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2018 in football tactics: France and Real Madrid did it their way | Jonathan Wilson

Press and possess is the method of many leading teams but Didier Deschamps’ side in Russia and Real Madrid before them picked up the biggest prizes playing in their own manner

The same basics everywhere: it would be easy to believe that football in 2018 was about the victory of press and possess. Manchester City do it, Liverpool do it, Tottenham do it, Chelsea do it, Arsenal do it, Barcelona do it, Juventus do it, Napoli do it, Bayern Munich do it, Borussia Dortmund do it, even Paris Saint-Germain have been showing signs of doing it under Thomas Tuchel. Manchester United didn’t do it and José Mourinho was sacked after a grim opening to the season in which his ideas had seemed increasingly outmoded.

And yet the two biggest competitions of the year were won by teams that did not play in that way. Try to find a pattern based on France winning the World Cup and Real Madrid winning the Champions League and the only conclusions likely to be drawn are that you have has a better chance of winning if a) you have has Raphaël Varane in the team; b) your coach won the World Cup with France in 1998 and has an alliterative name.

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