Quique Setién continues Emery’s style of wide positioning, patiently progressing the action and creating space in the offensive third by ‘moving’ the opponent’s formation. Set up 1-4-3-3 with and 1-4-4-2 without the ball, they still keep the structure in both phases, but Setién is taking more risks and is willing to play more directly, even at the risk of losing possession.
Without the ball they rely on narrowing the centre and deeper positioning of both lines, as well as compact and coordinated movement of both lines in pursuit of the ball.
They always start building the action with the goalkeeper, the four defenders and the deeper positioned pivot (Parejo). In this phase of play they always look for short passes and to get out from pressure at all costs, even taking the risk of dribbling in their own half.
They try to compensate for their predictability in this phase with a lot of rotation and the overloading the zones with their partners going deeper, but they usually look for action on the wings.
Once past the first line of pressure they no longer use rotation in an attempt to balance formation and shape. Because of this, they often have trouble breaking through rivals using a low block.
In the offensive third the highly-engaged full-backs (Foyth, Pedraza) and the forward coming down low (G. Moreno) adopt a 2-3-5 shape with the intention of freeing up space for both wingers (Chukwueze, Pino). The essence of these interventions is to constantly “move” the defensive formation of the rival, which, forced to run behind the constantly changing direction of the action, is to open channels for the wingers, the striker or the central attacking midfielders.