Attack! Attack! aka “Why Sevilla was put to the sword”

We often talk about it, but this video from Paradigma Guardiola shows our relentless pressure and attacking, right up to the first goal. Note how whenever Sevilla got the ball, what we did to get it right back. This doesn’t even mention our passing, our relentless movement and always having someone available for a pass.

This video, if you’re preparing to play us, is terrifying. Because there is no defense for play such as this. One part of me says that’s institutional arrogance. Then I watch again.

You can’t play if you don’t have the ball.


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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. November 1, 2010

    Something else to note during this video: watch Iniesta. He did that same thing almost the entire match. Crazy. The Abidal pass to P1 was pretty intense, too.

    • Flyzowee
      November 1, 2010

      hmm…. is this an extension of your response to those ‘other fans’ over @ da EE offside?

      • Kxevin
        November 1, 2010

        Actually, no. I just think that people underestimate how spectacular we were in this match. Sevilla didn’t roll over for us. Note how many men they had behind the ball. It’s just that I can’t find the words for what this video shows so beautifully.

        Every time they got the ball, notice the walls close down immediately, as if sprung by midget pit bulls. Yes, sometimes we just pass the ball around without much sense of purpose. This match wasn’t one of those times, except toward the end when we were just playing it out. Offense is the new defense.

        • Jim
          November 1, 2010

          Agreed. Sevilla did well at times to keep the ball for the ten seconds or so they had it. Watching the match again I was really impressed how Xavi can still have such an influence operating at even less pace than his normal easy style. If his injury doesn’t get worse you could see him doing this for a good few years yet.

          Everything genuinely seems to flow when Xavi, Iniesta and Messi work together like that. So many options for the player on the ball.

        • extreme barca fan
          November 2, 2010

          exactly my thoughts kxevin, i’ve said it in the lifeblog and i say it again now the pressure we applied was impossible to bear.
          ithink this was our best match this year, it remineded me of the treble season alot. sevilla DIDN’t roll over we walked over them, ofcourse the early goal helped alot but we played a flawless match

  2. Eklavya
    November 1, 2010

    It seems like Juventus are winning stuff again…?

  3. Hilal
    November 1, 2010

    Busquets is relentless. God teams must hate playing against him, he always seems to be there to win the ball or get in the way of a pass. No wonder they were trying to knock him around.

    I watch him play for us and then I watch Yaya play for Man City and I really wonder what all the fuss was about. Yaya is a great player, dont get me wrong, but does anybody think we are any worse off now?

    • SV
      November 1, 2010

      I wouldn’t say that one player is better then the other, they both had different playing styles to offer the team. Yaya’s your modern Defensive midfielder, he will destroy you if he needs to to get the ball and push the boundaries. Busquets is a bit more elegant and tends to get under the other team’s skin with his sneaky steals and is a pivot for our midfield. The reason most where worried is that sometimes you need that steal that Yaya offered us for more physical teams. Lucky we got Masch, which aside from his strong and precise tackles, he is also good on the ball.

      • stowe
        November 2, 2010

        dont forget that yaya could play cb

    • BA
      November 1, 2010

      i do. Yaya is/was still a better and more versatile player for our system than Mascherano, who we effectively traded him to England for. i understand there were personal/financial differences blah blah blah and it wasn’t practically possible to keep him, but on a purely footballing level there’s no doubt in my mind. defensively they’re rough equals (though obviously different styles) but Mascherano simply isn’t capable of scoring the kind of goal Yaya did in the Copa final against Bilbao, for instance.

      as for comparisons to Busquets, well, Yaya was certainly a better physical presence, was faster and commanded the midfield more than managed it. Busquets, being a cantera player, fits more comfortably with Xavi and Iniesta, but Yaya’s extra dimensions (literally) in that regard set him on par. Busquets has been superb for us and i don’t regret seeing him take over there, but there IS a give-and-take when you compare the 2 players.

      • Jim
        November 1, 2010

        I see things aren’t going as well as Yaya hoped in Manchester. Word is of a flare up in the tunnel with Milner.

        He’s also in an even bigger rotation than he would have had here and is having to give up playing time to lesser players than here. He was one of my favourite players but I have to say there’s a bit of me glad he’s discovered life after Barcelona isn’t all you might think. Alves would do well to remember that.

        • Jnice
          November 1, 2010

          He still is basically a starter over there, so I don’t think he has it that bad. And he gets to play attacking mid.

      • Kxevin
        November 1, 2010

        It depends on how you define better or worse off.

