Real Zaragoza: the footsteps of Carcedo

The pre-season is a time to observe intentions more than to draw conclusions, and to Royal Zaragoza of Juan Carlos Carcedo You can already see well-defined goals and basic ideas in his football. Only a week before the start of the school year, that’s what counts, much more than the results, the goals conceded, conceded, the performances, the generalities of the game… Zaragoza have been shaped over the past five weeks, not least by incorporating new features into their football compared to last year. Concepts and tactical mechanisms in which it is possible to identify the personal imprint of their new coach: open field pressure as a defensive premise and the primary desire of the team to arm themselves with greater offensive solutions and to deploy further up the pitch are the two pillars the new Real Zaragoza is trying to get up from.

1. More ball, more prominence

Even an opponent of Betis’ substance and characteristics hasn’t altered the baselines of Carcedo’s Zaragoza: his side are armed with ball possession and the patient combination. They will be a more prominent side in that sense, as can be inferred from their early intentions, with the block gaining height on the pitch, heavily involved in the rival pitch and bringing footballers together around the ball. Against Betis, Carcedo opted for Grau and Manu Molina in double pivot, two players very confident in the medium and short passes, which allowed Zaragoza, with the dynamism of Molina, to keep the ball and to chain several sequences of passes. That is, more control. This couple should meet when Zaragoza need more balance on the ball, compared to the more vertical and deep alternative offered by Francho.

2. The “Lavolpian” output

One of the style notes of Carcedo’s Ibiza was his exiting the ball from behind with a three-man line. The coach transferred this tool to Real Zaragoza, but with a nuance: in Ibiza, his left-back, normally David Morillas, kept his position at the bottom to form this initial network of the game. In Zaragoza, on the other hand, it is the central defenders who open wide, inserting the midfield between them, like an old libero, and joining the two camps to an upper line: this is called the “Lavolpian exit”, a concept devised and promoted by the argentinian coach Ricardo LaVolpe in his years in Mexican football in the late 90s and early 2000s. The intention is to attract the opponent and generate superiorities from the first phase of the offensive game. This device also means that the other two inside midfielders delay their position and the two wingers appear inside behind the pressure of the rival. Grau assumes the key figure as a midfielder changed to central third, and Frenchyour good piloting to jump the lines, will be important in the drainage of the game.

3. Risky open field pressure

Taking into account the nature of their players, especially their attacking front, with aggressive attackers without the ball like Azon, Mollejo or Simeone, it was foreseeable that Zaragoza would be configured as a team of high pressure and incandescence. Carcedo’s team have proven themselves this pre-season as a block deployed at great height when they don’t have the ball, when the rival starts from behind or when they lose possession in the opposing field. A full field pressure which exposes in particular the team, very risky and in lack of precision and synchronism between the pieces. When this is not the case, Zaragoza have been seen as vulnerable and several of their goals conceded this summer have been the consequence. Carcedo sends his wings rushing and this creates space behind him that needs to be watched and covered. Also, with the squad so tall, the centre-backs have plenty of yards behind them to defend. Cristian will have to the extreme, in this sense, the protection of this abyss. Also the figure of the pivot, Grau, Petrovic or Molina, must play a relevant role in the balance of the lines.

4. Greater Offensive Range

Juan Carlos Carcedo added new mechanics with a ball. Automatisms that the team assimilates both in positional attack and in transition. Zaragoza showed more collective resources in these phases of the game this summer. The most important, for example, could be seen in Simeone’s goal against Betis. One of Carcedo’s goals throwing so much at his full-backs is to generate three-on-two or four-on-three down the wing, with the aim of fracturing the rival defense by getting his full-back and centre-back out of the area and charging the arrival area with the attacker and the end and the interior on the other side. Or attack the gap between the full-back and the central from the second line, as he did frank to attend Argentina. Esa jugada, como los cambios de orientación para atacarle al rival el lado débil, ha sido un intento recurrente en el nuevo Zaragoza y permise al equipo sumar más opciones para el remate y llegar con más gente al área, otra de las nuevas notas de identidad Crew.

5. A flexible design

Zaragoza is organized positionally with different patterns depending on the phase of the game. This trait is very recognizable. It’s a chameleon and flexible team. In defense, he alternated 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1. And, with the ball, he positions himself in 3-4-2-1 at the start of the game and evolves into 4-3-3 when he settles in the opposing camp. In this phase, the elasticity of its offensive structure and the functional game of its attackers stand out. Their wingers and the striker usually swap places, they don’t have fixed or established positions, but rather functions determined by where the ball is: approaching the ball, gathering around it, creating spaces, attack them…

Leave a Comment