The case for taking more touches not less in soccer. And it’s ironic that this idea comes from coaches who’s teams epitomizes the idea of one and two touch football. Or at least their teams move the ball quickly and keep possession of the ball like no other teams in the world. Those teams being Barcelona and Manchester City. The kings of possession and tiki taka football.
But the idea is to take more touches of the soccer ball, hold on to it, shield it, protect it, so you can draw in more defenders and then release the ball to a now more open teammate. It’s an obvious soccer strategy when you think about it. The best attacking players and playmakers draw in defenders and setup their teams for chances on goal. And one player at Barcelona is beginning to do this more and more and his name is Pedri.
From Sid Lowe’s piece on Pedri in the Guardian:
There is a line from Juanma Lillo, now assistant coach at Manchester City, about Iniesta that fits Pedri, Valerón and Silva. Far from the idea of one-touch football, Lillo said Iniesta would take as many touches as he could, to draw opponents in, commit them and then play the pass, taking them all out of the game, creating time and space for teammates. He would embrace the risk because he could, because he knew at some subconscious level that he was better. Pedri applies it to Sergio Busquets: “He has to hold, attract, leave someone else one-on-one: we know he can face five, six and clean them out. You have to attract opponents, be able to go alone.”
It’s not just setting up teammates though when holding on to the ball a bit longer or pausing for a moment. You can also set yourself up if you’re calm as defenders rush at you.
Pedri scores SENSATIONAL goal for Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Pedri scores one of the better goals in recent memory with this cool, calm and composed finish for Barcelona against Sevilla in La Liga.