        From a locker room side, no question that we’re better off. A club is always better off being rid of want-away players.

        From the sporting side is a different question. I think that with Busquets as DM, Guardiola has the system as he would like it to be. The Yaya never, ever had the attacking midfield omnipresence that Busquets does, in that he just runs around and destroys everything. It’s easy to skew a comparison in favor of a favored player. But for me, The Yaya was a battleship, where Busquets is a destroyer.

        Mascherano is a different skill set altogether, again one in keeping with Guardiola’s attack, attack, attack philosophy, in that you have a player who destroys and wins balls. His passing game is and always will be underrated, it should also be noted.

        I think that the clip above, and the first half of the Sevilla match, is pure Guardiola football. In that setup, The Yaya would have been a weak link, because that system is envisioned for a player like Busquets. That’s no knock on The Yaya, is just is what it is.

        Yes, there are skill sets that each player brings to the table. But for my money, I don’t think that we’re worse off. Further, I think that in terms of what Guardiola wants, we’re better off.

        • Hilal
          November 1, 2010

          Well put and couldn’t agree more..

        • Kari
          November 1, 2010

          ^ This (comment before Hilal’s comment)

  4. Hilal
    November 1, 2010

    Stat from Opta – 327 – Sergio Busquets has attempted (327) and completed (306) more passes than any other player in the Champions League this season

  5. barca96
    November 1, 2010

    Did you guys notice during the match how Pep was constantly giving instructions. There was one bit where me and my brother were ROFL at 7am in the morning.
    After Messi’s goal, Pep from the sideline was making these funny gestures complimenting Bojan for dragging away the players from Messi. I wish someone has a clip of that bit.

    • Flyzowee
      November 1, 2010

      Yeah it was hilarious.
      I dont think Boyan even understood it at the time tho.

      • barca96
        November 1, 2010

        Yea haha. Pep does a lot of those comical tactical gestures.

        Juve are preparing 22mill for lil’Bojan. I’d say sell him! He is replaceable.
        It’s good that Pique bullies him a bit. The boy needs to toughen up. He’s too cute at times 😆

        FCK’s coach might intimidate Messi in the tunnel cause he doesn’t know any other way to stop Messi. 😆

        • Random Juve Fan
          November 2, 2010

          Where did you hear that rumor about Bojan? It doesn’t really make sense that Juve would go for that type of striker as we use a prima punta-secunda punta combination.

          If Bojan was to be bought by Juve he would be playing the secunda punta role which is already occupied by Del Piero and Quagliarella, so there isn’t much room for him. 22 million also seems a bit too expensive for a player of his calibre.

          Spanish players rarely play (or excel) in Serie A either, so I don’t see this transfer happening. Which sucks because Bojan is one of my favourite players.

          Forza Juve!!!

  6. barca96
    November 1, 2010

    That comment by Constacurta is just plain stupid. Doesn’t he know that Mourinho continued with Ranieri’s players at Chelsea and Mancini’s at Inter.

  7. Kari
    November 1, 2010

    Since the preview isn’t up yet, just a heads up for people that the game is on at 3:45pm EST instead of 2:45pm because it’s DST earlier for Europe.

    All times here: *

    • Kari
      November 1, 2010

      Sorry, that link shows the times for today instead of tomorrow, but it’s the same thing.

  8. Kxevin
    November 1, 2010

    Yeah, and why the hell ISN’T the preview up yet? 😀

  9. November 1, 2010

    The big thing I noticed from the match: Width. We seemed to be play with more width than the last couple of matches. That’s hell on defenders, goalies … you name it. If we can keep that kind of disciplined, wide attack going, I think we’re in good shape this year.

  10. poipoi
    November 1, 2010

    on busi vs yaya… I just love how busi steals balls, so old school. like what he does here in 1:44, you sit in your sofa or lame ass dusty cold plastic chair if you’re in the stadium 😉 and you can see him foreseeing the other guy’s move and plas! he gets him, like an anaconda or something. I love those busi moments they’re really fun. yaya was the best in his position better than busi pep makelele or anyone IMO. dude has it all, control dribble shot pass vision speed muscle… maybe he could have been our keita instead of keitee, at least that’s what I’d like. (boooh) 😉 But yaya was at the peak of his game already right? Busi isn’t yet and is better tactically than yaya IMO. He wanted to and he left, HIS problem I think he’ll see.

