Casemiro hits the ball during the match against Real in Valdebebas.JuanJo Martín / EFE
The top four LaLiga finishers have adjusted in their last matches to the soccer trend in fashion in European football: playing with three center-backs and two long-distance backs.
From that common starting point, Atlético, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Seville try to give greater continuity to the start of the game and the differences in interpretation of each lie in the different characteristics of the players chosen, in the height of the field in the who put their pieces and the moment of barter.
In all four cases, from the outset it is an offensive maneuver, although later it also depends on the passing of the game.
At the beginning, they do not seek to strengthen defensively, but to dominate the game more, to become strong through the interior corridors with the maximum accumulation of players and to seek numerical and positional superiorities.
Zidane, a 4-3-3 defender, has turned to her in recent games.
From the beginning he only used it against Getafe (2-0) with Nacho-Varane-Mendy on the inner axis and Marvin and Marcelo on the sides.
But both in Valladolid and against Real Sociedad, at certain times, the team was placed in that arrangement.
In Pucela, when two local attackers entered, Weismann and Kodro, Bettoni came out like a spring from the bench to signal Casemiro to delay between Varane and Nacho.
And this Monday, against Real Sociedad, the Brazilian made the same move at the beginning of the second half.
The misalignment that led to the realistic goal - a cross from one side, Monreal, and a shot on the other from one end, Portu - with Lucas Vázquez and Mendy totally misplaced in the defensive balance, invited the coach to relocate Casemiro again , who, after passing through his usual position, finished the match as second center forward.
Koeman, at Barcelona, had already pulled the figure of the three centrals before Saturday at the Sánchez Pizjuán (0-2).
It had been against Valladolid (0-3) and Eibar (1-1).
Mingueza, Araujo and Lenglet were the three defenders.
In Seville, with Piqué recovered, he was the one who was placed in the center with Mingueza and Lenglet at his sides.
Dest and Alba, on the outside.
The team adjusted perfectly to that drawing.
The sides provided the desired width and depth.
While, on the inside, Busquets, De Jong and Pedri took over the controls and Messi and Dembélé were reduced from defensive work.
The League renounces the stars
Despite these tests by Zidane and Koeman, it has been Simeone who has bet more blatantly on the defense of three centrals with the two very offensive full-backs.
Immovable in recent years at 4-4-2, he found, midway through the course, in Hermoso, the ideal left-handed center-back to kick the ball from behind and based his tactical experiment on the offensive mood of the two full-backs: Trippier and Carrasco .
The sanction of the first and the injuries of the second, broke the tactical balance and minimized the collective performance.
The tests with Llorente, Vrsaljko, Lodi and Saúl on the wings have not worked and defensively the performance was reflected in the goals received: seven consecutive games without a clean sheet, until Sunday at Villarreal.
At Sevilla, Lopetegui usually resorts to the three centrals when he is ahead on the scoreboard and wants to play more on the counterattack and exploit En-Nesyri's speed.
Except for the Champions League match against Krasnodar, which started with three centrals, for the rest of the season they started from a line of four behind (4-3-3) and when the result was favorable they delayed the midfielder, Fernando or Gudelj, between the two centrals and stretched even more to the wings.
A different way, that of a steering wheel as a third center-back, to understand this tactical figure that has become fashionable again.