In the early morning of January 22, Beijing time, Manchester City beat the newly promoted Sheffield United 1-0 away, and Laporte started the game after five months away from the field due to injury. After the game, Guardiola talked about the importance of the French central defender to the team.
"As a left-footed central defender, he is irreplaceable," Guardiola said.
Guardiola answered the question, but he did not elaborate.
The first thing we want to discuss is what happens if a right-footed center back kicks a left center back. We selected Arsenal's 3-1 away game against West Ham in December last year. At that time, the Gunners were lined up with interim coach Ljungberg.
The Gunners’ two centre-backs, Chambers, are on the right, and Papasta Sopoulos is on the left. The latter is the player with the smallest percentage of left-footed passes among all players who played the left-back last season.
In the situation in the picture below, a left-footed central defender can pass the ball more freely. When Papasta Sopoulos took the ball, the home team's Felipe Anderson was still some distance away, and the former had enough time to handle the ball.
在下图中的情况下，左脚的中后卫可以更自由地传球。当帕帕斯塔·索普洛斯（Papasta Sopoulos）接球时，主队的费利佩·安德森（Felipe Anderson）距离还有一段距离，而前者有足够的时间来接球。
Tierney, who is active on the left, is ready to receive the pass. If Papasta Sopoulos chooses to pass the ball to Tierney with the inside of his right foot, the rolling trajectory of the ball will make it closer to the three home teams Players. Conversely, if you choose to pass the ball with the inside of your left foot, the route of the ball will be far away from the above three people.
In this case, the pass with the left foot will be more difficult to intercept, and it is also the safest way to hand the ball to Tierney. However, West Ham United’s formation was maintained very well, Papastasopoulos, who had a serious left and right foot, had no choice but to return to the goalkeeper.
In the picture below, Chambers is handing the ball to Papasta Sopoulos, but the latter can only stop the ball in the direction of the ball. A left-footed central defender can face the opponent's half and stop and lead the ball and then stride into the empty area marked in the picture. In the picture, the gunner No. 11 Torreira did not notice the movement of Papasta Sopoulos, nor did he enter the empty area to meet the Greek central defender. The left back Kolasinac was also far out of sight, so Papasta Sopoulos Lowes can still only return the goalkeeper.
在下图中，钱伯斯将球递给帕帕斯塔·索普洛斯，但后者只能将球停在球的方向。左脚的中后卫可以面对对手的一半，停下来带领球，然后大步进入图中标记的空白区域。图中，第11炮手Torreira没有注意到Papasta Sopoulos的动静，也没有进入空旷地区与希腊中后卫见面。左后卫Kolasinac也很远，所以Papasta Sopoulos Lowes仍然只能返回守门员。
The Greek central defender's inverse foot technique is certainly worrying, but he is not the only person responsible for the slow progress of the Gunners in this game. Let us look at another example next. The Gunner Torreira holds the ball. Although the Uruguayan is not a defender, his problem is also very typical. This is also a situation where a right-footed player splits the ball to the left. From this example, we can understand why the left-footed central defender is so so. popular.
希腊中后卫的反足技术无疑令人担忧，但他并不是枪手在这场比赛中进步缓慢的唯一负责人。接下来让我们看另一个例子。 Gunner Torreira控球。尽管乌拉圭不是捍卫者，但他的问题也很典型。这也是右脚球员将球向左平分的情况。从这个例子中，我们可以理解为什么左脚的中后卫是如此。流行。
Torreira passed the ball with his right foot to find Tierney on the left, but the ball was breached to the sideline. The Gunners tried to move to the left several times in the half and were blocked by the home team. The Hammers right midfielder Snodgrass had a very strong performance in the first half. The Gunners tried several times to organize an offense through his defense but failed.
Please note that we circled the Gunners offensive player, West Ham United captain Noble's marking is not in place. If Arsenal can smoothly give the ball to the left, the Gunners’ attack group will disintegrate the Hammers’ midfield defense and they can take the opportunity to launch a threatening attack.
