The Madrid Derby was a fantastic chance for either side to make an early case for Champions League qualification. On Real Madrid’s end, there was an opportunity to put 7 points between them and the 2018/19 Primera Iberdrola champs; on Atlético Madrid’s end, there was the possibility of putting the last few results behind them by closing the gap with Real to 2.
It was Las Colchoneras who came out on top at the end of the day, thanks in large part to their well-executed high press.
Tactical ️ Analysis: @AtletiFemenino's high press vs. @realmadridfem's build-up.— Om (@OmVAsports) December 19, 2020
- The basic plan
- General spatial & positional awareness
- In-game recognition to make intelligent adjustments pic.twitter.com/qZQ6wqSwwe
In classic Atléti fashion, the whole thing started from their 4-4-2 shape and became aggressively wing-oriented. The objective was to usher the ball to the flanks, compress the space to ensure access to all near side options, and harass all short passing outlets into rushed decisions or difficult passes.
This type of pressing game plan is fairly common in football, but it’s the skill and intelligence with which Atléti pulled it off that stood out. Everyone was primed to certain pressing triggers (sub-optimal body orientation and heavy, nervous touches) and ready to make positional adjustments based on the location of their teammates.
Ludmila was particular good at pressing Babett Peter whenever the latter was free, while Castellanos acted as a sort of safety in the front line, drifting to the flank when right winger Sampedro’s roaming left her in the center, and even stepping into midfield to guard Maite Oroz when necessary.
It is always important to have a good system, but it is the ability to adapt on the fly to maintain structural integrity that sets apart the best pressing teams from the good ones.