Corberan‘s philosophy is based on ball possession, but the base of Huddersfield‘s game is fluid, dynamic player movement to exploit space. Their most common formation this season has been 1-3-4-3, but this system often changes into 1-4-3-3. Within these two formations there can be many variations with players occupying different positions depending on the situation.
When playing with a back three they often use one pivot in an attempt to create an overload in center. The three defenders stretch the opponent’s first line of pressure which increases the number of passing options in the center. Therefore when playing in a 1-3-4-3 formation the shape of their formation with the ball often resembles a 1-3-2-5. The wide centre backs occupy the half-space while the wing backs provide width to access the half-space. Huddersfield’s wide strikers then occupy the half-space while the centre-forward stays in the middle or goes deeper to reload the centre.
Corberan likes his team to play outnumbering. When playing with a high defensive line, Corberan is willing to take the risk of covering the back sectors at the expense of getting the ball back as quickly as possible. Coupled with the high defensive line goes aggressive pressing with a lot of forward involvement. Howeve, they only press the opponent when they feel they can do successfully. They impress neither with the number of passes per defensive action nor the number of recovered balls in the offensive third, but it doesn’t mean that they are comfortable with low pressing and taking deep pressure. Instead, Corberan rely on efficiency, so Huddersfield combine moments in the match where they defend in their own half with moments where they set high pressing.
In attack Corberan rely on direct football with quick counter-attacks, with a high rotations and interchangeability of positions obviously borrowed from Marcelo Bielsa. Huddersfield players often start the game positioned more centrally and then make a move around behind the back of a marker. This movement from inside out opens up a line to pass and space for a player to go deep to receive the ball.
Danny Ward has been a great asset to Huddersfield this season. He has scored 14 goals, but his biggest contribution to the Terriers’ offensive game has been his play without the ball, whereby he skilfully creates free space for his colleagues (Sinani – 6 goals, Holmes – 5).
If Huddersfield are promoted to the Premier League and continue to play in this style, they will need central midfielders who, on the one hand, have the skills to make progressive passes that penetrate the defensive zone of the rival, and on the other, the ability to exert constant pressure and recover the ball as quickly as possible.