Liga Preview: Athletic Bilbao – Barcelona, ESPN Deportes/ESPN3.com
Bilbo Baggins was fond of many games and activities. He was especially fond of hiding in semi-obscurity until something important came his way. That important thing is Lionel Messi on a tear, but it’s also Marcelo Bielsa and the possibility of being an attacking side. It may be unfair to turn on Joaquin Caparros and his system that earned a Europa League spot, but people are doing it anyway despite Bielsa’s adoption of the same system.
My brother and I are here to discuss the tactical innovations Bielsa has implemented:
Isaiah: I think he’ll go with a 4-2-3-1. It’s just smarter.
Isaaac: I disagree. They will use the nickle formation. They’ll be better able to play in space.
Isaiah: That’s ridiculous. If they wanted to cover the over-the-top balls, they would obviously deploy–that was not an LSU interception! Are you crazy?
Isaac: He didn’t possess all the way through the play. Obviously that’s a goal.
Isaiah: You mean a touchgoal.
Isaac: Well, when you put a knuckleballer up against a 1-3-1 zone, you’d better expect fireworks.
Isaiah: Do you know what sport we’re talking about?
Isaac: Look, Bilboners are not clay courters. If you want a level playing field, you’d better stop playing these games at the base of the Pyrennes. That place is full of sand traps!
Isaiah: Fernando Llorente is a really good striker, how will Barcelona deal with him?
Isaac: A combination of quick wits and a safety blitz.
Isaiah: Oh, you’re gunning for offsides penalties. That’s pretty brilliant.
Isaac: One time I talked to a soccer coach about tactics for 3 hours. It was incredibly useful to have the One True Ring of Power to escape his blathering unseen. Seriously, a 4-3-2-1? Goddammit, man, those are just descending numbers.
Isaiah: Wow, I’ve never thought about it like that before. It’s a wonder anyone has ever won a World Cup.
Isaac: Well, not really, after 1970 came 1974 and, let’s be honest, the tactical innovation there was obvious.
Isaiah: Getting back to Athletic, what do you think of Basque culture? Does it impact their game play?
Isaiah: Well, yeah, but I meant–
Isaiah: They are really good, aren’t they?
Isaac: I bought a liter of wine in Pamplona for one euro. Bilbao is in Basque country. I’m assuming they have regional wine prices. And honestly, wine at a sporting event? Yes, please!
Isaiah: What does that have to do with Athletic?
Isaac: They have great fan support. Now you know why.
Isaiah: Okay, it’s obvious you know a lot about this sport. Can we get a final prediction?
Isaac: Ohio State 34 – Athletic Bilbao 17.
Isaiah: You do know there’s not a 3 point line, right?
Isaac: No, I don’t.
Isaiah: And wait, OSU isn’t in this game!
Isaac: BURRA OLÉ!
Isaiah: Neither of those are appropriate right now.
Isaac: CHINGA TU—
Isaiah: Okay, thanks, that’s all we’ll be needing–
Isaac: Visca el Ohio State!
Isaiah: Well…okay, sure. Yes. Visca el Ohio State.
And there you have it, folks, from the greatest sports mind I’ve ever been embarrassed to be related to. I mean, wait, stop hitting me, that’s not fair I’m typing!