Tactical analysis: What will Pedri bring to Barcelona?

6 min read
pedri laspalmas

Barcelona decided to sign the young player Pedro González López, well-known as Pedri from Las Palmas, to join the Catalan side from the next season, after his fantastic performance with the Canarian team in Spain.

Pedri showcased his ability in the final third as a playmaker, who mostly played on the left flank. He made his debut with Las Palmas against Huesca in the first match of season aged only 16. The young man has started in 33 games for this season and has contributed with three goals and seven assists.

In this tactical analysis, we will try to analyse what will Pedri bring to Barcelona next season.

Pedri positioning outline

Pedri mostly played as a left-winger, where coach Pepe Mel of Las Palmas used 4-1-4-1, or 4-2-3-1, as an interior wing with the freedom to move vertically and horizontally to create the space and make vertical passes toward the striker.

Pedri was in the position of the free player, where he would roam freely into the half-spaces between the defence line and the midfield of the opposing team taking advantage of his technical capabilities to control the ball and his distinctive vision in choosing whom he should pass the ball.

What will Pedri bring to Barcelona: Pedri's heatmap from last season
Pedri’s heatmap last season (via: SofaScore)

Here, we can see the most moving spots of Pedri. He usually generates chances from the left side moving Interior with his capabilities to control the ball and try to create goals. We will try to show his playing style with Las Palmas.

Style of play

Pedri has a distinctive style of play, especially in the last third of the field, where the direct play style characterises him in terms of critical passes for colleagues, and this is due to his strength in controlling the ball between his feet as he goes to the space behind the opponent’s pivot players.

His intelligence and his astonishing technique in controlling the ball, along with the calmness under pressure, make him a solution for his teammates thus, searching for him and passing the ball to him despite his young age.

With the ball, we saw from interior wingers like Santi Cazorla and Andrés Iniesta, go inside with the ball to find the space of the pitch and create assists. I will illustrate this in the next example.

1 4
Here we noticed that the Las Palmas team hijacked the ball from Deportivo La Coruna and tried to play the counterattack, the player Pedri was on the left side asking the ball from his teammate to try to speed up the play and take advantage of the existing spaces.
2 2
Here we see his way of controlling the ball, scrolling diagonally strikes the position of the defense and midfield in the Deportivo La Coruna team, and makes his teammate go in front of the goalkeeper and score comfortably. Pedri can make plays from large areas of the field.
3 5
Here we see another shot from the same match, and Pedri tries to play the ball in the same manner to his colleague Cristian Lopez, who scored the first goal in the same game but failed to receive the ball well this time.

Pedri has a passing accuracy of up to 80% for each game, where the balls are passed correctly up to 76% during the last third of the field, an exceptional percentage for his young age. Still, he has a distinct first touch and controls the ball in a secure way that makes him able to play with colleagues distinctively.

Pedri, despite his young age, enjoys the confidence of his colleagues and they pass the ball to him when he requests it, as he brings the ball towards the opponent’s area quickly where he has many options because of his superior skills in passing the touch before the goal.

4 2
Here we note Pedri’s attempt to hit the position of the opposing team player during a throw, as teammate Jonathan Vieira played the ball as he prepared to move in the space behind him to receive the ball.
5 2
Here the Pedri owns the ball and boldly progresses to the penalty area of the opposing team, and this created more than one option. Still, he decided to continue the link with Jonathan Vieira, who is on his left to put him in a unilateral situation in front of the goalkeeper and score the goal. Pedri has successful dribbling of 69% this season.

Besides his style, as he owns the ball, we can assume that Pedri has tasks when his team loses the ball, which is to put pressure on the opponent’s first line to make it difficult to build-up from the back.

Despite his tender age and physical weakness, he participates in the high-pressure process, as we will notice in the following examples.

6 2
Here we see that the ball is with Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper. Under pressure from striker Christian Lopez, along with the pressure put by Pedri on the centre of the defence to reduce the passing solutions, made the goalkeeper play dialogue on the left side.
7 2
Here, when the ball was hanging in the air on its way to the right side, Pedri was rushing to move to press the cannons to make it challenging to get off the ball from the first third.

Pedri has a ball recovery rate of up to 4.9 during the match, of which 64.5% are in the defensive third of the opposing teams, and this highlights the player’s importance in the idea of high pressure exercised by the team without the ball.

Pedri possesses the potential to herald a bright future and has a great ability to control the ball. His intelligence in choosing the timing of the pass, next to his pile going vertically towards the opponent’s penalty area.

There are some points he must have to work on in Barcelona.

Skills that require improvement

He has some physical problems, and this is because he is still a 17-year-old young man who fights duels. However, agility, coordination, and speed change combined with his technology and intelligence allow him to avoid challenges and make him exceed their stronger and more prominent competitors.

He has time and grace to evolve in rotation and acceleration in tight spaces when playing in more spots that require him to stay at a certain point on the field, where he can appear and go to both sides more effectively. However, he is very young will surely develop his strength over time.

Conclusion: What will Pedri bring to Barcelona?

At just 17 years of age, he attracted the attention of many coaches there in Spain. With his apparent influence on Las Palmas team along with his veteran teammate Jonathan Vieira, made him under the gaze of many organisations.

Elite teams such as Real Madrid and Chelsea showed interest too, but Barcelona managed to end the deal, to persuade the player who looks like someone who is keen to play with some of the big players, notably Lionel Messi. 

For now, we are hearing rumours of Barca turning a blind eye to any offers for Pedri and Trinaco. Barca believes these two can be crucial in next season for the club. But, there’s this spark of uncertainty within the club currently regarding their trust issue on youngsters.

Despite that, they count on Pedri, and we are still unsure of the role he will be given; also, we are uncertain of the number of minutes he will get. But, provided that some big names from Barca’s current midfield exits, Pedri has that quality and he might be able to leave a unique mark in his upcoming season for FC Barcelona.

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