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Tactical Talk: A false 9 and advanced 8, What are they?

Today we will talk about what an advanced 8 and false 9 mean. An advanced 8 is a number where a player doesn’t need to play as a defensive midfielder, he has to defend yes but he is not given fully such a role just partially. He is played as a creator. In a 4-3-3 formation, for example, advanced 8 will play on the wings where a 7 or 11 will be pushed forward to make 3 upfront. Or can be played a bit high from the center circle for example in a traditional 4-4-2, he will play behind strikers.

Typical 8 play a double pivot with a number 6 meaning their role mostly is to defend or track down the ball when the team is being countered. In a double pivot position, a number 8 will be asked not to push up so much, and he doesn’t play as a creator. In an advanced role, a number 8 plays as a central attacking midfielder in a creative capacity or the wings depending on the formation, and in the normal case, a number 8 plays as a central or defensive midfielder doing more of defending with providing a bit of firepower upfront and here we can see that there’s a difference.

A false 9 is not an out-and-out striker or a box player, in short, he is not a proper number 9. A false 9 drops deep into midfield. The purpose of this is to create problems for center backs who he wants to follow him, leaving space behind them or leaving him to have time and space to dribble past or pick out a pass. It is in some ways similar to a more advanced attacking midfielder. A typical 9 is a box striker who sits between defenders and bullies them, for one to be a typical number 9 he has to have a strong character, agility, and body strength to contain the defenders e.g Chipile Mungule of Green Buffaloes.

Who can play as an advanced 8 or false 9

First is a player who doesn’t have a strong character, he easily tires or loses the zeal when he comes into too much contact with opposing players. A player with the body language or with the body which can’t force itself between defenders will be overpowered. So what he likes instead is to run away from them, he will get the ball and face them and as soon as the opposing players are about to reach him, he will see a pocket of space and pass and run behind them to score and this needs another creative player besides him. So he needs someone who understands him to time his movements.

Second is a player who doesn’t like playing alone, so he will prefer to be with others and that is why he will prefer playing as a false 9 or advanced 8 so that he plays with others. And this relies on having creative players. They are team players e.g Enock Sabumukama and Collins Sikombe.

The third is a player who wants to be given a free role who doesn’t like contact with opposing players so if forced to face opposing players to get past them he will shrink back and fail to perform well.

When to use advanced 8 and false 9

An advanced 8 can be used when a team is lacking much creativity when a team wants to get more goals in a match, when a team wants to dominate possession and when a team is playing weaker opposition

A false 9 can be used when a team is facing an opposition with strong defenders to bully and a typical 9 can’t sit between them. Again he can be used in a team lacking creativity as he will be dropping deep in the midfield to get the ball from there and drive into the box.


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