Saturday, February 24, 2007

Analysis On Riise's Goal: Screen By Screen

Well, I seldom do this. But just by watching the replay, you'll figure that Rijkaard gambled big time by taking off Xavi and Motta for the attacking prowess of Iniesta and Giuly but left his defence horribly exposed.

Especially more so when their defence aren't even good enough.

Full Replay:

Screen 1:


The player on the ball is Steve Finnan. There are 2 players closing down on him but like Shankly used to say that when there are more than one player with you, there is another team mate of yours unmarked. Looking right in front of him is of all player, Gerrard unmarked. The player supposed to mark him is Gianluca Zambrotta but he got sucked in to Finnan's run.

The blue arrow indicates Bellamy's run, which is right across Marquez and into the space vacated by Puyol. The white line is where Kuyt will run into. So in short, Bellamy made the space for Kuyt. 4 white shirts right in front of 3 defenders.

Screen 2:


Steve Finnan did the logical thing by passing it to the unmarked Steven Gerrard. Now you could see Zambrotta scrambling back to cover his own arse and Puyol had no choice but to move into his vacated position to try and stop Gerrard. You could see Barca's defence moving downwards, leaving a HUGE gap at the top for Riise, unmarked. Now there are 3 players with Gerrard and Marquez had to track Bellamy's run.

Look at the closest player around Kuyt. All of them off the pace and were not aware of the situation at all. Now Kuyt will move into where the green arrow is and Gerrard, using his awareness and vision, will send the ball to the empty space.

Screen 3:


Gerrard sends the ball forward into the space in which Kuyt will run into and look at the three circled players. All of them in and around Gerrard, leaving a huge gap behind.

Screen 4:


Kuyt got the ball, his first touch let him down. Marquez's header was half cleared and it fell kindly for Bellamy. Composed and with fantastic vision, he spotted the empty space behind yet another THREE Barcelona defenders. That circled area is where Riise will appear and fire home the winner.

Screen 5:


I don't think I need to go in depth with this picture. Pretty self explanatory. But look at how many players in and about Riise. You got it. NONE.

So there are serious deficiencies and inadequacies in Barcelona especially the back line. I touched on it few months back when we're drawn against them that they are vulnerable to aerial threats and also, the players are tactically not aware of things around them. The need to watch their back post is important yet all the players seemed to get drawn to where the ball is.

Next thing is Rijkaard got it absolutely wrong to take off Xavi and Motta. If they're still on the pitch, I do not think that Kuyt, Gerrard or Riise will have that sort of space given to them. So much so that without them, the Barca defence were pulled out of shape by Bellamy's run and were confused. They didn't know their role and lacked the necessary composure.


TLR said...

You might be being a little tough generalising about the Barca defence by analysing one play. But I get where you're coming from.

The kind of space offered for Riise happens in all forms of football when an overlap of extra attackers happens.

All you need is a player on the ball with a bit of awareness and patience and the right man will get the ball in the end.

Firstly it was Gerrard and then Bellamy who were composed and skillful when it mattered.

Every Barca player who left space behind them had to follow the man they were chasing.

Don't forget that if the clearing header after Kuyt ran out of space had of been effective, Riise would never have seen the ball.

Again, I see what you're saying, but sometimes it's not that simple.

Brilliant goal none the less!


Yes, of course I'm not the best tactician out there but you could tell that Barca committed too many men forward and there isn't a defensive midfielder that is there to cover the 'holes' and pick up the extra man.

Deco was the closest to Kuyt. What the heck?

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TLR said...

I think that's their trademark. Sending too many players forward.

Most teams Barca come up against are naturally busy enough contending with their attacking players, let along worrying about going forward themselves.

Liverpool showed great courage breaking against them in numbers themselves and were duly rewarded.