Archive for ‘Chelsea’

April 25, 2012

Guadiola Gets It Wrong Vs Chelsea

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I don’t necessarily think you have to posses a towering number 9 at all for Barca to add another dimension. I’m not sold on that personally.

Rather, I think that as long as you have variation on the pitch in the build up and in other areas, you don’t need that number 9. Theres nothing legitimate about pushing Pique up top, or Keita. If Barca play 4-3-3 like the devastating past few years last night, then the match would have been an entirely different one. Busquets holds, Pujol and Pique at centre back playing on the half way line, pushing Alves up wide to support Cuenca and cause an overload and give Drogba problems, who surely must be thinking that defending is the easiest thing in the world given how little he was exposed when he tucked in left-wing (which his ego categorically does not need).

Same on the other flank, Adriano could have pushed further up to create space on the wings, seeing as Chelsea are compact and denying space in the middle. Also, the 4-3-3 would be anchored by Busquets, not by Xavi as has been suggested in discussions, which would be suicidal when you’re dispossessed. This would leave you with decent numbers against a counter. A wide centre pairing of Pique and Pujol with Busquets centre and in front of them I think could cope with an on rushing Drogba and Ramires, and lets not forget Dani Alves is normally extremely competent at getting back himself, with Adriano being sensibly aggressive.

The Mascherano at centre back thing makes sense in La Liga where teams generally offer little from a number 9 and much of his defending is going to be on the ground, which he is extremely adept at. However, against a physical striker like Drogba who is there solely to disrupt you in the air and jostle on the ground, i literally have no idea why Mascherano was selected for the match up here in both legs, when Pep should have sacrificed playing out from the back in exchange for a player that could compete with Drogba better.

Barca wish to have one fluid movement of players, one fluid formation, this is Guardiola’s ideal and this is what he’s being striving for this season; little or no specialised players and one fluid formation of midfielders throughout the pitch. However, the reality is that this does not work against teams equipped and geared to counter attack you with power whilst parking the bus. You need specialised centre backs at the very least. Unless you’re going to have 100% possession then you need specialist centre backs when the team pose a physical threat.

The most confusing thing is that Barca attempted to attack after going 2-0 up, when keeping the ball for the victory is bread and butter stuff for champions. Barca themselves i recall kept the ball away from Man Utd as easily as imaginable in the ’09 final, with Carrick Scholes and Giggs pretty much waving a white flag to the midfield carousel. However, Barca this time did not do this. I have no idea why, I personally would have Pujol and Mascherano exchange passes a thousand times if it meant the score staying the same, or dragging Chelsea out of position so you could expose them. This is really basic stuff though and surely Guardiola is aware of it.

Interestingly, I wonder if the managers were switched for the tie last night who would progress and i overwhelmingly think it would be Di Matteo, who himself mastered this victory over Barca, which was helped by both Guardiola’s naivety as well as a sizable amount of luck in both legs. Which brings us lastly to whether you can completely eradicate luck from a match, which you can’t, you simply play the percentages so to speak, choose the smartest option that gives the BEST CHANCE of victory, and im not sure Barca did that in either leg.

Guardiola himself said “That is football, you have high periods and then you have low ones”, however you can’t help but feel this was an avoidable low.