How would you defend against someone with extreme pace?

I really love this question because I'm having a hard time explaining the answer.

My advice (but you and your teammates and your coach all need to be on the same page) is basically: sit deeper.

In other words, don't go to him--let him come to you. (It's not quite parking the bus, but similar idea.)

If you can't keep up with him, confronting him at midfield is futile. (Holding a high offside line is futile.)

Remember, his speed/pace only matters when you are both trying to get from point A to point B. His speed/pace only matters when he is faster than you and can get from point A to point B before you can.

His speed/pace doesn't matter when you're faster than he is. His speed/pace won't matter if you have enough of a head start. Taken to an extreme, his speed/pace won't matter if you're already at point B.

So here's where some soccer intelligence makes a difference: Where is this so-called "point B"? Why do we care?

Point B is wherever he can score from. (It's obvious why we care.)

His side of the pitch? Unlikely. At the center circle? Doubtful. Way out on the wings/corner? Possibly, but not so much. Outside the 18? Maybe, if he has a strong shot. Inside the 18? Very likely. Inside the 6? Most definitely.

So, if you draw a picture of the pitch, and color in the danger zones, the hottest would be right in front of goal, getting less and less hot as you move away and as you move towards the wings.

For play/coverage/defense, the hottest areas are where you want to be tightest on him. The coolest parts are where you don't need to mark as tightly. (In an ideal world, you would mark him tightly wherever he is. But in an ideal world, he wouldn't be faster than you, so let's forget about ideal worlds. This isn't FIFA16.)

So don't confront him any sooner than you have to. Sit deep. This "shrinks" the field, which means he will run out of space to run. If he's not running, his speed/pace becomes irrelevant.

[Incidentally, this is why you should not hold a high offsides line against forwards who are faster than your back line. A fast striker can start 3 yards onside and still beat you to the ball. Holding a high line means he has lots more space to run into.]

/r/bootroom Thread