The Perfect Defensive System #5- Gegenpressing

In this new series called The Perfect Defensive System,we invite you the reader to contribute posts on what you think is the best defensive...

Latest Posts

Serie A’s Last Outsiders Part 1: Hellas Verona, 1984/1985

With the 2020–2021 Serie A underway, there is a general sense of uncertainty about a league that has fallen from the heights of its...

Have Opponents Got Used To Liverpool’s 4-3-3 Formation This Season

Liverpool are conceding goals at an alarming rate when you consider that they only conceded 33 Premier League goals throughout last season’s title-winning campaign....

A brief history of the footballing aesthetic (and its gradual death)

The death of football at its most beautiful peak, is nigh ‘Football is the beautiful game.’ A statement we have heard since childhood. Words which...

Southampton 2-5 Tottenham: Mourinho’s reply to his doubters

For the first time in his storied career, Jose Mourinho started a league season with a defeat. Facing a freshly reinforced Everton at home,...

How will Gareth Bale fit in at Spurs-A look at Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 formation

Multiple top-tier sources including BBC and the current Tier 1 Journalist Fabrizio Romano have confirmed that Spurs are in talks with Real Madrid over...

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal:Tactical Analysis – Willian, Gabriel superb in Arteta’s 3-4-3 formation

Lineups and Formation Fulham Fulham lined up in a 4-2-3-1. Rodak was preferred to new signing Areola in goal. The back 4 had Odoi (right), Bryan...

The European Resurrections of Ever Banega

It seems fitting that Éver Banega’s final bow in European competition involved him lifting the Europa League. Barring a surprise reversal in the future,...

Football Books

Foul- The Beautiful Game, An Ugly Truth [Book Excerpt]

The clip-clop of football boot studs on concrete echoed through the tunnel over the hum of distant crowd noise. A drenched team of players...

Best Football Analytics Books

We have compiled a list of the best football analytics books for the casual football fan. Football analytics and data science/machine learning in general...

The Best Football Books of 2019

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2020, we have compiled a list of the best...

The Best Football Books of 2018

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2019, we have compiled a list of the best...

5 Books every Soccer fan needs to read before the FIFA World Cup 2018

The FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and it's the perfect time to brush up your history and facts about the World...

Barcelona 5:1 Lyon : Tactical Analysis

Three weeks after a goalless first leg in France, Barcelona stormed to a 5–1 victory against a Lyon side that left it too late to truly contest the course of the game.

Barcelona looked to instil their usual dominance of possession in the Camp Nou from the outset.

Piqué, Lenglet & Busquets were left against the trio of Fakir, Dembélé and Depay on a man for man basis, while the rest of the side pressured the ball high up the pitch in a bid to win back possession.

Despite this, the defensive trio of Barcelona dropped very deep, presumably to combat the threat of Dembélé and Depay’s pace. This left a huge chasm in midfield not exploited by Lyon, who didn’t show enough intent to play through the space.

Barca’s confidence to get high and tight on wingbacks Dubois and Mendy closed off the most familiar and safest passing lane for the Lyon centre backs. In combination with the aggressive pressing, Lyon’s backline was forced consistently to make longer passes with a lower probability of success.

Lyon found it very difficult to mount meaningful attacks in the first half, with their best chance in the period coming on the counter. Mendy drove into space down the left and pulled it back for Dembélé, who blasted his shot over the bar.

Barcelona maintained comfortable possession of the ball and were able to move it into Lyon’s final third without great resistance. Coutinho and Messi lingered threateningly in the half space between centre-back and wing-back, pinning Lyon into a back five and ensuring a numerical superiority in the middle of the pitch.

Despite their lack of pressing, Lyon’s defensive line didn’t retreat too far deep. Given the combination of space in behind, and time afforded to the Barcelona midfield on the ball, the opportunity was there for multiple attempts to clip the ball over the top for either Suarez or Coutinho to run on to.

