Defending Central Areas


Defending Central Areas is a very specific activity that focuses on forcing the opponent into wide areas. It encourages holding a very compact defensive shape and gets your central defenders and defensive midfielders working together to shut down the opponents’ forwards and attacking central midfielders. Tweak this functional 8V8 game to goal with counter goals to fit your system of play and your level of players to get the most out of it!

Defending Central Areas


8V8 (8V7+GK) functional to goal with two counter goals. 15 field players plus GK as shown. Red team is playing out of a 4-2-3-1 without their center forward or wide attackers (4-2-1). The yellow team is playing a 4-4-2 diamond without their two central defenders shown. Forwards are stacked and outside backs are in an advanced attacking position.

Defending Central Areas |
Defending Central Areas


The coach plays a ball into the yellow attacking team. Their objective is to pierce the shadowed box with a penetrating ball before they can combine and go to goal. The red team must focus on screening the box as well as defending their goal. If the red team wins possession they can counter and score on either small goal. 2X6 minutes.

Coaching Points:

Against a diamond midfield the red team will be overloaded at times in the central area of the field, especially the two holding midfielders highlighted in yellow. Focus on the working relationship of the back four and two screening defenders. Passing players on, communication from behind, stepping to the ball, etc.