115 Comments

  1. y2k156
    August 28, 2011

    Wow, 8 – 2 could easily be 15-5 and it would not be unfair. United also blew bunch of excellent chances.

    If this is not the wake up call, i really have to imagine what is. I admire Wenger for his philosophy but his insistence of not even paying market prices and buying (mostly) french players is simply too outdated in today’s world.

    Btw, Man City look scary. Man U are very good but for me, Man City have the better squad. If Chelsea do not buy Modric or some one similar, hard to see them challenging two Man clubs.

  2. Humphrey Bogart
    August 28, 2011

    I hope now canteros will think twice before leaving La Masia for Arsenal, just to be thrown to feed the wolves like that.

    • Eklavya
      August 28, 2011

      Ha! Good point.

    • Mila
      August 28, 2011

      And yet even after Spurs – City, Bartra is being touted to be sold to the Spurs…. Why? Please let it not be true!!!

  3. August 28, 2011

    Also – up 6-2, Patrice Evra blatantly dives in the box to pick up a penalty kick.

    Just think about that. 6-2 – and he dives for a penalty.

    And there’s no comment on it. It’s just completely ok because there’s no such thing as diving in the EPL.

    • August 28, 2011

      Wow. Just…wow.

  4. Jackieboy
    August 28, 2011

    I feel bad for the Arsenal goalie, he’s such a good kid and stood no chances on either of those goals. Also, Man City does look better than than Manyoo, but I don’t see either of them being a threat to us as long as we stay relatively healthy.

  5. August 28, 2011

    I think this might be the first non-Barcelona club football match I go through the trouble of downloading.

    Yes. I think it will be.

    • August 28, 2011

      Replay is at 3:25pm on Setanta (I’ve got a free preview). Definitely gon’ check it out..

    • Mila
      August 28, 2011

      It is really worth it – the game was wonderful, opened and just wow!

    • Miguel
      August 28, 2011

      I fell asleep through it. It was just sad. I kept picturing a suicidal Wenger calling up Fabregas and telling him he was gonna ‘do it’ unless the Catalan came back to him. Arsene’s whole world just fell apart today. Or it should have.

      City looked really good today, especially considering it was Nasri’s first game. I was just so happy De Jong wasn’t in the line up.

      So is the Madrid v Zaragoza game being broadcast?

  6. Vj
    August 28, 2011

    This slaughter makes me worried about our backline problems. Do we follow suit tomorrow?

    • August 28, 2011

      You’re joking, right?

      • Vj
        August 28, 2011

        I’m genuinely concerned. OK I might be exaggerating a bit but yeah I’m worried. Some of these days someone might call us out like Arsenal..

  7. August 28, 2011

    Last season much too much was made of Man City being “negative” under Mancini. Mancini has been tactical and defensive in the past but not nearly that bad.

    It was very clear that Mancini saw last season as a transition year – he was still building his squad.

    And he really had one goal – do what’s necessary to qualify for the CL. He did that – and won a trophy.

    Last season they really didn’t have the players to play an expansive game.

    Mancini has unlimited resources to use – but he has bought high quality talent.

    I’m still just so surprised more teams – Chelsea especially – didn’t try to bid on Aguero.

    And on another note – Mancini is a much, much better tactician than the vast majority of managers in the EPL. That seems to have been a major reason why City dominated the spurs so badly today.

    • Barcaleya
      August 28, 2011

      Thank God, Chelsea didn’t get Kun.

      I don’t like them. I started disliking them during Mou’s reign and even though he’s not there anymore, I don’t like the club still. I love Torres and Mata though. But it would have been terrible if they got Kun.

      • Ryan
        August 28, 2011

        And don’t forget Romeu, he’ll be fighting for a spot soon enough I bet.

  8. Srini
    August 28, 2011

    Euler,

    Commenting here so that my question doesn’t end up in the clutter.

    I think that Alexis Sanchez is going to play the full back role on Monday. If I remember correctly he played that role in the World Cup game against Spain for Chile? Can you please confirm? He was the LB then. I wouldnt’ therefore be surprised if he reprised it, but at the RB position.

    Suspect the squad on Monday would be Valdes, Sanchez, Mascherano, Fontas and Abidal in defense.

    • August 28, 2011

      I don’t remember Sanchez playing at FB for Chile in the WC. He was repeatedly dropping deep to press the ball in his own defensive half.

      I would seriously consider Sanchez at FB as I wrote above. My only concern would be that he’s not familiar with how Villareal play and they have an unusual system.

      I’d probably use Pedro there with Sanchez ahead of him and tell Sanchez he needs to support Pedro on that flank defensively. It’s somewhat arbitrary but having Pedro in the deeper position may be helpful.

      We’ll see – Bartra did practice with the first team today. If I had to guess I think we’ll see Bartra at RB.

    • August 28, 2011

      One other thing I’d add about Sanchez at full back.

      Here’s the question I would ask him:

      Do you feel that you understand enough about how Isla has played behind you at Udinese and Chile to play that role?

      If Sanchez feels comfortable and says that yes I understand what Isla has been required to do and I can play that role I would strongly consider using him at RB.

      Basically that’s what they would need Sanchez to do against Villareal – play an Isla-like role and pay particular attention to the villareal strikers cutting wide.

