The coach used the third tactical scheme with an unusual formula in Barça with three centrals and two lanes
The Barça coach was looking for “more defensive security” and the team gained more fluidity in attack
The use of Dest and Alba open to the bands on their natural side gave amplitude and generated spaces for Messi and Pedri
Ronald Koeman he has no problem talking about football and explaining in public the reasons (or part of them) that drive him to make the decisions he makes. After defending the benefits of the game system he adopted when he arrived at Barça and denying that he intended to change it, he discarded it. Not once (with 4-3-3 against Levante, Real Sociedad and Valencia), but twice. Barça visited Valladolid with a 3-4-2-1. If Koeman broke the taboo of playing with two midfielders, something unheard of in the last 15 years, did something more unusual: employ three centrals.
Koeman’s laps are due to the urgency, rather than the need, to give stability to the team; if it can’t be in the game, let it be in the results. At the end of the day, the Dutch coach is risking his head and it is not to lose it so soon after waiting so long to sit on the bench at the Camp Nou.
“The goal was to have a little more security behind,” Koeman acknowledged when he justified the alignment of the three centrals (Mingueza, Araújo and Lenglet) in Nuevo Zorrilla against Valladolid in relegation places. Koeman, in his days with Barça, also played with the defense of three, flanked at first by Albert Ferrer and Serna (and later by Nando or Nadal or Sergi Barjuan), two reactive defenders. They did not have lanes to support them as if they had the three towers of Valladolid.
Koeman played in a defense of three with the Barça de Cruyff, but without help lanes
Koeman justified the placement of the three centrals to have numerical superiority and to be able to build the game from behind with greater ease (three against two forwards), but that was not Barça’s capital problem. It was, in the defensive phase, individual errors in the execution of certain actions and laxity in the strategy plays. And it was, in attack, the lack of breadth and depth.
Dest and Alba, in the end, they played more wingers than wingers. The starting point for both was the center of the field. And there yes Barça had numerical superiority to move the ball. Pjanic and De Jong shared the axis, and Messi and Pedri completed a square ahead. The Barça team helped in the withdrawal to avoid counterattacks from Valladolid, which only had some option with the game already decided.
The device performed better than ever because the exteriors were on their natural side: a right-handed on the right and a left-handed on the left
Dest and Alba helped open the field by attracting their sides, with which there was more interior space for Messi and Pedri since, in addition, Braithwaite attracted the attention of the two center-backs. The device performed better than ever because the outdoors were in their natural habitat: a right-handed on the right (Dest) and a left-hander on the left (Alba). When the players used have the other dominant leg (the left-handed Griezmann on the right, the right-handed Coutinho on the left) they tend to seek the center, thereby increasing the concentration of footballers and reducing the spaces.
Less demanded sides
Barça continued to enjoy Alba’s coladas and, exceptionally, had a Dest reaching the bottom line. Both were less demanding to regain their defensive position. “Jordi and Sergiño have been higher without doing very long races to return,” said Clément Lenglet, praising the good functioning of the tactical scheme.
Even when? The answer will be seen on the 29th against Eibar. “The system was different from the normal one,” Koeman admitted as if he had made a specific exception and to precede, at the same time, an urgent explanation for the substitution of Busquets, Griezmann and Coutinho.
It may interest you
A similar device with three fenders back used last year Quique Setién. Only three times, as an experimental test. Against Eivissa in the Cup in his second match (Sergi Roberto, Lenglet, Junior), the third in Valencia, with the first defeat (Sergi Roberto, Piqué Umtiti), and for the last time in Valladolid, with Sergi Roberto, Piqué and Lenglet .
It was shorter with Ernesto Valverde: only in the Inter Milan field in the Champions League, with Barça classified. Todibo, Umtiti and Lenglet played.
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