After a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou in the first leg of their Champions League (CL) tie, Barça and Atlético Madrid meet at the Calderón to determine who advances to the CL semi-finals. As a preview for the match I did an interview with Outside of the Boot that we’re cross-posting both here at Barcelona… Continue reading Champions League Preview: Barça – Atlético Madrid Leg Two at the Calderón
The key to figuring out what changes Barça needs to make today starts with understanding how AC Milan defended in leg 1. And in my judgement that analysis begins with the following: AC Milan did not “park the bus” in leg 1. Unless Allegri takes a much more conservative approach, if you go about planning… Continue reading Tactical Preview: Barcelona vs AC Milan Champions League Leg 2
Barcelona play their final match of the Liga season. More than the result the match is noteworthy for being Pep’s last La Liga match as manager. Enjoy the way this brilliant side play. It’s been a treasure to be able to see them grow under Pep.
At the individual level, football contains within it dazzling variety. Nothing repeats-every match is unique in its own patterned ways. At the team level, however, systems are more constrained. While there are many different interpretations and implementations of tactical systems, there are only so many different baseline ways to set up a side. As such,… Continue reading The Barcelona System: Re-Inverting the Pyramid vs. Getafe
Barcelona is a side that seeks to control midfield by dominating the ball and wants to play through the center. One of Milan’s great strengths is their defensive solidity in midfield and the resistance they offer through the spine of their side. It is this direct contrast that is one of the major factors that… Continue reading Barcelona-Milan Champions League Tactical Preview: The Midfield Battle
Barcelona opened the current La Liga season in spectacular fashion defeating a then highly promising Villareal side 5-0. Utilizing a new formation and integrating new players, Barca produced football that was both remarkably fluid and effective. Even within the standards of the Guardiola-era Barcelona project, that match marked a noteworthy highlight of dynamic, attacking play.… Continue reading Match Review: Villareal 0 – 0 Barcelona: Missing Opportunities
Imagine if you could validly measure every dimension of football, every variable relevant to shaping the dynamics and outcomes of a match. If so, you could build a model of the game and simulate matches in a computer with accuracy. These kinds of computer simulators for football already exist in certain forms. They are however… Continue reading Match Review Copa Del Rey: Barcelona 2 – 2 Madrid, 4 – 3 Aggregate: Simulation
Matches between rivals are layered affairs. Individual encounters add strata to the competitions preceding them. Each match has an individual importance but there’s an additive effect that creates a larger history between them. The life cycle of a rivalry is usually measured in years. But Barcelona and Real Madrid no longer have the luxury of… Continue reading Match Review – Madrid 1 – 2 Barcelona: False Equivalence
Barcelona’s match against L’Hospitalet proved to be a near perfect ending for the first half of this season. It wasn’t the historic 9-0 score that made the match noteworthy. Nor was it the fact that Barça fielded a team of ten outfield players and three substitutes all of whom played in La Masia. What made… Continue reading Match Review – Barcelona 9 – 0 L’Hospitalet (10-0 Aggregate): Full Circle
“Gentlemen, if you lose today you will continue to be the best in the world – but if you win today you will be eternal.” – Pep Guardiola, prior to the Club World Cup finals in 2009 Think back to Pedro equalizing in the 89th minute. Messi scoring off the club crest in the extra… Continue reading Tactical Preview – The Club World Cup: How Should Barcelona Attack the Santos System?
People talk about tactics, but when you look at it, tactics are just players. You change things so that the team can get the most out of the skills they have to offer, but you don’t go any further than that. When it comes to tactics you have to think about what the opposition does… Continue reading Match Review Part 2: El Clásico Madrid 1 – 3 Barcelona: Tactical Analysis
There’s a curious attraction, almost an intoxication, which comes from spotting a trend. We look for them everywhere. It’s one of our foibles as humans. So eager to project what’s to come, we read too much into the tealeaves of our times. Small samples of evidence are transformed into forecasts and given weight they cannot… Continue reading Match Review Part 1: El Clásico Madrid 1 – 3 Barcelona: The Other 39 Seconds