To press or not to press? This has always been the question in football. Barcelona, in Cruyff’s and later Pep’s era, were known to have a special style. ‘Total football’ under Cruyff, ‘Tikitaka’/’Juego De Posicion’ under Pep.
Pressing is important in football. It is usually used to force the opponent to act quickerץ Often resulting in errors if the pressure is applied correctly. Years after years, pressing has been developed in two categories: The man-marking and the zonal marking. However, the latter one being preferred nowadays.
However, the Blaugranas were known to be press resistant. The small stature of players with the likes of Xavi(1.70m), Messi(1.7m) and Iniesta(1.71m) was never a problem. In fact, the Catalans often use their small stature in their advantage by using body feints to escape the opposite press. Currently, Frenkie De Jong and Puig are great examples of these techniques.
However, the Blaugranas also pressed themselves. From the attack to the defense, the press was organised as one man-They went forward as one man.
Alas, today we see a big difference. We are shocked when other teams don’t fear us and press us high. Messi and Suarez press little or not at all, resulting in only 8 players pressing, even though everyone should press.
As a consequence, we are inducted in errors. Take games against Liverpool, R.Sociedad or the last one against Deportive Alavés. When we were struggling, it’s because they press us higher.
This is unacceptable. This is a common pattern Barcelona are experiencing recently, and it’s even worse considering we mostly have press resistant players. We have to improve that in 2020 or we might experience a Anfield v2.0/a Roma v3.0.