No pressure on Busquets, and space in behind

As usual, the focus of Barcelona’s attacks came down the left hand side of the pitch. With Coutinho pinning Dubois back to the deepest defensive line, Alba had bundles of time and space and was a constant outlet for advancement of the ball. Messi and Suarez took it in turns to drift over to create an overload.

Barcelona led 2–0 at the break after a fantastic Messi panenka penalty kick, preceding some moments of brilliance from Arthur and Suarez which gave Coutinho a tap-in.

With Lyon needing at least two goals to rescue the tie, drastic changes were needed at the break to try to change the course of the game.

From the outset of the second half, it was obvious that Lyon’s wingbacks had been instructed to move much higher up the pitch.

This allowed Lyon to involve another man in the middle of the park, which let them compete for possession of the ball a lot better than before. This worked tremendously based on the numbers. Lyon went from 37% possession in the first half, to 53% in the second. Although Barcelona may have been looking to be a little more pragmatic as the game went on, majority possession for an opponent in the Camp Nou is impressive in any context.

However, the price they paid for seeing more of the ball was less security against the Barca front three. Quite commonly the centre-backs were left with no man spare against Messi, Suarez and Coutinho. A dangerous scenario for any defence in world football.

Adding to this, Lyon’s defensive line was shifted 10 to 15 yards higher up the pitch, in conjunction with more aggressive pressing. They started to press even Piqué & Lenglet, which was a massive shift considering Busquets, Arthur & Rakitić, all in more advanced roles, weren’t feeling the press too much in the first period.

Man for man defending against Messi, Suarez & Coutinho was precarious enough, but pay special attention to the distance between Mendy & Rakitic on the Barcelona right flank

Lyon pulled a goal back from a set piece, with Tousart finishing smartly, and generally looked brighter for playing with more conviction. For the first time in the game, Barcelona weren’t looking fully in charge of proceedings.

With around twenty minutes left, both Valverde and Genesio made their remaining substitutions as Lyon chased the equaliser, and Barcelona looked to put the tie to bed.

Mendy was withdrawn for Cornet, and the quiet Depay made way for Traoré in a plan to provide more width.

Ousmane Dembélé was introduced at the expense of Coutinho, who gave them a more direct threat on the counter attack. Vidal replaced Arthur and Semedo came on for Sergi Roberto.

The tie was effectively ended just moments later, with Lyon inexplicably overcommitting men forward in a gung-ho fashion. With just Denayer and Marcelo covering, Lyon lost possession in the middle of the park and Messi’s trickery and calm finish put the tie to bed.

With the tie out of reach, Lyon subsequently collapsed allowing Piqué and Dembélé to extend Barcelona’s lead to 5–1 over the next ten minutes.

Lyon had a very promising period after the break where they dominated possession and pulled a goal back, but the spells either side of that were not managed optimally. They handed Barcelona too much respect and time to play in the first half, and were too aggressive too quickly in pursuit of the equaliser.

Barcelona advance to the Quarter Finals, and will be looking to make amends for their nightmare from last year at this stage of the competition, when they were dumped out by Roma in the Stadio Olimpico. This year, they must be considered frontrunners alongside Juventus, Man City & Liverpool.

Related

Real Madrid and Barcelona remain the most valuable football clubs

Football is the most popular sport in the world, and so it is understandable that the biggest football clubs will also be some of...

How will Pjanic fit in at Barcelona? A look at Barcelona’s 4-3-3 formation for next season

As the deal between Barcelona and Juventus regarding the transfers of Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic has almost been finalised, let's take a look...

Real Madrid 0:3 Barcelona – Tactical Analysis

Going into this game after a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou, this game was evenly poised with everything to play for in the second...

Cruyffism through Spain

Spain has developed a unique commitment to technical football which has put them in good stead to make the past decade a period of Spanish dominance. The story to this dominance begin decades before hand when Cruyff decided that Barcelona would be the club he would next manage after his time at Ajax was over. He would create a cohesive identity for the club which kept the vision while finding success. This vision began with a number of manager who came before Cruyff but after Cruyff left, there would be many managers in Spain who would use his methods to discovery their own success.

