soccerteamtactics.com Match Analysis: Pari Saint Germain - Barcelona

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© Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015 Match analysis: PSG - Barcelona Positive transition and individual quality were crucial By Athanasios Terzis PSG progressed against Chelsea with an outstanding performance, but had to face Barcelona having many top players unavailable. On the other hand Barcelona had all players available but on Saturday they lost a two goal lead against Sevilla and a four point lead (they now have two) against Real Madrid. Barcelona managed to achieve an outstanding score against PSG without performing accordingly and unless a miracle takes place they will be in the draw for the semifinals of the Champions League.
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Transcript of soccerteamtactics.com Match Analysis: Pari Saint Germain - Barcelona

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    Match analysis: PSG - Barcelona

    Positive transition and individual quality were crucial

    By Athanasios Terzis

    PSG progressed against Chelsea with an outstanding performance, but had

    to face Barcelona having many top players unavailable. On the other hand

    Barcelona had all players available but on Saturday they lost a two goal lead

    against Sevilla and a four point lead (they now have two) against Real Madrid.

    Barcelona managed to achieve an outstanding score against PSG without

    performing accordingly and unless a miracle takes place they will be in the

    draw for the semifinals of the Champions League.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    1st Half: Positive transition for Barca gave them the lead

    PSG: PGG started with a lopsided 4-3-3. Cavani was in the centre of attack

    while Pastore took up a position on the left and in a more advanced position

    than Lavezzi on the right. The last one was responsible for tracking Jordi

    Albas forward runs (who was more attacking minded than Montoya on the

    right) and was rather a side midfielder than a winger. During the defensive

    phase PSG switched from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1 as Pastore followed many times

    Montoya. However there were times that he stayed in advanced position

    ready to take advantage of the available space behind the fullback of

    Barcelona. Pastores positioning didnt have the aim of forcing Barcelonas

    play towards the other side (left) but to exploit the available space behind

    Barcelonas fullback as well as to create an overload on the left of PSG. This

    conclusion was made due to the fact that during the first half Pastore and

    Lavezzi switched sides, however they maintained the same tactical approach

    (Lavezzi followed Montoya and Pastore stayed higher leaving Rabiot to close

    down Alba). The three midfielders Campaye, Matuidi and Rabiot together with

    Lavezzi who helped them on the right, formed a team of four (sometimes five

    with Pastores contribution) that tried to retain cohesion (small distances

    between the players) in order to narrow the available passing lanes towards

    Barca players placed between the lines. Matuidi a very physically strong and

    quick player was placed on the left in order to double mark Messi together

    with Maxwell when the Argentine was positioned near the side line on the

    right. Cabaye at the same time was close enough to make it impossible for

    Messi to drive the ball towards the inside and pass or take a shot on goal just

    like the goal against Sevilla.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    The same tactical approach stood for the players on the right against Neymar,

    as Rabiot tried to provide support to V.D. Wiel and prevent the Brazilian from

    making driving runs towards the inside. As regards dealing with Messi, when

    the last one was in possession in the centre, the closest to him midfielder tried

    to put pressure on him and especially on his left foot, while the others

    provided cover.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    When Messi moved in front of the midfielders of PSG without being in

    possession, the closest to him midfielder (mainly Matuidi or Campaye) had to

    shorten his distance from him, especially when Messi was placed in an

    available passing lane. This was done in order to prevent him from receiving

    and turning towards PSGs goal. Finally when the Argentine was between the

    lines (between midfielders and defenders) PSGs midfielders tried to be aware

    of his positioning and put him in their shadows in order to prevent him from

    receiving.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    PSG waited for Barcelona to come within their defensive half or third. They

    tried to retain always a compact formation to restrict space for Barca players

    who struggled to retain possession when they tried to use their passing game

    within limited spaces. As regards the attacking phase Blancs team switched

    to a normal 4-3-3 as Pastore converged towards the inside and Lavezzi

    moved forward and towards the inside to create space for V.D. Wiel. It was

    obvious that they were searching for an opportunity to threaten Barca during

    direct positive transition. If this wasnt possible their aim was to take

    advantage of the indirect positive transition by moving the fullbacks in

    advanced positions (mainly Maxwell) and take advantage of Messis lack of

    contribution during defending. PSG created 2 or 3 times a 3 v 3 situation

    during the counter, but failed to make the appropriate decision. As regards

    attacking during indirect positive transition, Blancs team tried to take

    advantage of the overload created by Pastore, Maxwell and Matuidi on the

    left. The ball was directed to Maxwell several times and as Montoya moved

    forward to close him down, Matuidi found the available space behind him to

    exploit, receive and make a cross. At the same time at least three PSG

    players entered the box (Pastore, Kavani and Lavezzi).

