into account several key aspects to score.


The tactical drawing is the main thing, the positioning of the players on the field determines this aspect, and also, it is necessary to take into account to value the series of movements of the lines in the phase of creation as well as in the defensive phase of the rival.

Knowing that there are many teams that defend with one system and attack with another, many variants that football offers us must be taken into account in our analysis.

Knowing which player profile plays in each line, a small description of each player by position and his most showy and weakest qualities.

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Another important aspect to highlight is the opponent’s game model: whether they opt for combination play or direct play:

The two models are equally valid, although we will find teams that only opt for one philosophy.

This will be a point in our favour because if a team only has one game model, if we work to block the opponent’s paths to their model they will be forced to change, and as they are not used to play in the opposite model they will have much more difficulties to create problems for us during the game.

Here we have to emphasize aspects like if they serve in short in goal kick, movements of the players in the creation phase, if the ends play inside or outside, if they play with fixed point or false in mobility between lines etc… and in direct game we can find teams with multiple breaks, quantity of balls in long if they are in diagonal or frontal.


When opposing teams receive a goal, they adopt different forms of play.

In this section it is necessary to value the changes that the rival can do during the game in his scheme, as for example the most seen at present, if the rival plays 4-2-3-1 and receives a goal because it changes to 4-4-2 introducing the entry of a point.

These changes made by the opponent during the match must be reflected in our analysis as well, as it is very useful information.


For me the most important of all, since there is a high percentage of goals that are made from set pieces, can clearly determine a match.

Both in corners in attack, lateral fouls in attacks must take into account the diversity of plays that may have the opponent, from the initial placement of its players to the movements that make and where the ball goes very important.

Later on, we must know how the opponent defends the lateral fouls, reflecting at what height he places the line of players if they are very forward, intermediate or inside the area, so that from here on we can create one or another option of attack.

And finally how he defends the corners, if in zone, if man or mixed, the most common thing this last one at the present time. If a team defends in zone, is more vulnerable in defense because the difficulty of defending this type is very high, and must be done with great care, so have different alternatives in attack to make a goal to a zone defense is ideal.


The psychological aspect of the player and the team is a very important point in football, because if the player is in an optimal state in many occasions he overcomes the football qualities in game situations.

We can take this into account as the rival team reacts to a goal against, to a defeat, to the frustration of their goal arrival paths etc.

Not all players have the same psychological profile, some are more ambitious, persevering and others are more pessimistic.

This influences a lot at the time of the psychological battle of where and to whom we can attack him in this aspect to take advantage, logically to the weakest.

If a winger is pessimistic about not getting things right on the pitch, it’s clear that our winger has to know that in order to try to get him out of the game while being strong in defence and not giving him options, that’s an example.