“We’re going to use a 2-3-3-2…”
“…given that Bayern would probably be attacking for 75% of the match and in the opposition half, Pep wanted to populate the back line with two centre-halves and have the two full-backs push up next to Kroos…”
excerpt from “Pep Confidential: Inside Pep Guardiola’s First Season At Bayern”
Hey all, after a long holiday on Isla de Culebra I’m finally back in the comfort of my own home with reliable wifi. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of life in my beloved Brooklyn for 10 days, but there’s no place like home.
Anyway, when I was away I gave a lot of thought about what will be the focus of my next piece; a discussion of the roles of two important players and how they fit into this complex system of juego de posicion. Specicifally, David Alaba and Phillip Lahm also known as “The Double R(egista)s”.
In my last piece I mentioned that I am attempting to replicate and perfect the formation (2-3-3-2) Guardiola used in a Champions League Qtr Finals match between Man United and Bayern. A match that may well have contributed to United’s then manager’s (David Moyes) demise. I do need to share that this is my first attempt at writing a piece of this kind; a fairly in-depth player analyses. So I hope that you enjoy reading it and offer some constructive criticism as well.
Before I get into the analyses I also think it’s worth mentioning where my inspiration and influences for this tactic came from: Marcel ‘El Loco’ Bielsa, Juan Manuel Lillo, and Pep Guardiola. El Loco and Juanma are the most influential coaches on Pep after Johan Cruyff. I’m hoping to create a hybrid version of 2-3-3-2 containing elements from each manager; risky, intense and fluid version of juego de posicion played at a high tempo with the aim of applying pressure on the opposition to win back the ball and hit them break (counter) with precision passing. It is important that my players are intelligent and in good physical condition to play this style of football. Similarly, they must be tough (mentally) to withstand rigor and stress of playing at a high tempo over a long period of time.
Below is a link to a video the 2010’World Cup match up between Chile and España showing the intensity of El Loco’s style.
World Cup 2010: Chile vs Spain
So you got a glimpse of how I want the boys to play and I think they are capable of doing it; I wouldn’t try if I didn’t think they could pull it off.
I won’t give you a philosophical lesson on what is a regista because it’s already been done,and it not something new to football. In fact,2006 and 2010 World Cup winners Italy and Spain deployed one (Pirlo & Busquest) with good results. For this tactic to work, that is, dominate possession and attack the opponent’s in his own half, I need a group of skilled and technically gifted players to fill these roles. David Alaba and Phillip Lahm are fantastic players capable of taking on the responsibilities of this role. For example, each possess the skills to dictate the tempo; have the stamina and composure; they are will to drive forward and fulfill their defensive duties; they love to win the ball back and initiating attacks; occasionally they’ll run into the 6 yd and be a scoring threat. I am fortunate to have these blokes as players.
For instance, the above screen-shots highlight skills needed for the role. I won’t waste time regurgitating data points, but you can see that they have the skill and qualities to dominate their dictate the terms of a match.
Through eight league match both are averaging close to 4 tackles per match (3.85 vs 3.75). Conversely, Alaba’s desire to get forward is reflected in his average of 3.73 dribbles per match compared to Phillip’s 2.38. Their overall average ratings are practically identical, and they complete a large proportion of their passes: 84% (Alaba) vs 85%, respectively.
Dinamo Zagreb 0 | Bayern 3
Above is a detailed heat map showing the Double Rs completed passes and movement in a group stage match against Dinamo Zagreb in Zagreb. You can see each their moment throughout the match; the shaded areas are where they were most active; Alaba had key interceptions high up in the pitch in Dinamo’s half; Phillip was on mop up duty, that is, he tended to stay deep and drifted wide whenever Robben-WPM-S made forward run or drift inside into space (this was the first time I used a wpm in this tactic; Robben did great ) . Additionally, he provides additional defensive support to centre-halves and the DM.
Bundesliga Table (after 10 matches)
Through 10 games we sit at the top of the Bundesliga with 8 wins 1 draw (Shalke04 2-2); 1 loss (Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0, whom I’ve never beat). Our next match we travel to Frankfurt which I’m not looking forward to because Thiago tore knee ligaments the last time we went there. So it is safe for you to assume that I’m quite nervous about one of my players being injured. This might be an opportunity for me to give a few of the young players a chance to showcase their football intelligence. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on match day.
I want to thank @totalfootball71 and @sasfm21 for helping me figure this out and for being available to answer my questions. Again, feel free to reach out to them with questions you won’t be disappointed. I gotta give @cleon81 a shout out too because his work is a valuable resource to the community. The Deep Lying Podcast, great show and another resource. Also feel free to leave comments and make suggestions. Cheers.