Pressing, overlapping centre-backs and running on the shoulder: A tactical view on Ipswich's 4-1 victory over Accrington Stanley

PUBLISHED: 13:46 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:46 13 January 2020

Luke Chambers and Luke Woolfenden pictured after Town had taken an early lead.      
Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.com

Luke Chambers and Luke Woolfenden pictured after Town had taken an early lead. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town produced their most impressive display of the season in Saturday's 4-1 victory against Accrington Stanley. Football journalism student and tactics anorak LUKE THROWER takes a look back at the action.

Ipswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking TacticsIpswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking Tactics

Desire, hunger, pressing, overlapping centre-backs and running on the shoulder... All four goals were a microcosm of the whole Ipswich performance on the day.

Starting with the opener from Kayden Jackson, the main surprise from the goal was centre-back Luke Woolfenden making a bursting run, overlapping his wing-back partner in Sheffield United like fashion, to open the space and assist the goal.

Ipswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking TacticsIpswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking Tactics

First Woolfenden offers a run to double up with Garbutt, offering space and pull around the Stanley defence.

Ipswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking TacticsIpswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking Tactics

Then he offers a run between the lines of the two Accrington players pressing Garbutt, giving him space and a chance to cross the ball for one of the two forwards, at the edge of the box in frame, to finish off.

The second goal, scored by James Norwood, was another small example of the Ipswich performance as a whole. Both Norwood and Jackson were wreaking havoc on the Accrington Stanley backline, running off the shoulder of a high defensive line with a mix of through balls and longer balls over the top.

The game saw Ipswich attempt long balls for just over 25% of their overall attempted passes, the highest they have attempted all season under Lambert and eight percent more than their average long balls attempted per match.

Ipswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking TacticsIpswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking Tactics

Emyr Huws has spotted the space behind the opposition line, that have stepped up high to try and win the ball, setting off Norwood in that space.

Ipswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking TacticsIpswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking Tactics

Norwood then meets the pass into the space behind, capitalising on a high line and a mix up between the goalkeeper and defender, allowing for a classy chipped finish.

The third goal capped off a fantastic move, full of the ideas that Ipswich had shown throughout the first half.

Ipswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking TacticsIpswich Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1: Talking Tactics

In this move, Ipswich have caused problems with another long ball, putting the visitors on the back foot. Norwood has pulled wide, drawing out another defender to close him and disjointing the Stanley defensive line.

The run from Jackson further disjoints the defensive line, as the defender looks to stay tight to the forward and stop the slip ball behind his full-back partner that has gone to close Norwood.

However, this opens the space to the left for onrushing Town players to run into. This sort of move forces the opposition to choose between a bad choice (not following Jackson and allowing the space in the channel) or a worse choice (following Jackson and opening space on the left-hand side for Ipswich to exploit).

The fourth and final Ipswich goal was representative of how the side pressed throughout. For the goal itself, its some solo work from Keane to win the ball back before slotting the ball, quite calmly, past Bursik in the Accrington Stanley net.

Whilst there isn't any significant analysis from the goal itself, as mentioned earlier, it is illustrative of how the home side played the whole game.

They injected some bite into their game, shown in a season high PPDA stat. PPDA means Pass Per Defensive Action, basically meaning how many passes, on average, a side let the opposition have before managing to contest one. In this game, Ipswich averaged 3.98 passes to go by before contesting one. This was a vast difference to the season average of 6.29, showing that extra intensity Lambert's side had in the game.

Overall, Ipswich showed variation to their usual style in a wing-back system, allowing for their outside centre backs to make galloping runs up the pitch, pressing with more intensity and bite as well as exploiting a high opposition line. Whether that continues against Oxford tomorrow night is another matter altogether.

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