I’m not going to talk about the Euro finals as you expect but as always, I’m going to talk football. Don’t get it twisted, football is a beautiful thing *♪♫ John Aggrey again …..♪♫*
I’m a happy man but at the same time, I’m a very sad man. How on earth would someone come up and say TIKI TAKA is boring?
I’m a big tiki taka fan and in my short explanation of how I understand Tiki taka and in my effort to prove to you why it isn’t boring –
I’m not a very good writer when it comes to tactical formation but one thing that out rightly stands out for me from my small analysis of teams that play Tiki Taka is that even the goal keeper plays a very pivotal role in this assembly of play.
So on that point, let me spell out my formation in the simplest of terms. 3-4-3 is the example I’m gonna use today, though in most cases, they’ll be four guys at the back just right in front of the goal keeper. But since I just explained, the goalkeeper in this case is part of the formation; allow me use the ‘term’ 1-3-4-3 so that you are able to see how the goal keeper plays.
“When we have the football everybody’s a player. The difference with us is that when we have the ball we play with 11 men, other teams play with 10 and a goalkeeper.” Brendan Rodgers
Barcelona just like other teams who play this type of football sometimes use the 1-4-3-3 system which in turns reverts to a 1-4-5-1 when the team is under pressure but for this article today, I going to dwell on the 1-3-4-3 sytem.
The (1) who’s the goal keeper acts as a sweeper and has a set of similar roles as the two center backs just right in front of him. He’s expected to act as a pressure relief for under pressure team mates.
The 3 is further subdivided into a 2-1 with the two playing just right infront of the keeper and the 1 linking the midfield and the defensive line. Unlike in other formations where the two are expected to be sweepers and should not allow any sight of the ball in their area, in this formation; they are expected to play a huge role in keeping possession. They act as a pressure relief to the midfield and as well as an option for the goal keeper to play the ball to. Instead of passing the ball 30, 40 or even 50 yards as expected, majority of their passes are kept under 10 yards.
So now let’s come to the (1) just infront of the two defenders, the ‘volante de salida’ which simply translates as – the outlet for under pressure team mates. A good example for me would be Leon Britton – good at keeping possession, keep their passes short and on target and can dictate the tempo of the game for long periods in a match.
Going forward to the wingers who out rightly at times fall back to form the (4) in case of emergency defending. They are expected to act as support to players in possession – what I always refer to as running off the ball. They are expected to move forward and fall back when play dictates so. They always opt to cross the ball from opponent’s bye line rather from the deep.
This now leaves me to explain the role of the two midfielders in the middle who just like the player playing right behind them, is expected to have high standards of passing ability, vision and awareness to keep possession. They work as box to box midfielders and high stamina levels are needed for players in this position.
They do not necessarily look to create the spectacular, but are the catalyst in the change of speed in which the possession play is being played at, the moments of which they choose to change speed and direction of the ball are key to the succession in creating opportunities to create an assist or goal.
The Front three –
Everybody loves goals- that I know. Actually a match where everybody is keeping possession in the middle of the pack and nobody’s scoring becomes boring with time and trust me, I’d soon be sleeping and at the 90, my wife would wake me up thinking I was watching only to be shocked when I ask about the score line. More often than not, it’s a 0-0 and a 1-0/0-1 in very rare cases.
These (3) are further subdivided into a (2-1) where the two are probably the most creative players in the side on the ball either in the sense of dribbling ability of passing ability to create. Messi, Pedro, Dyer, Cuenca are good examples and portray the expected qualities. It’s responsible for much of the goal scoring in Tiki Taka but also as well as assisting of goals.
A quick example comes to my head, 2010-2011 CL final. The Pedro goal – look at his body positioning, look at how Villa drifts away when every player thinks he’s getting the pass and meanwhile watch Messi’s run – you can now see why they are responsible for most of the goals.
The front (1) should not be a gamble right now. His role is clearly defined – player who is good technically and can hold the ball very well as well as link up the play. The difference here to what a traditional long ball target man will be that the lay off to a team mate will usually follow up with this player spinning away to find space and having full awareness of where space is around him in all areas of the field, the 360 degrees of vision with and without the ball. I would pick Villa for this job any day… (With all due respect)
Just so that it sounds we are in a class –
Note that in this system; Opportunity outweighs desperation. The only viable option is to turn and play the ball back which then may well get played all the way across to the other side of the pitch even if you are under pressure to attack and get a goal, or even back to the same side if the opponents defensive positioning has changed. Patience is the key here and the general rule that one goal is scored to every nine shots will alter due to the quality of opportunity created being significantly better.
Lastly, ‘nobody is greater than the team and as an athlete; always play for the name at the front of the shirt so that people will always have to remember the name at the back’
“I get the ball, I pass, I get the ball, I pass, I get the ball, I pass” (Xavier Hernandez)
Do you still think TIKI TAKA is boring? Or, do you still think possessing too much when playing against an opponent is boring? Do you think Messi and Co are ever bored of playing football? Think twice.
I’m a big Arsenal fan, so let Fabregas tell you as it is;