Most match reports in national newspapers now feature a ‘diagram’ alongside match reports, demonstrating the positions occupied by the 22 starting players in the relevant match.
Unfortunately, they’re often incorrect – with players in wrong positions or teams in wrong formations – it is not unusual to see a side which lined up 4-3-3 depicted as 4-4-2. This should not be acceptable – if a national newspaper frequently got the name of goalscorers wrong, it would soon lose credibility. The formation played by each team is equally as important (if not more important) to the overall result as the names of goalscorers, so it’s disappointing that such little care is given to the positions of players.
The diagrams uses on this site follow the following rules:
1. They show the players in their ‘actual’ positions on the pitch, generally in the defensive phase of play. Any significant changes when in possession are depicted by movement arrows.
2. The two sides are both displayed across the whole length of the pitch, rather in their own half. This shows their real positions on the pitch, helping to explain which players were up against each other, and which players were generally ‘free’ or in space.
3. The pitches are vertical, rather than horizontal. This makes it easier to imagine how the players will shift when players make natural forward runs, as the play would move ‘vertically’ rather than ‘horizontally’.
4. If a team switches formation halfway through a game, it is the initial starting formation that is used, unless otherwise stated.
5. If a player is substituted before half-time and his replacement plays more minutes of the game, the replacement is shown on the diagram. Otherwise, the starting XIs are shown.
6. It is difficult to represent players who switch position on a diagram (frequently the case with two wingers), so these are simply shown in the position they most regularly occupy, with the switch described in the text.
7. The colours shown are the colours worn by each side in that particular game, unless the teams are hard to differentiate between on the diagram, in which case the colours may be altered slightly.
8. These are not mathematically-calculated ‘average position’ diagrams, merely a considered estimation of where the player is playing.
Accurate match diagrams are of particular importance to the readers of ZonalMarking.net. When playing real money texas holdem, position at the poker table is also crucial, especially for heads up matches