Deep-Lying Playmaker vs Ball-Winning Midfielder

There is a vast range of midfielders in football, like deep-lying playmaker and ball winning midfielder. And there are a lot of types who complement different formations and tactics. Out of the three main areas of any formation, which are attack, defence, and midfield; midfield is perceived to be the most important area. The midfielders act as the spinal cord of any team by connecting the attack and the defence.

Out of all the types of midfielders, we are going to examine 2 types very closely today. As described in the title, the comparison and analysis will be between the deep-lying playmaker and the ball-winning midfielder.

What is a Deep-Lying Playmaker?

A deep-lying playmaker is a position which you will find in most modern football formations. And it’s that important. Starting from a basic overview, such playmaker or we can conveniently say, such midfielder, occupies the zone just in front of the defence.

main task of deep-lying playmaker:

Their main task is to control and conduct the tempo of the game and distribute the ball into the more offensive areas of the pitch. As the name ‘deep-lying’ suggests, such midfielders also have to play a role in the defensive dynamics of the team.

Oh dear, that’s a lot of responsibilities on one player, but that’s also the beauty of this position. The teams with the possession-based playing style, always have a deep-lying midfielder.

Deep-Lying Playmaker Analysis:

  • A deep-lying playmaker should be technically skilled and also an intelligent distributor of the ball, so he can do pinpoint passing.
  • He/she should be creative enough to pull out magic tricks in the tightest situations. As well as to create chances for the attackers, i.e. to feed them the ball for better attacking opportunities.
  • A deep-lying playmaker is the one who acts as a pivot and controls the rhythm of the game.
  • He/she also contributes to the defence because of the delicate position which they occupy.

example of deep-lying playmaker:

Like always, we will give you a few names of famous deep-lying playmakers, for a practical understanding of the matter at hand. The magnificent and legendary Toni Kroos, Sergio Busquets and Andrea Pirlo, are all examples of  players who have spent their careers as deep-lying playmakers. These are the epitome of this position.

What is a Ball-Winning Midfielder?

When we use the term ball-winning midfielder, we don’t refer to someone creative and having magical skills, we simply refer to a hard-rock, solid, compact, aggressive midfielder.

main task of ball-winning midfielder:

The player’s primary objective is to recover the ball it is lost and pass it to the more creative players on the pitch so the possession can be maintained again. As we said before, a ball-winning midfielder’s main objective is to steal the ball from opponents, often attempting harsh tackles. Additionally, there’s another role of ball-winning midfielder, and that is to provide depth and support to his/her team player.

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This can be done either by marking the opponent’s player and stretching them by the off-ball movement to destabilize and break their formation and lines respectively, or it can be done by providing the passing opportunities to his/her teammates.

However, a ball-winning midfielder is always a physically dominant and strong figure on the field. He/she provides a lot of tactical support and depth to the gameplay. Moreover, due to their physical strength and tackling abilities, ball-winning midfielders are very good at set-pieces and corners, because they usually have good aerial abilities.

Ball-Winning Midfielder Analysis:

  • As we explained, they disrupt the opponent’s possession by attempting tackles to win the ball for their team.
  • They don’t get involved in creative aspects of the game like chances creation, attempting footwork or setting up goals for the attack.
  • Such midfielders play a very supportive role for the more creative players of the team. They act as the foundation and clear the way for their teammates by disrupting the opponent’s formation.
  • Another area of operation of ball-winning midfielders is the defence as they often have to join defensive dynamics in case of counter-attacks and high pressure from the opponents. The ball-winning duties of such midfielder can also be counted in his/her defensive contributions.
  • Ball-winning midfielders are very useful in the offensive situations too. Due to their physical dominance, they help to increase the pressure on the opposing team.

examples of ball-winning midfielder:

As always, we will give you practical examples of ball-winning midfielders, so you can have a more clear understanding of the context. One of the prime examples is Real Madrid’s Casemiro! There are also the likes of Fabinho and Arturo Vidal who play the game in a similar fashion.

We always suggest heading over to the internet and searching for these players, and watching their playing style. Eventually, all of the conceptual things we’re talking about here will start making sense.

Head-to-Head Comparison

Let’s do a quick comparison of both positions we have discussed above; we will mention the key differences and similarities between the two. If you find yourself in a confused state, you can always refer to the explanation we have given above.

  • One clear similarity between a ball-winning midfielder and a deep-lying playmaker is that both of them contribute to the defence and fulfil defensive duties for the team when the need arises.
  • Another similarity, which may not be applicable in all situations, is that both of the midfielders occupy the deep zones or more defensive zones of the pitch because of the nature of their duties.
  • Don’t worry, there are differences too, one key difference is that the deep-lying playmaker is often creative and a technically gifted player. On the contrary, a ball-winning midfielder is often physically strong and not very much creative with the ball.
  • Another difference is that the deep-lying playmaker is heavily involved in the possession of the game. In fact, he/she dictates the tempo of the possession. On the other hand, a ball-winning midfielder only provides support in such conditions. The player is not very much involved in the passing and possession.
  • While both of them contribute to defence, the deep-lying playmaker is also involved in the attacking dynamics of the team. He/she feeds the ball to the attack by his/her pin-point passing. On the other hand, a ball-winning midfielder is more defence-oriented. He/she usually has a second to none role in the attacking efforts of the team.


If you’re reading this conclusion, we’re extremely proud of you. We hope you have understood the differences and similarities between these two important positions of modern football. Next time when you will play or watch your favourite team, you will identify these roles and positions with more ease.

Thank us later! When you love something, you never get bored with it! And that’s why we have much more articles like this on different football positions. Don’t forget to check them out!

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