Copa del Rey: The tactical keys of the Clásico: the anti-Vinicius plan, the new role of Gavi and Raphinha, the insignificance of Benzema…


ANDhe Clásico of this first round of the Cup semifinal played at the Santiago Bernabu was an atypical party. For the first time we saw a Madrid with an indisputable control of the ball. Also for the first time in a long time we saw a Bara in survivor modesunk in his field and embraced his impeccable defensive system.

Madrid lived permanently in the Barça field and not even half a clear scoring opportunity is remembered. At the Santiago Bernabu, with all his offensive arsenal in contention. It is said soon. That occupation of spaces and many other tactical details marked the fate of this Cup Clásico. Here are some of the determining factors of it.

High pressure lines and the double pivot Kroos-Camavinga

Unlike other Classics, Ancelotti opted to present from the beginning a very advanced line of pressure. The absence of Pedri in the unmarked support and Lewandowski to hold long balls limited the Barça resources at the start. That translated into a longer possession of Madrid, which marked the times of the game and lived more than usual in the field of Xavi’s men.

Bara also tried to press their rival at the start, but Ancelotti arranged a double pivot formed by Kroos and Camavinga that airs the circulation of Madrid in further back positions. With Modric off the hook and Valverde as a false winger. Camavinga was in line with the German to always offer an extra option to the ball holder. The drawing worked except for the ball lost by the Frenchman that ended in the Barca goal.

The aid in the anti-Vinicius plan

As usual in the Late Classics, Araujo moved to the right side to face Vinicius. Drying the Brazilian was an obligatory task to get out of the Bernabu unscathed. The Uruguayan was not alone and Xavi planted an aid system that worked perfectly. First with the tilt of Frenkie de Jongwhich was the pivot that floated towards that right wing of Bara on multiple occasions.

The second help came from Araujo’s partner in the band, the Brazilian raphinha. The Barcelona extreme saw him especially engaged in defensive work and his withdrawal was another pillar on which the solid defensive system of Bara was based.

The lower block of Bara

The push of Madrid, the casualties of Bara and surely a good handful of other factors led Bara to defend more sunk than ever. It had been a long time since Xavi’s men had joined lines so close to Ter Stegen.

And in this intensive withdrawal, the role of the extremes was especially relevant, Raphinha and Gavi, and the offensive reference, Ferran Torres. The first two acted as false sides and the last one was sometimes located in the pivot position so that the opposite end to where the game was could stay a little more off the hook.

Without spaces for Benzema

That Bara joined their lines in just 20 meters seriously damaged Karim Benzema’s participation in the Clásico. The Frenchman is not exactly going through his best momentbut in close matches like this Cup semifinal, the combination of the Ballon d’Or and its association in intermediate lines always gives Ancelotti’s Madrid a plus of clarity

But Benzema drowned between the two central defenders and the positioning of Busquets and De Jong. She couldn’t connect between the lines because there was almost no distance between them. He did not fall on the wing either and his game was intermittent and, what is worse, inconsequential in many phases of the game. That’s where the attack of Ancelotti’s men died out.

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