On Tuesday night Real Madrid showed the world that a counter-attacking style of football is extremely effective against a side that likes to play possession-football. Now part of the footballing world is left arguing that tiki-taka doesn't work anymore.
However, this isn't the case. Many people are saying that Barcelona's decline this season and their 7-0 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich last season, along with Bayern's defeat to Real last night proves tiki-taka is dead against great counter attacking teams. But when you analyse things more closely, you'll see that there are other reasons for the downfalls of Barça and Bayern.
Only on a few occasions this season have Barça actually played pure tiki-taka, like against Rayo Vallecano and Osasuna, and they have won by large margins. It doesn't matter that these teams aren't the calibre of the likes of Real Madrid; as commentators such as Gerry Armstrong and Rob Palmer have said, Barça can beat the best of teams when they play like that.
But, apart from those few times, they have been playing 'sterile' possession football, just as they did against Bayern last season, They don't pass and move, there aren't constant triangles (meaning there's no penetration) and they don't pressure opponents high up the pitch to retain the ball quickly as they used to, which means their defensive vulnerabilities stand out. Therefore, you can't say tiki-taka is dead due to Barça's decline because the reason Barça are in decline is because of a lack of tiki-taka.
As for Bayern Munich, Guillem Balague was right when he suggested on Twitter that you can't expect Guardiola to successfully turn around their style of football in one season. Bayern did play tiki-taka last night but it wasn't pure, perfect tiki-taka as Barça played under Guardiola. It had flaws and one of those was finishing off the chances created. They had 19 shots on goal, four on target, yet couldn't convert. If they had I wouldn't feel the need to write this article today.
They don't cut open defences as well as Barça did under Guardiola. The reason Guardiola's tiki-taka worked so well at Barça is because that was already the club's philosophy, instilled in the kids at La Masia. At Bayern it isn't. Bayern's philosophy is to play direct, attacking football, not possession-based, attacking football. Not everyone there wants Guardiola's style of football and he faces a much harder task there to completely instill hi beliefs.
In a way, Guardiola trying to take his possession style of football to Bayern is a bit like Tata Martino trying to take his direct style of football to Barça. It isn't accepted very well.
Guardiola recently said that if he isn't wanted at Bayern, he will leave. Could he be forced out in the summer after this? If so, where will he go? Could he make a return to Barça? We'll just have to wait and see.
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