After Torreira passed the ball, Snodgrass began to press Tierney forward. Because Torreira passes the ball on the inside of his right foot, the arc of the ball is toward Tierney. The consequence is that if Tierney intends to dribble the ball forward, he needs to wait for the ball on the spot, control the ball and then look for it. Opportunity to move forward.
Because Snodgrass was quick to grab, Tierney did not force a dribble forward for safety reasons, but instead passed the ball back to Torreira. When Tierney returned, the Arsenal attacking players in the circle were still unmarked, and Arsenal missed an attacking opportunity.
It took Arsenal 30 seconds and 8 more passes to transfer the ball to the offensive player's feet. However, the Gunners now need to face the two layers of defense of the Hammer Gang's back line and the midfield line, and the offensive difficulty suddenly increases.
Now let us return to the initial situation of the attack. Assuming that Tierney receives a pass from a left-footed player, the trajectory of the ball will be more forward than towards Tierney as shown in the picture below. In this case, Tierney can speed up the dribble.
Don't underestimate this seemingly simple pass. If it is from a left-footed player, Arsenal can instantly bypass the defense of 6 West Ham players.
Not only that, the gunner’s advancing speed will be greatly accelerated, and it is also likely to attract a player from the opponent’s back line, thereby leaving a wider space for the attackers in the frontcourt.
After opening the gap from the left, the Gunners will have many ways to cause trouble for West Ham United, but Torreira's right-foot pass made all these possibilities zero.
Post-match statistics show that Chambers and Papasta Sopoulos surrendered a total of 177 passes during the opening hours of the game. This number ranked first in all games where the Gunners played four guards. Bit. They have a lot of opportunities to attack forward, but the two are always afraid to try. They only sent two forward passes (referring to passes that exceed a certain distance) and two feet into the third area of the attack. The pass, it can be said that the contribution to the offense is very little.
The center-back combination of Chambers and Papasta Sopoulos could not effectively organize the attack from the backcourt. No wonder Arteta kept on searching for the left-footed central defender after arriving at the Gunners from Manchester City. Arsenal first introduced Spanish defender Pablo Marie from Flamengo, and a few days ago they signed former Lille defender Gabriel, both of whom are left-footed players.
After Pablo Mari came to the team, Arteta's remarks coincided with Guardiola. "Mali has met my needs for the team's defense," Arteta said. "He has provided us with more choices and more solutions. He can help us expand the stadium space."
在帕勃罗·玛丽（Pablo Mari）加盟车队之后，阿尔塔塔（Arteta）的讲话恰逢瓜迪奥拉（Guardiola）。阿塔塔说：“马里满足了我对球队防守的需求。” “他为我们提供了更多选择和更多解决方案。他可以帮助我们扩大体育场馆的空间。”
Arteta's "more solutions" was reflected in the second round of the Hammer Gang in March this year. The Gunners' central defenders are David Luiz and Pablo Marie. This is the first time the Gunners have produced a combination of left and right central defenders in the second half of the season.
Arteta的“更多解决方案”在今年3月的第二轮Hammer Gang中得到了体现。枪手的中央后卫是大卫·路易斯（David Luiz）和帕勃罗·玛丽（Pablo Marie）。这是枪手在赛季后半段第一次将左右中后卫融合在一起。
In this game, Xhaka will fill the latter's position after the left-back Saka advances in. The presence of Pablo Marie has brought Arsenal's backcourt ability to a higher level. The picture below shows that Pablo Marie and Saka formed a connection shortly after the opening. Arsenal relied on this pass to penetrate the Hammers' midfield defense and smoothly advanced to the third attack zone.
