In the era of “MSN”, people remembered the trident – Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar. But, not many remembered the role and professionalism of Pedro.
He is a very good player and participated 50 games in that 2014/15 campaign (2199 mins), consistently handing reliable performance which helped Barça to fight in different major competitions.
In this individual analysis, I used Pedro’s performance against Almeria in 2015 to explain his role and strengths, from a tactical standpoint. This was his last season at the team, as Pedro became a Chelsea player in that summer.
It directly moved to Pedro’s role in the final third, his involvement in the build-up phase was more related to the left-backs. It is a separate section that will explain his chemistry with his teammates. With the likes of Xavi and Ivan Rakitić dictating the plays in the central third, it was never a problem to reach into advanced areas on the pitch.
In some cases, the carrier discovered Pedro remained free on the left, a diagonal would be played directly to the left-winger. This was done by Marc Bartra in this example.
Pedro was always patient to provide the relative width at the backline, keeping himself on the right-back’s blindside. When passes liked this was triggered, he could control them and drift into the penalty box.
In a positional play, there are many superiorities. Pedro is a good fit of this system as he possessed the qualitative superiority at flank. With his pace and skills, also the competent to use both feet to play the ball, this player would be dangerous on-the-ball.
In this example, Pedro faced three players, but he was very clear about what to do – dribble to the byline and cross. He was quick to shift the direction from an instant, the defenders were unable to catch him. Usually, we expected a wrong-footed winger would drift inward, but Pedro did have the dynamism to do what the situation required.
As a piece of the trident, Pedro only has to focus on the movements in the offensive third. Messi would be responsible for creating chances or linking plays.
This allowed Pedro to hold his position wide, mostly staying at the defence’s blindside, and waiting for the right timing to make a forward run.
It was a quite effective attacking pattern of Barcelona, especially the diagonal passer was Messi. The Argentine star was pleased to shift in some inswinging crosses to the far post, where Pedro was often the target to receive the ball.
Similar to an example above, the wide positioning of Pedro was exploiting the defence’s blindside, so he could see the ball and time his run well.
Pedro has a very great sense to attack in the penalty box. He might not be the most prolific winger, but the way he gets into good positionings was impressive. Just remember, he was the left-winger who could lurk on the right-back’s blindside, the dynamism was great under these circumstances.
The below example is demonstrating the threat to the goal of Pedro. Messi and Suárez were exchanging passes on the opposite flank, the timing was not ready for a cross yet, so Pedro stayed wide and behind the last defender. The right-back won’t be able to see Pedro as he was looking at the ball.
Seconds later, Pedro had an advantage because of his decision to delay the attacking movements. Now, the Spanish winger was still on the blindside of the right-back, also enjoyed the dynamism to attack any free spaces with different runs. Antonio Marín had a difficult task, he has no idea where Pedro was.
Pedro also could exploit the horizontal gaps between defenders. He combined with Messi in this scenario – a quick run between the relative half-spaces has caught Marín by surprise. This was one of many ways that the winger could attack the goal.
The last example is demonstrating Pedro’s ability to exploit a high defensive line. Despite not being the most talented player in the squad, his cleverness should never be overlooked.
It was a goal from Pedro, eventually. The run was smart, as he initially moved laterally before Messi passing the ball. Because of this, he avoided offside and totally caught the high defensive line.
Final thoughts on Pedro:
As a rotation option, the former Barcelona #11 did not act like a child and keep complaining. Instead, he served as a very reliable backup for any of the front three, also producing satisfactory performance when the team needed him. Pedro might not be a big name in the squad, but a successful team requires players like him.