One of Barca’s biggest weaknesses has become their strength this season

Even under Pep Guardiola when Barcelona can claim to be one of the all time great clubs sides they were not very good in...

Sevilla 1-2 Barcelona: Tactical Review – Shift to the 4-2-3-1 from the 4-3-3 formation proves decisive for Barca

Lionel Messi I mention Messi first and in a category of his own because of how influential he is to Barcelona’s overall tactics. Reminiscent of...

How Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona Changed the Game Tactically in 2008-09

Coming off of a disappointing third place finish in the 2007-08 campaign, Barcelona were looking to shake things up. This came with a huge...

What Does the New Barca with Dembele & Coutinho Look Like?

Last Saturday, February 24, gave us our first look at Barcelona with Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho in the lineup, and they lived up...

Latest Posts

Serie A’s Last Outsiders Part 1: Hellas Verona, 1984/1985

With the 2020–2021 Serie A underway, there is a general sense of uncertainty about a league that has fallen from the heights of its...

Have Opponents Got Used To Liverpool’s 4-3-3 Formation This Season

Liverpool are conceding goals at an alarming rate when you consider that they only conceded 33 Premier League goals throughout last season’s title-winning campaign....

A brief history of the footballing aesthetic (and its gradual death)

The death of football at its most beautiful peak, is nigh ‘Football is the beautiful game.’ A statement we have heard since childhood. Words which...

Southampton 2-5 Tottenham: Mourinho’s reply to his doubters

For the first time in his storied career, Jose Mourinho started a league season with a defeat. Facing a freshly reinforced Everton at home,...

Don't Miss

Barcelona Vs Real Madrid:The Dream Team vs The Galacticos

An imagining of a match between two famous El Clasico sides. The 1992 European Cup winning Barcelona team, known as “The Dream Team” versus...

The Evolution and Political Dynamism of Football in Mussolini’s Italy

On a November night in 1934, the English national football team faced their Italian counterparts, Nazionale di calcio dell'Italia. The match was held at...

The European Resurrections of Ever Banega

It seems fitting that Éver Banega’s final bow in European competition involved him lifting the Europa League. Barring a surprise reversal in the future,...

Súper Dépor! The rise and fall of Deportivo La Coruña

At the Start With the exception of a 2nd place finish to Helenio Herrera’s Atlético Madrid in 1948/49, Deportivo La Coruña have historically plied their...

Cruyffism through Spain

Spain has developed a unique commitment to technical football which has put them in good stead to make the past decade a period of Spanish dominance. The story to this dominance begin decades before hand when Cruyff decided that Barcelona would be the club he would next manage after his time at Ajax was over. He would create a cohesive identity for the club which kept the vision while finding success. This vision began with a number of manager who came before Cruyff but after Cruyff left, there would be many managers in Spain who would use his methods to discovery their own success.

Transfers

How will Coutinho fit in at Arsenal: Arteta’s new look 4-2-3-1 formation

English outlet, Express are reporting that Arsenal are considering a loan deal for Barcelona's record signing, Philippe Coutinho. The report indicates that Coutinho might have...

How will Pjanic fit in at Barcelona? A look at Barcelona’s 4-3-3 formation for next season

As the deal between Barcelona and Juventus regarding the transfers of Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic has almost been finalised, let's take a look...

Three best Premier League transfers of all time

The Premier League is famous for its lavish spending on player’s transfers. Top clubs like Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United have been spending...

Where will Kai Havertz play for Chelsea? A look at Lampard’s exciting 4-2-3-1 formation for next season

There have been several rumours surrounding Kai Havertz's transfer to Chelsea and Havertz's current boss, Peter Bosz has indicated that the winger might not...

Man United expected lineup against Sheffield United: Pogba & Bruno to start together for first time

Manchester United salvaged a draw against Tottenham in their first game post the lockdown. Their performance improved after the substitutions of Paul Pogba and...