The battle for the ball, the super intense pressure and other keys to Barça-Las Palmas

After the national team break, Barça returns to the competition with the clear objective of returning to the sensations with which it left off.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
29 March 2024 Friday 16:22
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The battle for the ball, the super intense pressure and other keys to Barça-Las Palmas

After the national team break, Barça returns to the competition with the clear objective of returning to the sensations with which it left off. And they will try it against one of the teams that plays the best in the League: La U.D. The Palms. A meeting that will mark the return of Garcia Pimienta home. Here are my 5 keys to this fantastic match:

Given that the Basque central defender is the only one who has not been burdened by national teams, it is practically certain that he will start in the central axis. At his side, we will see if Cubarsi or Araujo. The few minutes of the youth squad with the national team in these two games and the Uruguayan's discomfort mean that, most likely, it will be Pau Cubarsí. Managing loads will be one of the ingredients that Xavi Hernández will surely take into account with a view to the first leg of the Champions League Quarterfinals. For the same reason and because of his great second half against Atlético de Madrid, it is very likely that Sergi Roberto will also be in the starting eleven today. A match in which Sergi Roberto's good interpretation of the game and clarity in pressing could be important against a well-established team like Las Palmas.

Whoever has the ball the most will have a great chance of winning today. And, with less quality but with the same intention, Las Palmas is the second team that has the most possession in this League. With a 58% percentage, it equals Madrid and is 3% ahead of Girona or 4% over Real Sociedad for example. A positive factor for today's rival but it means that he also suffers a lot when he doesn't have the ball. And that is one of the things that Barça has to exploit tonight. If the blaugranas make the Canary Islands team have to chase the ball instead of having it, it will take them out of the game and they will end up becoming emotionally exasperated and breaking down as a football unit. It will be the first step to generate offensive flow in Álvaro Vallés' area.

Continuing with the above, García Pimienta's men are also a brave team without the ball. They do not lower height but quite the opposite. The defensive line is always or almost always in the medium-high zone. In fact, with 45% of the total, Las Palmas is the team that spends the most playing time in the wide zone of the game. This translates into spaces behind the backs for deep tackles. Barça has to exploit this aspect by entering into vertical breakouts, overflowing with speed or dribbling and accompanying this overflow with quick crosses and arrivals from behind. The defense of the Canary Islands team is not fast at all in retreating and suffers a lot in this sequence.

It is not usual for Barça to have a team in front of them that wants to build the game from behind. Today you will have it and you have to take advantage of it. As?

Inviting Las Palmas to the first pass and immediately afterwards pressing in pairs and in a super intense way. In today's soccer, a good high press is one of the most productive weapons to generate scoring chances and, for today's opponent, it hurts to have a team that presses well. Clear situations can be created from there. The first line is decisive in this.

To talk about the dangers of Las Palmas we must start with Kirian Rodríguez. The skilled midfielder is the player with the most game criteria and the most decisive player in Las Palmas in most facets of the game. With an average of 81.7 passes per game, he is the third most associated player in the League. He has a good short pass and an excellent foot for the filtered pass. With 1.1 per game, he is also the one who gives the most key passes on the Canarian team. And also, he is their top scorer with six goals. His weight in the game is enormous. Also highlight the former Barça player Sandro Ramírez. He can act as a nine or start from the left in the usual 1-4-3-3. Through the football framework and the confidence of García Pimienta, he has recovered the best version of himself. Furthermore, with spaces, he can exploit all of his football strengths. With a total of 2.2 shots per game, he is the Las Palmas player who tries the most. And finally, he is obliged to mention one of the greatest young talents in this League: Alberto Moleiro. He is coming from discomfort but will be available. Talent and pure creativity. The footballer who dribbles the most and best in Las Palmas.