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[av_heading heading=’Arsenal vs Barcelona: Different game strategies to prepare the 2nd leg battle’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author: Joao Nuno Fonseca

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The 1st leg of this game had a different approach in terms of strategy on both sides.
The quantitative data available on the match report from Wyscout says that in the 1st half of the game Arsenal held its average position (block) at 46.22 m and in the 2nd half at 51.45 m.

Arsenal decided to start the game in a compact block

most of the time in a lower position on the pitch with references on the zone to press and control the movements of the midfielders/forwards of FC Barcelona.

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In some moments of the 1st half Arsenal force Barcelona to play long diagonal balls to the weak side.
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It was a clear lack of  rhythm of Barcelona players to move the compact defensive block of Arsenal to create spaces during the 1st half.
The centre-backs had more sideways and backward passes rather than provoking with vertical passes.

When they lose possession of the ball Arsenal don’t take real advantage of the space behind the defensive line. This can be the key for Arsenal to have more chances to score in Camp Nou, because when Barcelona lose possession they usually press the ball carrier and most likely this will allow more vertical spaces.
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Different approach in the 2nd half when Arsenal changed strategy and started to press high on the field and tried to prevent FC Barcelona from playing.
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The block of Arsenal clearly changed the way Barcelona started building up

and when they passed this first phase of pressure the Arsenal defence was at times deep. This allowed the forwards Messi, Suarez and Neymar to make vertical runs and score the first goal through an offensive transition, as you can see in the image below.

Monreal focused on the movement of 9. Suarez is 6. Koscielny and Suarez left space for Messi who was left alone to score the 1st goal.
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Some mapping positioning information supported by TV footage images from some games during this season allow to understand how Mertesacker reacted very early, mainly in defensive transition at this particular moment of the game.
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Arsenal need to score and the pressure is on them if they want to progress in UEFA Champions League

but if they commit again this kind of defensive errors on defensive transition it will be very difficult to progress and make history and give them the first victory in Camp Nou. They’ve conceded seven goals in their last two Champions League games in Camp Nou.
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Joao Nuno Fonseca
Senior Football Match Analyst

Joao Nuno Fonseca hold an MSc in Sports Training with specialisation in Football under the guidance of the Professor Jose Guilherme. Start his professional career during University in Academica de Coimbra – 1st Division Portugal, as match analyst for the historical club. Won the Portuguese Cup in 2012 against Sporting Lisbon. Currently is Senior Football Match Analyst for ASPIRE Academy in Doha – Qatar and U19 Qatar National Team.

www.joaonunofonseca.com

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