Amid the positive momentum surrounding Xavi Hernández’s FC Barcelona side, the name of Ousmane Dembelé is standing out from the crowd. The Frenchman has managed to overcome the injuries that have weighed him down in past seasons, and offer some top performances in recent weeks, consolidating his status within the azulgrana team as a key player.
For this reason, at the MBP School of Coaches, we are going to describe in depth in what aspects of the game the Frenchman is excelling at and what impact this has on the collective. This will be analyzed through the fundamentals of the game (IFP).
If look further into the optimal responses of Dembelé within the Blaugrana Game Model, we can see how the attacker consistently performs well three individual fundamentals of the winger.
The first of these refers to the ability to cross to give the advantage to the striker. Dembelé has improved in his decision making in crossing moments. This aspect has allowed him to have a better coordination between the cross to the run of his teammate. Overall, he has provided a total of 10 assists so far this season.
Another of the fundamentals that the French international has improved on is identifying when he has a spatial advantage behind his direct defender. In situations where the full back does not have close cover, either inside or outside, Dembelé does not hesitate to attack the opponent, getting past him on a large number of occasions due to his qualitative superiority. Through the correct application of the fundamentals, the winger has created many advantageous situations for his team in attack.
Finally, we should highlight the importance of his ability to offer passing options while guaranteeing the width. Unlike previous seasons, where Dembelé’s eagerness to be in contact with the ball made him lose his position too easily, the attacker has made a significant improvement at the tactical level.
Furthermore, the application of the IFP is essential within the Barca game model and in the positional play that Xavi wants to execute for his side. With the correct application of the fundamental, the team always have a wide passing line, while also forcing the defending team to be stretched out wide in order to defend this.
Impact on the Collective
If we look at the impact that Dembelé has had on Xavi Hernandez’s side, we can identify two main aspects that he has brought to the team.
The first of these refers to Dembelé’s ability to generate spatial advantages on the opposite wing. Thanks to the qualitative superiority he has in 1vs1 moments, he forces his direct defender to require support from teammates to try to stop the winger, thus generating a large accumulation of defenders around him. This leads to spatial imbalances in other areas of the pitch, which can be exploited by the team.
Dembelé’s second major impact on the collective is his ability to create finishing situations for his teammates. In this case, as we have already mentioned, the Frenchman has made a substantial improvement in his crossing, managing to create more clear-cut opportunities for his teammates in front of goal.
In conclusion, Ousmane Dembelé’s individual performance since the arrival of Xavi Hernández has undergone a significant improvement. As we have been able to see during the analysis, the winger has not only improved his individual solutions on the pitch, but has also enhanced his impact within the team, generating a greater number of favourable situations for his teammates.