This is the first of a three-part series looking at the various moving parts that come together to create a long build-up and, eventually, a goal.
Thanks to our OPTA Chalkboards (and some hard work from Devin Pleuler, who writes the weekly Central Winger column), we've been able to chart every "possession" of 2012 – from the squibbed goal kick to the methodical deconstruction of a pressing defense. For this feature, we've grabbed six of the longest build-ups of the season to date and are pulling them apart, trying to show you both how and why a given team was able to string 13, 14, 15 or more passes together.
Holding the ball that long is never an easy task, and no two long builds are the same. But they all have similarities, and identifying them can spark a deeper understanding of the game we all love.
Between the Lines: The Long Build Part 1