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What Will Ronald Koeman Bring To Barcelona?

When working with the Netherlands, he had similar talent to that he will inherit at Barcelona. Ronald Koeman started using a 4-3-3 that was often open and attacking before his switch to three centre backs against front threes. More so than any of his previous sides, his Dutch side emphasised the traditions valued at the Catalan club. The priority is possession and to have an attacking impetus.

Even the goalkeeper has been involved in this. When in possession, he can act almost as an extra central defender. This has increased the passing options, allowing the Netherlands’ build up play to flow better.

The midfield three are always in a triangle, normally with a single pivot but occasionally two depending on the opposition. Frenkie De Jong has often taken up a role as the influential pivot where Sergio Busquets has played for the last decade for the Blaugrana. The fullbacks and wide forwards also rotate to test the opposition and to create more space for passing options for the pivot(s).

When possession has progressed into the final third, horizontal passes are rare. They prefer vertical passes or passes into dangerous areas.

The Dutch have faced a lot of sides that try to counterattack them rather than press them. This saw the central defenders push up the pitch more, especially when they had the ball, and could be seen as an extra midfielder.

Koeman’s side would often try to move the deep blocks using switches. By switching the play, the low blocks would have to shuffle across but if they weren’t quick enough, they were leaving space for the Netherlands to exploit.


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