在这场比赛中，萨卡（Xhaka）将在左后卫萨卡（Saka）进站后填补后者的位置。帕勃罗·玛丽（Pablo Marie）的到来将阿森纳的后场能力提升到了更高的水平。下图显示了开幕式后不久，Pablo Marie和Saka建立了联系。阿森纳依靠这一传球穿透了汉默斯的中场防守，并顺利晋级到第三进攻区。
Pablo Mali's passing method is just a routine operation of the left-footed center back. Manchester City center back Laporte was also given the same tactical responsibility by Guardiola. In the 2-2 home draw with Tottenham last season, Laporte used his left foot many times to transport the ball to the offensive zone.
In the attack demonstrated in the picture below, Laporte directly found the left back Zinchenko. The latter's pass helped Sterling complete a goal. At this time, it was only after Laporte passed the ball. It took 6 seconds.
About 90 seconds later, Laporte followed suit and found Sterling, who was inserted from the left to the back of the opponent.
After just 3 minutes, Zinchenko received the ball and took away the defensive player who was marking him. Laporte took the opportunity to send a direct pass for Sterling again.
An excellent left-footed central defender can not only deliver a right-to-the-ground pass, but also a high-quality long pass.
The picture below shows Pablo Mali heading directly to Aubameyang.
The high-altitude ball kicked by Pablo Marie left-footed spins toward the field, and the ball directly passed the opposing defender Nkekia. However, this pass still owes some heat. If the strength is more accurate, Aubameyang can directly form a single shot. Even so, Aubameyang still got the ball and gained a lot of space on the left.
According to the post-match data, the Gunners’ double center backs had a total of 146 passes in this game, of which 8 forward passes, and 8 passes directly into the offensive zone – compared to the first round. The combination of Chambers and Papasta Sopoulos, David Luiz and Pablo Marie injected more vitality into the Gunners' offense.
Of course, the improvement of the Gunners' offense is not the result of Pablo Mali alone, but with him on the field, the team's great wealth of offensive routines is visible to the naked eye.
It can be seen that a reliable left-footed central defender is undoubtedly just needed for a team that is used to organizing offenses from the backcourt.
Manchester United expressed the most direct, Solskjaer had already stated clearly that the Red Devils wanted to introduce a left-footed central defender.
Last season, Manchester United almost played the world with an all-right-footed back line, but in February this year, the visit to Chelsea made Solskjaer firm in his determination to introduce a left-footed center back.
Manchester United drained the three-man defense line of Luke Shaw, Bailey and Maguire. Among them, the left foot of the temporary guest central defender sent Luke Shaw forward as many as 9 passes. This number was ranked last season by Manchester United. The head of all central defenders, equal to Maguire in Manchester United's game against Watford.
Another team struggling to pursue a left-footed central defender is Tottenham. Tottenham’s only left-footed center back, Vertonghen, has left the team. It is expected that Tottenham will encounter some problems in organizing the offense.
From Tottenham’s game last season, it is not difficult to find that when Mourinho ranks the left-footed central defender and the right-footed central defender, the contribution of the double central defender to the offense is much greater than that of the two right-footed central defenders.
Southampton is not the kind of team to worry about the dominant foot of a central defender. Despite this, the Saints brought in the 21-year-old left-footed central defender Salisu from Valladolid for £10.9 million.
The Premier League’s powers always value their players’ experience in the Premier League when they sign in. If Salisu can get a stable playing time and continue to show impressive performances, he will definitely become the coveted sweetheart of all the powers of the Premier League. From this perspective, the saint’s move is more like an investment.
Industry insiders familiar with the Premier League understand Southampton’s intentions. A senior scout said: “By the end of the season, if he (Salisu) can get 2,000 minutes of playing time, his value will soar to 20 million pounds. It even reaches between 25 million and 30 million."
This also explains why Manchester City is willing to bid 41 million pounds for Aker, and there are very few top left-footed central defenders with operational possibilities in the transfer market.
Although joining with the sky-high price, Ake is estimated to have to act as a substitute for Laporte in a short period of time. Considering that the French has just recovered from a serious injury recently, a reliable substitute is worth the big price.