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[av_heading heading=’INDIVIDUAL BATTLES AND COMBINED MANOEUVRES TO GET FREE’ tag=’h3′ 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: Francesco Farioli

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Ten seconds that changed the course of a match, perhaps of an entire competition. The play that led to Bayern’s draw against Juventus during the Champions League round of 16 embodies the entire essence of the game of football: individual battles, combined manoeuvres to get free, defensive/offensive transition, breadth, depth, density and concentration.
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The game began with a 1-on-1 on the Juventus backs. At that moment, three Bayern forwards marked the three Juventus centre backs (Barzagli, Bonucci and Evra).

First interesting fact: it seems like it was the Bayern forwards who initially sought out the opposing defenders and not the opposite, with a specific layout (this will also be confirmed by the final big data).
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Second interesting fact: the passing trajectories. When the ball is about to be played vertically, there are three players on the same passing trajectory, but as the ball advances, the players open up through a combined manoeuvre to get free, three different solutions in an area packed with rival players.
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It is important to note how Guardiola’s team overturns the main rules of collective tactics. In the tactical rules we read that it is “the player closest to the ball who dictates the first move” and the others move based on this.

However, these images show us the exact opposite.
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When the ball goes from being covered to being half uncovered, Muller begins his move (the farthest from the ball) who, passing in front of Barzagli and attacking Bonucci from behind, frees up a space that Lewandowski skilfully occupies.
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“The cut belongs to the player who sees it, and the player that sees it must follow it.”

This is another scholastic football concept that Bayern uses to its favour. Barzagli, following the cutting manoeuvre, even if just for a few steps, will be late coming out.

What follows is a combined, two-player (actually three) manoeuvre to get free and a combination in the channel that, nevertheless, does not end well immediately.
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If Vidal had received the ball, he would have had to advance with the ball along the sideline with two possible passing solutions.
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Bayern loses the ball (negative/defensive transition) and, in less than a second, Vidal, guilty of not having controlled the ball, goes to take it back (positive/offensive transition).

The final match Big Data show us how often the players who have lost ball possession the most are those who have taken the most back.
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The series of plays analysed demonstrates a willingness to constantly seek orchestrated moves typical of Guardiola’s philosophy and concept of football that can be summed up in this quote from the Barcelona period.
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“If the opponent plays tight, we attack them wide. If they play wide, we attack them tight.”

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In the firm belief that whoever controls transitions wins matches.

In conclusion, let’s see what would have happened if that “pointless” or badly timed, as some may have defined it, cutting manoeuvre had not taken place or if the Juventus players had gone a few centimetres farther.
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1) Without the cut:
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2) Question of centimetres: close the ball.
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Francesco Farioli
Aspire Academy (Qatar Football Association), Senior Goalkeeper Coach, Video Match & Performance Analysis.
www.francescofarioli.com

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