Sevilla, after scoring early in the European Super Cup, tried hard to deny Barcelona any chances to have a go at the goal. Unai Emery’s team adopted a compact defensive approach (they, unfortunately, conceded many free kicks and Lionel Messi scored two). Here is an analysis of Sevilla’s compactness and defensive structure.
Sevilla positioned themselves in such a manner that they were compact – both horizontally and vertically. Being compact helps a team defend easily (maintaining a low block). Sevilla’s compactness did not allow Barcelona any chances to penetrate through the middle.
Sevilla’s compactness also allowed the players to press the opponents easily and effectively. Here, Dani Alves is forced to turn around by as he is being pressed and all his forward passing options have been marked and occupied or the passing lanes are blocked. A pass to Rakitic on the right wing will shift Sevilla’s defence furthermore towards the right and creates an overload in the right flank in their favour.
Looking at this scenario from the top reveals us that this compactness of Sevilla has helped them to gain numerical superiority in midfield (red zone – 5v4). This forces Barcelona not to play any direct passes through or into this region.
A close observation of the above-explained scenario also reveals the defensive structure of Sevilla. Emery’s team have laid out a pressing trap in their compact midfield zone. The pressing trap denied Barcelona the prospect of playing short passing games in the right wing and right half-space region.
The structure is a polygon with Ever Banega at the center of it. If the ball is played into this trap it will be won back by Sevilla. But the positioning of Banega and the optimal distance that he has maintained from his teammates also allows Sevilla to play short passes, escape Barcelona’s pressing and retain the ball for little longer – a well-planned pressing trap and an escape route! But Alves passed the ball back to Busquets.
The two players at the far end – Andres Iniesta and Rafinha Alcantara are under the radar of Reyes and Coke respectively. That is, when Sergio Busquets passes the ball to Barcelona’s left flank both Reyes and Coke will close down Iniesta and Rafinha, while the rest of the team shifts its compact defensive block to the other side.
Whatever might be the case – right wing or left wing, Sevilla have maintained a strong presence in the midfield and this doesn’t allow Barcelona to play the through balls.