Measuring the intensity of pressing

He put aside the belief that had distinguished Borussia Dortmund since the Klopp’s era, an aggressive pressing style that in the last years had turned into an ineffective attempt to remain faithful to the original principles, and replaced it with a more conservative approach — PPDA up from 7.48 to 12.16 — that is so far paying dividends both in Bundesliga and Champions League.In Premier League the different defensive styles are the result of an ongoing clash between the traditional English football and the influx of ideas, sometimes experimental, evolved over the time thanks to the competition between some of the best managers in the world, attracted by the lights of the richest football league..Pochettino first — since his time at Southampton — was a precursor in bringing an aggressive defensive style to the Premier League (Southampton had a PPDA equal to 9 in 2012/2014)..His Tottenham is today the second team, after Emery’s Arsenal, for press intensity — PPDA of 8.6 for Arsenal, 9.3 for the Spurs — leaving behind Manchester City — PPDA equal to 9.8 for the skyblues — and the new Chelsea, transformed by Sarri, and whose PPDA has dropped radically from 12.3 to 9.6, becoming the third team in the Premier League for high-pressing intensity.Once forerunners of the aggressive pressing style, both Guardiola and Klopp seem to be on their way to a more conservative approach..In the last two years, Liverpool has moved from 7.2 PPDA to 11.5 while City, after the first 16 games of Premier League, has an average of 9.8 PPDA, up from the 6.4 of the last season..Both Guardiola’s and Klopp‘s trends show how they have gradually moved to a more prudential, less obsessive pressing style..Liverpool and City are nowadays turned into teams able to better manage the timing of their pressing, more aware of the importance of adapting their defensive styles to the different moments of the match and to a Premier League increasingly characterized by teams able to manage with quality the early stages of the build-up.In Serie A the change is shaped by the revolutions brought by Ancelotti and De Zerby as well as by the need for Roma and Milan to adapt to technical and medical issues..Ancelotti’s work has brought Napoli into a new era..He knew he needed to radically change the team’s playing beliefs to invigorate players exhausted by three years spent chasing unsuccessfully Juventus and he did it by giving his Napoli a more conservative defensive style — from 9.5 to 11 PPDA — and a fast and continuous verticalization..Different managers, different styles..From a manager that prefers a low-intensity pressing, there is another one that has made the aggressive recovery of the ball as the critical point of his football..Under De Zerbi’s guidance, Sassuolo has become one of the teams with the highest intensity of pressing in Serie A (from 12.1 to 9.6 PPDA), proving how the strength of powerful ideas goes beyond the limits defined by a club’s history, profile or ranking.The 20 Serie A clubs ranked by PPDA in 2018/2019With the likes of Nainggolan, Strootman and Alisson as a keeper, Roma was once a team ready to face the enemy, to fight aggressively to recover the ball..The departures of three of the most important leaders in the Roma’s locker room have deeply changed the team’s attitude.. More details

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