    -“Yes, there are skill sets that each player brings to the table. But for my money, I don’t think that we’re worse off. Further, I think that in terms of what Guardiola wants, we’re better off.”- Totally true, me neither. Can’t say if we’re better off or worse, it’s more like a draw. But I do recall guardiola didn’t want yaya to leave.

    to me masche, from the “grada”, the side it looks as if he had some different kind of muscles, different kind of rhythm. his attitude and speed are really intimidating looks like a true psycho, he really wants the ball not just disturb or pressure. You suffer for the guy that has the ball 🙂 He is another great tactical or maybe better “wise” player IMO. Can’t talk much about his ball skills but he has to be good also, and he’s been playing well.

    • barca96
      November 1, 2010

      Yaya when he is in the mood is the best DM in the world, period! The problem with him is that he jogs sometimes. Otherwise, he would be a crazy ass box2box player.

      Busi on the other hand relies on his positional awareness and is the best at reading the plays. I always tell my 11 year old brother to keep an eye on Busi so that he can learn to read the game like Busi does.(even I do learn from Busi but I dont tell my brother of course)

      My ideal team would include Busi, Yaya and sMasch in the team.
      Busi- holding Mid/CM
      Yaya- box to box
      sMasch- DM

    November 1, 2010

    this is just my opinion:you don.t leave barca for city when you are 27 in your best make good money here.stay and fight for your place.toure wanted to go.if alvez want the same let him go.we are big club.we pay the players veeery good salaries.we must stop do whatever their agents want more cash?go to city or dubai..and where.s the review??i am going to sleep waiting!

    November 1, 2010

    and about the “he deserve this” for alvez.every player in our squad work like a dog years now.from valdez to jeffren.if they did.n.t we could not be here we if alvez deserve this,everyone deserve it.but the club must have a stability and logic.

    November 1, 2010

    oh and i don.t believe in santa claus..but 22m for bojan? sounds like a christmas gift..haha..

    • poipoi
      November 1, 2010

      rumours on bojan (22 to juve) and nolito (10 to benfica) also. if you had to choose you would all get rid of nolito, bojan cast a spell on you xD

    • barca96
      November 1, 2010

      Haha I was really surprised too. I’d cash in if I were Pep.
      Can get ourselves Llorente for that money.

  14. jnelson
    November 1, 2010

    Now THAT is Total Football. What a masterclass.

  15. Louis
    November 1, 2010

    Anyone else read Zonal Marking’s recap of this game yet? It pretty much sums up what this post is all about. Great review, aside from the fact that the author acted like Alves played the game of his life just because he was pushed forward more than usual.

  16. barca96
    November 1, 2010

    Got this from barcastuff.

    Busi will be rested and sMasch will be replacing him.
    Great news considering that Busi has been playing A LOT!
    It will be great if Alves was rested in favor of Adriano too.
    And Messi in the 2nd half.

    Hopefully the boys will enter the match with the same mindset as last weekend. Then there is no need to play Messi in the 2nd half. Give Bojan some more time. And perhaps Thiago. I really don’t see a point in bringing Thiago to our matches when he just sits on the bench. He is better off playing full matches with the B-team.

    22mill up for grabs guys!!!
    -That is nearly half the amound needed for Cesc.(WANT)
    -That is probably enough for Llorente, if not, we can always throw Jeffren or Nolito the other way.(NEED)
    -Use the money to increase the salary of Alves, Busi etc.

    *Make sure to include a 1st option buy-back clause just in case Bojan turns into a world beater like Cesc.

  17. Kxevin
    November 1, 2010

    I find it impossible to believe that Juve is that freakin’ crazy. But if they are, I would fly to Barcelona, wrap Krkic in swaddling clothes, and fly him to Turin myself.

    10m for Nolito is cheap. And I can’t see us selling Krkic and Nolito.

    • vicsoc8
      November 1, 2010

      I would wrap up a 10m deal for Nolito in an instant. The man is 24, and in my opinion isn’t, and will never be Barca quality.

      The Bojan rumor is a laugh. They don’t give Giovinco minutes, how do you expect that Bojan will get any time? Not going to happen

      • barca96
        November 2, 2010

        I don’t care whether or not he will get playing time. It’s none of our(club)’s business. What we should worry about is, getting the money asap and get a plan B or save the money for cesc or contracts.

      • Miguel
        November 2, 2010

        giovinco is on loan to parma. they do give minutes to del piero, though.

        i’m pretty sure this is just a rumor conjured up by his agent. he is renegotiating his contract right now, you know. couldn’t think of a worse time to do so, though.

