Most helpful critical review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2012
Whilst there was terrific detail about how Barca defend in their attacking half and third, I was a bit disappointed as there was little on how Barca defended in their own half (pp146-156). I expected to see extensive detail on how Barca set up to deal with counter attacking, their main goal threat. Another aspect not covered is how Barca defend crosses as they are not a tall team. There is nothing on how Barca deal with long diagonal balls, such as Alonso makes, which changes the point of attack.
Also it would have been useful to have drills to help train teams to defend like Barca.
The main emphasis is how Barca aim to win back possession by forcing the opponent to pass out wide. Then Barca work collectively to close down space and mark players in the ball zone (area around ball carrier). This limits passing options. Barca tries to make the situation 1 v 2. From pages 27-116, elaborate detail is provided and for many opposition formations. Essentially it is the same message. This detail is good but repetitive.don't be mistaken, a lot of effort went into this but the main analysis is narrow.
There is no specific statement on Barca's 5-second rule: upon a turnover, Barca chase down the ball and close down players to win back the ball in 5 seconds or 3 passes. If the ball is not won back in that time, Barca set up their compact defensive shape and work collectively. Barca also use this tactic when there is a difficult ball to control or when a player is facing his goal. This generalised rule helps simplify the tactics employed by Barca which is detailed in the book.
Simon Kuper article "Barcelona's secret to soccer success" summarises the key elements of Barca's game.
Bernie, Youth Soccer Coach & Barca Tragic