When you heard about Tiki Taka, what is the first thing that came up in your mind? Of course, the answer is passing football style and Barcelona. This is normal, because this style is the style that was invented in Barcelona. Barcelona itself also still uses this style until today, although there are some modification and changes. But, we can say that Tiki Taka is important strategy that changes the face of football world in the last decade.
What Makes Tiki Taka Important?
Tiki Taka is football strategy that maximizes the passing route and movement of player. Therefore, when you see Barcelona or other team that adopted this strategy, played using Tiki Taka, you will see lot of short passes. It’s rarely to find Barcelona player send long pass or crossing into penalty box. Mostly, they only use the short passes and fluid movement of their player to find the right position to create the chances.
What makes Tiki Taka important is it destroys the stereotype of football strategy when it was popularized by Barcelona in 2008. At that time, most of team will only see football, mostly as physical play and put aside technique aspect. Fast and well-built player are important to have on a team. However, Tiki Taka doesn’t need that requirement to be played. This football style doesn’t use high pass too often. And, because of this strategy, every player, regardless their height or speed has same chance to play in a team. This condition gave birth on many different strategy and approach in a game. Therefore, we can find lot of new strategy was invented after Barcelona success with their Tiki Taka, including the strategy to beat Barcelona Tiki Taka.
The Strategy that Beat Tiki Taka
The most famous strategy to beat Tiki Taka is the total defense strategy. Jose Mourinho used this strategy on his second season as the Real Madrid coach. He use really deep and high press defense in front of the penalty box. They marked tightly two pivot player from Barcelona at that time, Xavi and Messi. Barcelona can’t build their normal play style and have to rely on crossing and long pass, which isn’t suitable with their player that has smaller stature than other team player.
More than that, their opponent also use fast counterattack to create chance from the fullback position that has to move further forward, because Barcelona midfielder and attacker can’t penetrate the defense. This strategy work really well, and make Barcelona lose some of trophies. Opponent also has bigger chance to score a goal with this method, because Barcelona only leave small amount of player on the back. Usually, there are only two defender players, which is definitely not enough to defend against opponent that makes a counter with more number of players.
The other strategy that is also effective against Barcelona Tiki Taka is the zone area marking and positioning strategy. It was used by Bayern Munich, under Jupp Heynckes. He successfully beat Barcelona 3-0 in Camp Nou and 4-0 in Bayern Munich home. The strategy is simple. Bayern Munich player keep their position and press any Barcelona player that come into their area. Then, when attacking, they keep this strategy and attack fluidly. This make Barcelona player has to face one on one with other player and it make opponent easily pass them.
The Problem in Applying Tiki Taka for Other Team
With the success and achievement that Barcelona got, many teams and coaches try to adopt the strategy that Barcelona used, the Tiki Taka. They tried to copy the success of Barcelona with this strategy. However, it doesn’t work like what they imagined. Some of clearly failed application of Tiki Taka can be seen on AS Roma team in 2012. Their coach admitted that this tactic used too much stamina of their player. This is true, because player has to move around to create space. They also have to use more energy and stamina to focus and concentrate in creating connected passing route. The most stamina draining is when they have to defend against opponent attack. All players must do high pressure to the opponent once they lose the ball. This is the hardest part.
The main reason why many team failed to apply Tiki Taka strategy is the player. The player isn’t ready with this strategy. On the other hand, Barcelona player are mostly coming from their youth football academy, La Masia. And, since they were young, they have used this playing style, therefore, when they enter main team, they can easily adapt for this strategy. Their physique as well as focus has been trained for years on that academy.
Entertaining or Boring Play
Even though Tiki Taka brings lot of success and trophies for Barcelona, many people see it as boring play. Barcelona only passes around on their area and doesn’t have will to attack and score a goal. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal coach also said almost the same. In the earlier era of Tiki Taka, Barcelona use this sort passes football style to win the game. However, after that, especially after their opponent has found a way to counter this tactic, Barcelona was only passing around to avoid losing the game. Many fans also feel this way. They are lack of aggressive attack and killing intent. They only want to show the beautiful play.
However, Barcelona under Luis Enrique started to leave the classic Tiki Taka. They use more direct play and using many different attack patterns. This is also the reason why Barcelona scored many goals at that time and make opponent has hard time when they face them. The long pass and counterattack has become one of part of this new Tiki Taka, beside short pass that they still kept using. The attack speed is also faster, because there is no player that can hold ball and playmaking, like Xavi. Now, we can still the Tiki Taka in Barcelona team. However, compared with old Tiki Taka, this new Tiki Taka is more interesting and dangerous.