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    Barcelona: Barca started with 4-3-3. Mascherano (in place of Mathieu) was

    the only player that didnt start the match against Sevilla. (Link:

    http://soccerteamtactics.com/index.php/match-nalysis/european-leagues/252-

    2015-04-13-15-13-53). Enriques tactical approach was more conservative as

    the one against Sevilla, as not all three forwards stayed high. Neymar on the

    left tracked V.D. Wiel, Suarez was between the two central defenders T. Silva

    and Marquinhos, while Messi many times left Maxwell unmarked and moved

    towards the centre to make it 2 v 2.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    Barcelona didnt put a lot of effort in applying pressing, as the attacking

    midfielders Iniesta and Rakitic avoided to move in very advanced positions to

    close down Campaye, who was usually free of marking. Instead they left

    Suarez to deal with him by trying to put him in his shadow. To deal with

    Maxwells forward runs Enrique instructed Montoya to move forward and

    close him down, but this stretched the defence of Barcelona as Busquets

    didnt have the appropriate synchronization to drop back and fill the gap as he

    did against Sevilla and as he usually does. As regards the attacking phase

    Barcelona tried to dominate possession and dictate the tempo. However they

    couldnt be creative through the centre as PSG players restricted the spaces

    despite Messis frequent positioning in midfield. On the right Montoya didnt

    seem very comfortable when moving forward, so Barca had to take advantage

    their left side and they did it as Iniesta, Alba and Neymar used combination

    play and took advantage of the available space. From an attacking move on

    this side came Messis shot on the post.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    As time went by, both teams tried to threaten through their left sides.

    Barcelona with combination play involving Iniesta, Alba and Neymar while

    PSG with the forward runs of Matuidi between the gaps created by Montoyas

    shifting away from his zone of responsibility. Barcelona managed to find PSG

    unbalanced during positive transition, after regaining possession on the left by

    Busquets while at the same time Marquinhos had moved forward and

    Campaye had stayed back to retain balance. Busquets passed to Rakitic and

    V.D. Wiel decided to move forward and put him under pressure, leaving

    Neymar free of marking behind his back. This reaction unbalanced PSG as

    when Messi received the pass from Rakitic a 3 v 2 situation was created.

    Messi passed at the right time to Neymar and the last one didnt miss the

    chance.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    Then PSG tried to press higher but without putting much energy, so Barca

    broke through them easily and moved the ball forward. Blanc switched sides

    to Pastore and Lavezzi but the two players worked as they did before. Lavezzi

    tracked Montoya when the last one moved forward and Pastore left Rabiot to

    deal with Alba. This was an opportunity for Barca to take advantage of the

    situation as the left was their stronger side, but they failed to do it and nothing

    changed until the half time whistle.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    2nd Half: Individual quality of Suarez gave Barca a safety score

    As soon as the second half started PSG searched with more intense the

    equalizer, but without changing something tactically. Blanc took a risk in a

    couple of cases as both fullbacks moved forward at the same time. The only

    threat for Barca came with the shots outside the box, while both teams

    continue to attack better on their left. PSG coach made their team more

    attacking minded by switching Rabiot with Lucas (an attacking minded player)

    while at the same time he switched to 4-4-2. Pastore took a position near

    Cavani and Lavezzi moved on the left (Lucas was on the right).

    However the team that managed to score the second goal was Barcelona.

    This was achieved after an excellent individual action by Suarez on the left,

    during which he left behind him three PSG players (David Luiz, Marquinhos

    and Maxwell). PSG had to play their last card, so they pressed high by

    moving close to Barcelona players while Matuidi shifted close to Mascherano

    (who in the meantime was moved to a defensive midfielders position) and

    Campaye stayed between Xavi and Busquets.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    Barcelonas third was scored by Suarez after a combination play in the centre

    which involved him and Mascherano. This goal gave Barcelona an extra

    boost. The Catalans were far more comfortable during possession, even in

    very tight spaces, during the last stages of the game and moved the ball with

    ease among the disappointed PSG players, despite Mathieus own goal.

  • Copyright by Athanasios Terzis 2015

    Conclusion: Barcelona managed to take advantage of the positive transition

    in order to score the opening goal, at a moment that the match seemed

    balanced despite Barcas domination in possession. Then the individual

    quality of Suarez and the bad reaction of David Luiz in two duels against the

    Uruguayan enabled the Catalan team to achieve a stunning score without

    performing in a stunning way. PSG were probably affected by the many top

    players who were unavailable, such as Ibrahimovic, Verati and they lost T.

    Silva early in the first half. So they are travelling to Barcelona having only very

    few chances to progress.