the 5-5-0 and another plan stuck in history

“In prehistoric times, today and 100,000 years from now, it is very difficult to attack a 5-5-0. There are no spaces. And they are masters of defense.” Pep Guardiola admitted the enormous difficulty it presented Diego Simeone with his double defensive wall for this first duel of the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Eventually, with nothing left and after so many accidents, the Manchester City managed to find a small hole, thanks to the talent of Phil Foden and the resolution of Kevin de Bruyne, win the first leg with the minimum difference. Although the series has been left open and everything will be defined next week in a Wanda Metropolitano that will boil to see if the pass for the semifinals is cooked.

The two lines of five of Atlético.

The two lines of five of Atlético.

A bit of history

Pep’s historical allusion is nothing new and reflects something that has happened over time in the world of football: the different defensive systems, some almost impregnable, emerged in opposition to more offensive proposals. The sentence of the Catalan DT could very well have been uttered by Sepp Herbergerthe coach of Germany at the 1938 World Cup when his team fell 4-2 and were knocked out by the Austrian’s humble Switzerland Karl Rappan. Yes, the inventor of the “verrou” (translated as lock), a system that included one more defender than the three already existing at the time the WM system predominated in Europe, popularized by the mid-1920s by Herbert Chapman in English football.

Rappan's lock in Switzerland 1938.

Rappan lock in Switzerland 1938.

Even the great Alfredo Di Stéfano could have agreed with Guardiola’s opinion when his Real Madrid, five times European Cup champion (now Champions), lost the 1964 final against the legendary Inter de Helenio Herrerathe Argentine technician who had perfected Rappan’s lock to create the Catenaccio, a defensive system with free and stopper that he had already used in the 1960s Nereo Rocco in his successful Milan.

See also

Chess game

Simeone tried to defend with a low wall with a logical objective: not to give up space. “I’ll leave the ball to you,” Atlético de Madrid seemed to be saying to City. “But not the spaces.” Of course the initial 5-3-2 did not last long seeing that Guardiola’s men immediately activated the continuous change of orientation, from band to band, where their two extremes awaited. Pep’s idea was to insist with the width to try to move that defensive block of granite, lengthen it as much as possible and that the rival’s permanent inclination generate gaps.

The Athletes vs.  the city.  He almost did not step on the rival area.

The Athletes vs. the city. He almost did not step on the rival area.

After 17 minutes of play, noticing Cancelo’s increases on the right wing with each action, Cholo strengthened his tactics: Griezmann and Joao Félix, theoretically the two forwards, were ordered to go back up by wing to avoid the possible 1v2 against both mattress lanes (Vrsaljko and Lodi). Thus, he emptied the offense, protected his line of five with another equal ahead and in his desire to always have a man on defense, he intelligently chose to walk away. Giovanni Pietre. The City center-back has been free to lead the rival pitch, but he has never been able to turn that dominance into scoring situations.

See also

A) Yes, it was played as Simeone wanted. That is to say that City handled the ball as usual but failed to go deeper. No sooner said than done. The first half ends with two convincing data: 73% possession for Pep’s men but no shots on goal defended by Jan Oblak. negotiation.

This way of defense, so compact and withdrawn, is not new to Cholo. In the Champions 2021 he had also tried a line of six behind, in the series against Chelsea. In that draw, in which he sometimes tried a 1-6-3-1, it wasn’t enough because he was finally out. View:

Simeone's defensive system against Chelsea.

Simeone’s defensive system against Chelsea.

On the premises there was a feeling of frustration on the way to the changing rooms. Despite the breadth that Mahrez and Sterling gave in each band, that “being wide to be deep” was not satisfied because there were no spaces inside. The Atleti wall did not go unnoticed. Gundogan, De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva failed to filter into the internal intervals. The circulation of the City was slow, dense, with predictable and safe passages. Perhaps he did not risk avoiding the robbery of Atleti and that he came out immediately against it, as he did well in that semifinal of 2016 against Pep’s Bayern. Although With Griezmann and Joao Félix closer to Oblak than Ederson, the chances of harming the locals were utopian. Likewise, the pressure after the defeat was the Manchester team’s most outstanding action. A good…

See also

The monotonous and boring game of chess of the first half was not repeated in the complement because Simeone passes to 5-4-1, freeing Griezmann to transform him into an offensive reference in order not to totally give up the offensive pass. Thus, the game has opened up a bit. And when Atleti had spawned some open field runs towards Ederson’s goal, Guardiola moved the bench. Among those who entered was Phil Foden. The young wonder, one of several seriously, held the key to opening the game. In an action he receives from behind in three quarters, controls and turns in a split second, faces and passes the ball forward to De Bruyne through the only gap that Atletico has granted: Reinildo’s open legs. The Belgian received, aimed at the far post and that precise cross shot meant the 1-0 final. Yup, one pipe, in a rush of Foden inspiration, was enough to tear down a wall. Goodbye blackboard.

The goal of the city:

Did you help Simeone, albeit with a different system, to emulate Rappan, Helenio Herrera and many other historical supporters of low-block defense? The partial result would seem to indicate n. But The reality is that Atleti left Etihad alive. It doesn’t matter to Cholo the memes that have gone viral on the networks with all the players of the Spanish team behind or with the bus in front of the door. He knows that Wanda will have to keep the lock and find another plan to survive in the Champions League. But that will be another story. “

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.