  9. Humphrey Bogart
    August 28, 2011

    Seems Puyi is close to return,maybe we could turn to him in this case of emergency

  10. Barcathegreatestever
    August 28, 2011

    I think the Villareal game could be very tricky and being the first game requires as many experienced first teamers as possible. So Maxwell Masch Sergio and Abidal in the back Keita with Iniesta and Xavi and MVP up top. Cescs defensive qualities are a question for me. Alexis is completely unproven as an outside back. Start the rotations another day

  11. adopted cule
    August 28, 2011

    Great analysis as always Euler.

    The finishing note is the most interesting part about this piece, to me.

    At the end of both Super Cups, with the result very much hanging in the balance, Pep has chosen to use Fabregas, Xavi, and Iniesta on the field together and the ineffective duo of Pedro and Villa substituted off, effectively using a 4-4-2 in both instances(in the Porto match, because Xavi was playing so deep to ‘split’ the DM role with Keita, it looked more like a 4-2-2-2 as noted) and in both instances Barcelona’s attacking play was revitalized. Given that Pep is only carrying 4 nominal forwards on a team that supposedly plays a 4-3-3 over a brutally long season, I wonder if we are not going to see much more of this 4-4-2 or even a very fluid and attack minded 4-5-1 from Barcelona this year, with both Messi up front and Fabregas from the midfield given license to roam freely on the field to find space to exploit, a la Cruyff in the Ajax total football of the ’70’s.

    • August 28, 2011

      You’re asking one of the central question of this season. Given the disproportionate number of central midfielders the team has and the amount of talent those players have how does the team best deploy them as assets?

      Pep partially answered that question last season with Mascherano and Busquets. Trust the diversity of their skill sets and use them at other positions and in other parts of the pitch.

      In terms of personnel, a 4-2-2-2 or 4-4-2 diamond make sense for the reasons you’ve described (especially now with Afellay out and the team down to 4 forwards).

      But those formations bring up serious tactical questions that make them difficult to utilize for tiki-taka.

      The biggest issue with those formations is that they can become very narrow as you can lose width. That is a major problem for Barca as teams already try to defend narrow. This would largely facilitate those defensive approaches.

      Those formation also pose problems for barca defensively. They will not be playing a conventional 4-4-2 with wingers. In a 4-2-2-2 or 4-4-2 diamond it can be very difficult to press efficiently because you may not have players on the flanks to close down the ball.

      Finally, moving out of the 4-3-3 may risk losing Messi in his false 9 role. I don’t know if Pep wants to do that. If anything he is building the team completely around Messi playing in that false 9 with advanced players on both sides (without two forwards flanking him Messi’s passing would not be as effective when he drops deep).

      We may see some changes in shape like we did against Porto – but I think that won’t be a major approach (again, even against Porto it was in response to the sending off).

      Instead, I think we are going to see more redeployment of those talented midfielders to other positions so that they base shape can be maintained.

      We’ll see quiet a bit of Iniesta on the wing. We’ll see Fabregas as a false 9, etc.

      I also think we may wind up seeing a more advanced attacking player move back to full back at some points this season. The barca full backs are hybrid full back – wingers and there’s significant overlap between who the wide players in the 4-3-3 and the full backs play.

      When barca are in possession they convert to a 2-1-4-3 as it is with the full backs playing wide in the middle. I think Pedro or Sanchez could assume those roles if needed.

      • adopted cule
        August 29, 2011

        Unsurprisingly, your analysis here is tactically way beyond anything I conceived of, particularly the aspects of moving a out of a 4-3-3 potentially narrowing the field and reducing Messi’s false 9 effectiveness. What led to my suggestion was something far simpler: Hasn’t Cesc, in less than one full game on the field, already shown that he is miles beyond both Villa and Pedro, given that they are not as versatile as most of the other players on this team, in as far as implementation of both Cruyff’s and Pep’s total football vision. If my eyes were to be trusted, Cesc was clearly the fourth best attacking player on the team (actually my eyes told me he was just behind Messi, but I have too much respect for Xavi and Iniesta to just pop Cesc up ahead of them after 3 games). His runs from midfield are numerous and incisive. His chemistry with Messi has the potential to be electric, if it isn’t already. My thought was simply this: doesn’t he have to be on the field as a starting XI player, and if so, what does that mean for the formation?

        Your points about losing Messi as a false nine and about keeping width might be answered by an aggressive 4-5-1, which is what my emotional side wants to see: with Iniesta and Sanchez playing the wide roles, this can still effectively function as a 4-3-3 if it needs to. How much do you lose with essentially replacing Villa with Iniesta and Fabregas sliding into Iniesta’s spot? Sanchez is probably going to take Pedro’s starting XI spot because of his versatility in any case.

        If Pep really wants to keep the 4-3-3 shape, Iniesta vs Villa really might be an upgrade, but the glaring red flag might be losing the chemistry between Xavi and Iniesta in midfield.

  12. Barcathegreatestever
    August 29, 2011

    I can agree that Iniesta is better than Villa in the middle but not as a forward, they are just different. Cescs work was against 10 then 9 men. Barcas best moments in recent history were when they could penetrate out wide to the end line and attack from the end line as well as from Messis spot. Henry and Eto’o were the Kings at that. Villa and Pedro and also Sanchez and Affelay are going to destroy the offside trap by the end of the season. I’ll bet Pep has them working night and day on it.

  13. August 31, 2011

    Very lengthy report on the match.

    Just wondering where you source the stats (passing, positions, etc) from? I couldn’t find much other than basic shot/possession stats for this game.

    Interesting to read another view point aswell – I took a look at the match from the opposition view.

Comments are closed.