  18. jnelson1731
    November 1, 2010

    I disagree with “Barca quality” statements. All of our Cantera has been “Barca quality” and that is why they area a part of our organization. Just because their skill sets and abilities dont meed the needs of the first team does not mean they are not “Barca quality”. That seems harsh. Just because he is 24 means nothing. He could have 6 phenomal years in him. If there was not a chance he could make the cut, Pep would never have called him up during season.

    I still would not sell Bojan for 22m. Bust, or not, I could not do it. I see great things in his game: his shooting is quick and powerful, he can make great passes, and he has the energy. If only he could get his head right…Blaming him for our goal scoring deficiencies is only reasonable if he was indeed expected to pile them in in the very beginning. If you recall, we had intended to play the season with a big Swede, and were left short-handed. What would everyone’s expectations for Bojan have been then?

    • barca96
      November 2, 2010

      But now is a good time to cash in on him. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind coming back in the future. We gotta make sure to have the buy-back clause or 1st choice option or whatever it’s called.

      I’ve always been supportive and never critisized him, but the match last week against Ceuta was just the end for me. It looked as if he was day-dreaming.

      We hardly make any profit when selling player, and Bojan is free, so that is a full 22million profit right there on the plate. With that money we can get Llorente or strengthen any area where it is needed.
      Or…we could use that money for future contract renewals.

  19. November 1, 2010

    I’d take that 20m from those Italians and gift wrap Boji to them in a about a second too. But who would pay 20m for a 4.5?

    • Jim
      November 2, 2010

      Maybe we need to reflect on what people see in him that make him worth the money ?

  20. Culer_Than_Thou
    November 2, 2010

    Jnice! Do you have the Revista links for this week?

    Thanks in advance.

  21. pulpo
    November 2, 2010

    Selling Bojan will be the best thing for both him and the club. I don’t see Bojan’s skillset on our wings and he has too many hurdles before he can become our number 9. He has a better chance in another system.

  22. Spiro
    November 2, 2010

    you guys do realise this is all fairy-tale ideas right?

    first of all, at the beginning of the season everyone of us were preaching on about the lack of numbers in our squad, and now we are preaching about offloading players just for the hell of it.

    come on guys, you should all know how Pep works, there is absolutely no chance Pep would agree to sell a squad player during the winter transfer, it has never happened and it never will.

    The only logical reason is a push from Rosell but again clubs offering 20 million? its all fairy-tales, Yaya was 24 million.

    even if we do conjure up 20 million, that is no-where near enough for us to be able to lure Llorente or Torres, IN THE WINTER TRANSFER BREAK!

    logically speaking, I know many disagree, but we are better off keeping Bojan, 20 million isn’t going to help us on the pitch. If we do want decent cover we can always borrow or buy another player at a reasonably low cost. Otherwise Pep and Zubi will continue with who we have.

    in Nolito’s case, It comes down to the player’s decision, there is a possible chance that Nolito could be contemplating cashing in on his recent rise in attention in europe, given that he probably realises that it is very difficult and may take years before he can even secure a regular spot in Barca’s first team. I know Pep would want to keep him though.

  23. Diego S.
    November 2, 2010

    I’d sell Nolito for 10m, We’ll never get a higher Offer.Also, He’s 24. I say sell Jeffren too, He’s injury prone.

    I wouldn’t sell Bojan, He’s still 20. Can you tell me any player who was Barca quality or World class when he was 20 ? We had to wait for Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, and Valdes. Why can’t we give him a chance ?!

  24. Helge
    November 2, 2010

    “I am Zlatan”:
    * 😀

    • Kari
      November 2, 2010


      This one is still the best though. *

  25. Kari
    November 2, 2010

    On fantasy Bojan to Juve rumours: see Random Juve Fan comment

    On Nolito: 10m > 0m. Although I have a soft spot for him, if he agrees he want to get out of the Segunda and into a first division side then I’m all for it.

  26. Eklavya
    November 2, 2010

    Bojan to Juve will never happen.

    -Juve won’t pay 22m for a small striker like Bojan.
    -Pep won’t sell him, he wants him to renew anyway.
    -Bojan would have even less confidence at Juve than here where all his friends are.
    -Bojan wouldn’t want to go anyway

    On the other hand, I’d do 10m for Nolito in 1.5 seconds! He’s 24 and I doubt he will ever be in any A team, let alone the Barca A team. So if any offers comes which is millions, I do it straight away after a little chat with Enrique. 🙂

    November 2, 2010

    benfica is a team who make sometimes stupid moves.i remember when they buyed a guy from E.E balboa for 3m if i am wright.i believe that maybe they want nolito.and i disagree with logic price no cheap!

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