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The Possession Game (Tiki-Taka) - Is It Effective?

Sunday 15th January 2017
These days, if you go to see your favourite team you may find your side or the opposition to be playing a possession style tactic. But why has this evolved so much over recent years?

We've seen games where teams will pass around the back four and build up the momentum for an attack. This can be a way to control the flow of the game. Constantly passing between team-mates will also wear out the opposition by chasing the ball.

One team that probably influenced the possession game the most would be F.C. Barcelona. "Tiki-Taka" as it's known in Spanish football and in other countries too means "short distance passing of the ball between players". Barcelona were known for building on such one-sided results under the reign of Pep Guardiola.

With players such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi etc the Barcelona squad were hard to break down. Once they had the ball it would be near impossible to get it back. This would then cause the opposition to get frustrated by giving away free kicks or penalties. Even getting players booked or sent off because of rash decisions due to Barcelona's control over the game.
The Spanish national side also used the "Tiki-Taka" tactic. This led to them winning the Euro 2008 and 2012. Also winning the World Cup in 2010.

In the 2008-2009  season, using the style of a passing game, Barcelona won six titles. They won La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and the UEFA Champions League (Treble). Barcelona then went on to win the UEFA Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

With the style of play being used for possession and finding space, Barcelona weren't just winning by one or two goals. They were winning by four or more on a regular basis in La Liga. The 2008-2009 season was a show of how the modern day game would evolve.

Many people around the world watched Barcelona regularly because it was impressive to watch. Seeing one of the best or "the best" footballer in the world in Messi (that is debatable), play to such a high standard of football easing past defenders. Playing one two's with team-mates and slipping through small gaps in the opposition's defence.

So how has this affected the modern day game and is it effective? Well, we see most teams play from "out the back" these days. Managers feel as though it can control the game. If used well, the opposition can be drawn out of position and players can pass between gaps that have been created. This can then lead to an attack.

Although the "tiki-taka" style of play is used a lot, many fans feel aggrieved about it most times as they don't see much action. In some cases, a team is trying to pass out from the back but cannot draw out the opposition leading to a poor attempt to push forward and possibly losing possession.

With the way the possession game has evolved today, there will always be a debate. Some people will like it, some people will hate it.
Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.

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