The Body Position of Xabi Alonso – The Toni Kroos Edition

Have you ever read “Make it Stick” by Peter C. Brown? It is a great book about successful learning methods.

One of the techniques suggested in it is to compare different cases whenever you are studying a subject.

I am applying the same idea to my research about Xabi Alonso. I am looking at videos of other deep-lying playmakers.

Today I made a video about the man who replaced him at Real Madrid, Toni Kroos.


I have noticed some similarities between the movement of the two players:

Both are proactive: They move away from the defenders, they alread make space for themselves when their team mates have the ball.

Neither of them wait for the ball standing still: Both are slightly jumping up and down in one place, ready to move quickly if needed.

Both use the energy of the pass: Both prefer to move around the ball, let it roll on the deck instead of taking touches.

Both use their hands: in order to stay balanced and generate power for the pass.

Both lower their bodies: It is easier to generate momentum for a turn or a pass from a lower position.

What other similarities can you see? What are the differences between the two?

You can find the previous two videos on Xabi Alonso here and here.



The Body Position of Xabi Alonso – Part 2

Yesterday’s video post on Xabi Alonso proved to be very popular, and I received a lot of positive comments. It means a lot that the people in the tactics/analysis community are reading, watching and enjoying what I put out.

Thank you very much!

The below situation is from the same game; it features a play between Alaba, Alonso and Lahm, which ends with Lahm turning towards goal with plenty of space around him.

The Body Position of Xabi Alonso – Part 1

It looks so easy to play as a number six. You are supposed to have far more space than a striker, you just receive an easy ball from the defenders, and you pass it on, right? Wrong!

Details, details, details.

One of the things that fascinated me the most when reading “Pep Confidential” is how much detail Guardiola puts into teaching his players the correct body position when they receive the ball.

Xabi Alonso must know something about the subject, given that he set a new Bundesliga record with 204 touches in the match against Cologne. After all you can’t receive the ball more than twice per minute on average if your body position is all wrong.

I used some footage from the 2-0 Bayern victory against AS Roma to see how Xabi Alonso positions himself in different kinds of situations.

This is the start of a longer term research project. I am going to put up one video per day, each about a different situation with Alonso in it. I am going to compare his choices to those of Daley Blind and Daniele De Rossi down the road as I learn more. Please leave a comment with your take on the situations. Sharing and debating the ideas of each other is the fastest way to progress.