1. cuqui
    November 22, 2011

    Masterful as usual, many thanks.

    And kudos for getting on Twitter! The more opportunities to see your insights the better.

  2. Dave
    November 22, 2011

    Excellent insights Euler. Anyone have Revista links?

    • nia
      November 22, 2011

      Watched a little of revista and although Guillame doesn’t usually have many positive comments to say about Barca, he did have a point though when he said that the many rotations Pep is making this yr are doing more harm than good. I don’t like the idea much at all as well as the team seem not be be getting to their peak yet like they did last yr. I do hope they do start to pick up soon and stay consistant especially in away matches in Liga coz i’d hate to see a repeat of Rijkard’s lasr yr incharge.

      If anyone remembers that yr, Barca either lost or drew every third or fourth game. There were so many rotations as well and the fact that EE are playing better this yr doesn’t help the situation.

  3. Miguel
    November 22, 2011

    Euler is so Russell Crowe in that scene at the bar in A Beautiful Mind.

  4. BarcaGirl_Indo
    November 22, 2011

    thank you, Euler.
    as usual, you explain something that usually unnoticed.

    I didn’t realize the impact Cuenca and Sanchez brought to the game, until I read your article.

    so how can we get width, with Alves, Adriano, and Iniesta missing the game against Milan?

    • November 22, 2011

      Good question. It’s part of why I wrote this piece now.

      Barca is unlikely to be able to generate needed width against Milan with Dani and Adriano out.

      That means it is going to have to come from the advanced flank players.

      Barca will need a game similar to the one played by the wide players against Zaragoza.

      The challenge is – how do you incorporate Villa’s finishing with the need to develop width. That’s a central tension in his game at Barca.

      Sanchez will again be critical. Hopefully he’ll be more up to game speed. He gave Milan fits last year in Serie A.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        November 22, 2011

        Sanchez on his top form will give trouble to Milan, but like you said, he played little football this season overall due to injury and still adapting to Barcelona system.

        @barcastuff Possible line-up (vs Milan): Valdes – Puyol Pique Mascherano Abidal – Xavi Busquets Cesc – Alexis Messi Villa #fcblive [rac1]

        What do you say about that line up?

        • November 22, 2011

          This is the line up that I would play. I’d play Masch at right back.

          I would not play a 3-4-3. I’d go with a 4-3-3 even though there isn’t a great solution at right back.

  5. yev
    November 22, 2011

    Beautiful Euler thanks so much; made my day 🙂

    “The Universe, or reality, therefore, is a chaos of impressions upon which any semblance of order is imposed or arbitrary.””
    but euler’s words give a form (or reflect aspects of it) to barca’s fluidity; giving us readers of the blog, new dimensions of appreciation to barca’s play…

    thanks for that

    Euler as Borges:

  6. November 22, 2011

    Long-time reader, first time commenter. Wanted to thank Euler and the other writers at this blog for posts like this one. I’m a longtime sports fan who has only been seriously following fútbol for about 2 years, and I’ve found no better resource for learning the tactical X’s and O’s of the sport than this blog.

    I also have a question on another subject. Is it possible and/or a smart move to send Andreu Fontàs back to the B team? He clearly has a lot of potential but isn’t ready for prime time at Barça’s level yet. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have him playing regularly for Barça B than getting blisters in his hindquarters from riding the first team’s bench? At least, that’s how it would work in the NHL or Baseball. Can you not do that in fútbol? Help a new-ish guy out.

    • November 22, 2011

      Welcome! Glad you’re joining the community more deeply with your comment.

      Your asking a really good question on Fontas – unfortunately it’s one without a clear best answer.

      First – though I’m not sure, there may have been a clause in Fontas’ last contract renewal that effectively required him to get promoted to the first team. Part of my remembers that though I’m not sure. If so that would be a major influencer over how he is used.

      In general, Pep is at the same time extremely committed to internal development through the promotion of young players while also very cautious in doing so. His overall philosophy seems to be to slowly integrate La Masia players into the side, though there clearly are exception such as Pedro and Cuenca now.

      So in a sense it’s not surprising that Fontas isn’t playing that much. It’s very possible that Pep wanted him to spend this season around the first team players and largely gain experience by playing in the Copa Del Rey. Given that the Copa hasn’t really kicked off in full Fontas’ best chance to get minutes is still to come.

      All that said – the extent to which Fontas has been on the bench and hasn’t played is both a real concern and likely detrimental to Fontas’ development. He really isn’t playing – as you’ve noted.

      Really not sure what to make of it. It’s unclear right now how Pep sees Fontas in Barca’s future especially with the depth of CB they have in the youth ranks like Bartra.

      There’s often a trade off that needs to be made with young players between playing time and opportunity to experience first team football. Things may change in the near future but right now Fontas is at an extreme of that balance.

  7. Dani_el
    November 22, 2011

    Thanks for this review Euler, as always, incredibly enlightening. My guess is that tomorrow we’re gonna see an intense game, with a lot of pressing on both parts, and maybe lots of phisicality and on the limit tackles on Milan’s part. I just hope that Tito Vilanova recovers his health soon, and that our team stays without injuries on tomorrow’s game.

  8. Gogah
    November 23, 2011

    Liked the analogy of the negative space.
    As an artist and designer myself, I am compelled to pay attention to negative spaces frequently in my line of work. in fact the negative space is what enables us to make sense of what we’re looking at. whether that is typography or art or football.
    A room is only defined by the walls. But what makes a room a room is the space in it. the first line from JC in your article is quite powerful in the sense that it hits the reader really hard when you actually come to think of it. each player has only 3 mins on the ball!! wow! it puts all our success into perspective. we are not only the best on the ball, but we have incredible players without the ball. this is probably why ibra was given the boot even after a good season. on the ball of course.

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