From Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid to Chelsea, direct football has been dominating European domestic leagues as well as the UEFA Champions League this season.
It is clear that quick, direct football is far more effective than the possessional game being adopted by the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool. But why exactly is this?
It appears that more and more teams are realising how to combat the threat of tiki-taka. The on-set of this evident decline of tiki-taka can be attributed to Real Madrid's 5-0 aggregate demolition of Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich.
Real Madrid simply defended deep and tore the Bavarians apart on the break. Many teams have adopted this approach in order to stop the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool, with relative ease might I add.
At the 2014 World Cup, Spain were mauled 5-1 by the Netherlands. The Dutch were very quick and direct, with Arjen Robben causing havoc every time he got the ball. The Germans showed this same sort of ruthlessness going forward in their 7-1 victory over Brazil.
- Spain demise proves tiki-taka is officially dead
- Football is evolving past tiki-taka
- Tiki-taka isn't dead - despite Bayern Munich loss
It has become increasingly evident that direct football is the best way forward and can bring success in the most unlikely situations, such as Atlético Madrid winning the LIGA BBVA last season.
Direct styles winning
Whilst the direct styles of Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Marseille and Chelsea have been flourishing, Manchester United and Liverpool have been struggling to find form with the slower, possession-based approaches.
One must think that the likes of Angel Di Maria and Raheem Sterling must be screaming out for a quicker and more direct approach to be adopted by their respective sides. Their pace and flair would be put to indispensable use in these systems. Instead, they are struggling to fully express themselves, whereas James Rodríguez, Eden Hazard and Koke are playing some of their best football for their clubs.
With Chelsea on top of the Premier League by four points and unbeaten in all competitions, Real Madrid on top of the LIGA BBVA and on red-hot form with the disciplined and hard-working Atlético Madrid a single point behind, one must wonder just how long it will take for Brendan Rodgers and Louis van Gaal to drop tiki-taka and jump onto the direct football bandwagon.
Big clubs may need to change style
At this rate, Southampton will be playing Champions League football next season, with the two most successful clubs in the history of British football having to settle for Europa League, or no European football at all.
Diego Simeone has revolutionised Atlético Madrid. Last season they nearly completed a dramatic double and Simeone has been hailed by many as the best coach in the world. With their limited budget, Atlético managed to win the league, finishing three points above Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
This was down to their hard-work, determination, solid defence and direct style. This sort of determination and directness is shared by many of the flourishing European clubs and it is only a matter of time until the rest of the clubs follow suit.
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