Thursday, 23 May 2024

The Rise of the Double Pivot in Soccer

Soccer terminology is constantly evolving, with technical terms now being used in mainstream coverage. One such term is the double pivot, which has become a common phrase when discussing the tactical foundations of the modern game. In this article, we’ll delve into the origins of the double pivot, its impact on team play, and its significance in today’s soccer landscape.

What is a Double Pivot?

A double pivot refers to a central midfield pairing that emphasizes defensive play and building possession. Positioned slightly withdrawn, in front of the central defenders, and behind the rest of the midfield, this duo has two main functions: providing defensive cover and progressing the ball forward. Unlike box-to-box midfielders, double pivots focus on maintaining a solid defensive foundation while contributing to the team’s attacking play.

Double Pivot

Double pivots are found in various formations. For example, a double pivot can be used in systems with three central defenders, such as the 3-5-2 formation. Another popular formation that utilizes a double pivot is the 4-2-3-1, which features two central defensive midfielders (CDMs) sitting in front of the back four at the base of the midfield. This formation gained popularity during the reign of Vincent Del Bosque’s Spain team in the late 2000s and early 2010s, but the double pivot remains relevant today due to its versatility in different formations.

The Origins of the Double Pivot

The origins of the double pivot can be traced back to the 1920s when English manager Herbert Chapman introduced the W-M formation. This formation consisted of three full-backs and two half-backs, who were the early examples of defensive midfielders in a double pivot. Over the years, the role of these two defensive midfielders has evolved.

In the 1980s, the Brazilian national team, featuring players like Zico and Socrates, played a significant role in advancing the double pivot. The partnership of Falcao and Cerezo provided a foundation for modern CDM duos, focusing on ball control, passing, and protecting the center-backs. While some teams now prefer to use a single defensive midfielder, such as Liverpool’s Fabinho, many still opt for the stability and protection offered by a double pivot.

The Role of the Double Pivot

The primary purpose of a double pivot is to provide defensive cover. With two CDMs, a team’s defensive line gains extra protection, enabling them to closely track opposition threats, use zonal marking to cover space, and block passing lanes. However, the responsibilities of a double pivot extend beyond defense. These players must also possess the ability to win the ball and maintain possession.

Double pivots require players with good close control and a wide passing range. Winning possession in various situations, completing short and accurate passes under pressure, and shielding the ball are vital skills in these areas of the pitch. Additionally, communication and organization between the two players are crucial for effective collaboration and defensive cover, even when one of the CDMs pushes forward to aid in pressing or support the attack.

The Best Double Pivot Partnerships in World Football

Creating a successful double pivot partnership requires players who have mastered the art of defensive midfield play. Let’s take a look at some of the best double pivot partnerships in the world today:

N’golo Kante and Jorginho, Chelsea

Mateo Kovacic also rotates in this midfield duo under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel. With three central defenders behind them, Kante and Jorginho primarily focus on dominating possession and linking defense and attack. Kante excels in pressing and driving the ball forward, while Jorginho demonstrates excellent creativity and passing skills. Their balanced partnership has made them one of the Premier League’s best double pivots.

Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretska, Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich’s long-standing success in German football is built on a 4-2-3-1 system, with Kimmich and Goretska forming a protective pivot. Both players are great in possession and versatile in their positional play, contributing to their team’s dominance on the pitch.

Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, England

In the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips formed a double pivot for Gareth Southgate’s England team. Despite their limited international experience, they showcased their defensive stability, aerial ability, and passing skills, conceding only two goals throughout the tournament. It is likely that they will continue their partnership in the 2022 World Cup.

Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante, France

Another prominent double pivot partnership is found in Didier Deschamps’ France team. N’golo Kante, known for his combative nature and technical abilities, forms a formidable pairing alongside Paul Pogba. This duo played a crucial role in France’s World Cup triumph in 2018 and aims to repeat their success in the upcoming World Cup.

The Impact of the Double Pivot

While some of the world’s best teams have transitioned to different formations, the success of teams like Chelsea and Bayern Munich, as well as legendary double pivot partnerships like Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool duo of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, demonstrates the effectiveness of this strategy. The double pivot provides defensive advantages and allows greater freedom for players in advanced midfield positions. To learn more about soccer formations, check out our article on the best soccer formations explained.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the double 6 position in football?

The double 6 position, also known as a double pivot, refers to a central defensive midfield partnership utilizing two players. The number 6 shirt is typically associated with center-backs in English football, but in world soccer, it represents a central defensive midfielder.

How do you beat a double pivot?

Beating a double pivot often requires aggressive and targeted pressing. By effectively closing down the opposition CDMs and cutting off passing options, the midfield and forward players can regain possession high up the field and create scoring opportunities.

Who is the best pivot in football?

Pinpointing the best double pivot partnership is challenging. However, notable contenders include Chelsea’s N’golo Kante and Jorginho, as well as Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretska.

Fred Garratt-Stanley is a freelance writer and enthusiastic Norwich City fan. With years of experience reporting on football, music, and culture, he brings a wealth of knowledge to his work. Currently, he serves as a content writer for various online health and fitness publications. Zerobertooficial