So. 24 hours later and how do we feel, kiddies? …Yeah. Just moving along, folks. Nothing to see here.
I bring to attention two videos. One is about a team playing electric football; the other, a team playing like it is a training match. Before commenting on the latter, I’ll let you watch it first (both videos are credited to MessiBarcaNL):
So. You have watched our tiki-taka against EE without the emotion of a live game. Why do you notice? I dunno, you can discuss that in the comments, but I’ll tell you what I see: a team not looking to win, but to control by possession. Going forward, but with no real urgency. Bark, but with not enough bite. One pass forward only to go two passes back. An energy conserving performance, team going half-speed. This is what second-gear Barca looks like.
Now, am I saying this to be negative or pessimistic? No, I’m trying to put this into perspective, which is why there are two videos. The below is the Barca we’ve seen, and been spoiled by, for the majority of this season.
Again, I ask the question: what do you notice? I noticed a team going forward with purpose and intent. And faster. Much much faster. Small, incisive, deadly passes at warp-speed. A team looking to score.
So what is the point of this post? That conclusions on how the other 3 Clasicos will go can’t really be made based on yesterday’s game. Why? Because that wasn’t the Barca we, and the world, are used to. In my opinion, we got more from that game than EE did. Why? Because we’ve seen the “surprising” change early, and it’s playing Pepe at DM while keeping Ozil on the bench as a game changer. There are more than that, but that’s the change that stuck out for me. What has EE learned? Villa is in a scoring rut. Xavi likes to mouth off to refs. They can kick us to all hell if the ref decides to play on instead of dishing out a yellow (see 6:53 in the first video).
Okay, the last sentence is my bitterness talking (although I do believe Pepe did similar things the whole match. And yes, I know it was Ramos who did it, but I’m just sayi—nevermind. Moving on), but you get the point. It’s nothing they didn’t know already.
Pep is really underrated. I’m serious. People keep talking about how much “Mou” has learned without taking into account what Pep has seen. That also works in our advantage; indeed, don’t be surprised if we get Pep’d on Wednesday and see Afellay as a LB. (I’m joking. I think.)
Madridistas will point at the fact their team can tie the best team in the world with 10 men. Cules will point to the fact their team can play half-gear and dominate 80 minutes at the home of their bitter rivals. In the end, this match is just a set-up for a bigger one on Wednesday and the biggest ones in the CL.
And I think we have the edge.
In any case, discuss!