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Barcelona, The End of Days?


blueboy94
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The thing with Messi is that the position he plays works against the lesser teams, roaming between midfield and attack to be equally effective in a creating role as well as getting into goal scoring positions. A well organised defensive team really limits what he can do. Tonight for example, a soild back four with two defensive mids in front of them, and for the Barca system to work, Messi must somehow find space in dangerous areas. On top of this, the congestion in the midfield from Barcelona players basically nullifies anything Messi can do. I think in these types of situations he'd be more effective on the right. He may not get into goal scoring positions but he'll see a lot more of the ball.

Also, I've noticed in games where he hasn't had much of an influence, the times he does get the ball he tries to do to much. Taking on an extra man instead of playing the simple pass, often losing the ball, creating a sort of chicken and egg cycle.

Moving to the right would get the best out of Alves as well.

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Moving to the right would get the best out of Alves as well.

Their link-up play was a joy to behold.

That is, incidentally, the only good thing about Iniesta being shunted out on the left to make room for Fabregas. His understanding with Alba is brilliant.

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Their link-up play was a joy to behold.

That is, incidentally, the only good thing about Iniesta being shunted out on the left to make room for Fabregas. His understanding with Alba is brilliant.

His pass for Alba's goal tonight was lovely. As good a consolation goal as I've seen!

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I think this is a bit of an overreaction to a few poor results. The other thing to bear in mind as well is the whole thing has been disrupted by Tito's illness and Roura clearly just isn't managerial material.

But anyhow if this is the beginning of the end? Let's firstly off all look at their league form. Yes Madrid haven't been anywhere near as consistent as the past three seasons where they've gained 96, 92 and 100 points respectively but this doesn't explain Barca's big lead entirely. Barca have been more consistent in the league this year than in any other dropping only 7 points in 25 games

In the 2008/2009 treble winning season they'd dropped 15 points after 25 games.

In the 2009/2010 season were they got 99 points in total they'd dropped 13 points after 25 games.

In the 2010/2011 season they had dropped 7 points at this stage (same as this season) after 25 games.

In the 2011/2012 season they had dropped 18 points after 25 games.

So clearly their league form is just as good if not better than all Pep's seasons. So let's look at other factors.

The head to head winning ratio against Madrid has gone down but that had been going down towards the end of Pep's reign as well as Mourinho slowly adjusted to beat Barca. In fact Pep only won two of his final six games against Real Madrid.

Their Champions League performance this year if they are to crash out to A.C. Milan as I expect they will do will be totally below par but it was a brilliantly organized performance by an inform A.C. Milan side to their credit.

The point I'm trying to make is two defeats to good teams whose managers tactically called it perfect is hugely dissappointing but not a sign that things are coming to an end, especially when part of the reason they were so tactically outclassed I believe is probably to do with the manager being ill and a scout having to take charge of the team (tu)

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Some peoples inability to debate a point without resorting to tabloid-style childish sensationalism is staggering at times!

Back OT,

I would say it is a bit early to contemplate if this is the beginning of the end (just as it was far too premature to hail them as the best ever!).

I would say only Xavi & Puyol are in the twilight years of their careers while most of the others are still to reach their 'peak' years...they could, of course, already have peaked in terms of ability but I just mean quite a few of their squad still have to play through 27-29 years, where traditionally players will be at their best. Valdes, Alba, Pique, Busquets, Fabregas, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi will still form the backbone of this team over the next 3-5 years, all of whom have achieved at the highest levels in either club or international football (and sometimes at both!).

There are certainly questions being asked of them, very similar questions have been asked before and the response has been emphatic (the defeat in semi to Inter, followed by their demolition of Man U in the next years final!).

I think it is important to consider this year was always going to be difficult to see how they adapted without Pep, I felt they started the season promisingly but now they are also having to deal with the fact Tito is away getting treatment for cancer and effectively a guy who was a scout (?) last season is the main man in the dugout!

However that is not their only problem, far from it, and while is hard to fully quantify the mental impact of all of that there are genuine problems with how they are playing their football (and is something that has been bubbling since even before Pep left).

I think they have become a bit thrawn in how they play. A bit too much tippy tappy stuff! I love their ability to hold possession, to keep the ball moving and find passes in tight spaces. For me, however, Barca, at their best, know when to slow it down and when it to move it at pace. They were constantly moving (both the ball and players interchanging positions), pulling people about and exploiting space and, often, at devastating pace. Now, at times, they seem happy to just knock it about and allow the opposition to set a wall in front of them. It is very difficult to pass through 8 or 9 players!

In addition their defence has always been suspect, but they used to nullify this by tremendous workrate to harry the opposition and get the ball back as quickly as possible. I don’t see the same intensity about their work now.

People talk about having no plan B…I think they are simply failing to exercise plan A! Do what they do but with more pace, width & intensity and I still think they are the best team out there. Whether they can find that before Saturday or the Milan game is another matter!

As a start;

I would not play both Iniesta and Fabregas…it is stifling both and, for me, if it’s one it is Iniesta!

David Villa should start. Offers a goal threat and a penalty box instinct to supplement Messi.

Also need a winger who will hit bye-lines. I generally like Pedro but he comes inside at every single opportunity (has done for a while), making it easy to defend as you know what he is going to do. Maybe try the young guy Tello, he seems direct and pacy.

Jordi Alba seemed to be the only player willing to get to the bye-line last night, generally you may see Alves doing likewise although I think he was more concerned with Ronaldo...have to say I thought Alves played one of his better games against him, of course Ronaldo did score twice but both came when he was breaking from the right wing position as opposed to being against Alves.

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Some peoples inability to debate a point without resorting to tabloid-style childish sensationalism is staggering at times!

Back OT,

I would say it is a bit early to contemplate if this is the beginning of the end (just as it was far too premature to hail them as the best ever!).

I would say only Xavi & Puyol are in the twilight years of their careers while most of the others are still to reach their 'peak' years...they could, of course, already have peaked in terms of ability but I just mean quite a few of their squad still have to play through 27-29 years, where traditionally players will be at their best. Valdes, Alba, Pique, Busquets, Fabregas, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi will still form the backbone of this team over the next 3-5 years, all of whom have achieved at the highest levels in either club or international football (and sometimes at both!).

There are certainly questions being asked of them, very similar questions have been asked before and the response has been emphatic (the defeat in semi to Inter, followed by their demolition of Man U in the next years final!).

I think it is important to consider this year was always going to be difficult to see how they adapted without Pep, I felt they started the season promisingly but now they are also having to deal with the fact Tito is away getting treatment for cancer and effectively a guy who was a scout (?) last season is the main man in the dugout!

However that is not their only problem, far from it, and while is hard to fully quantify the mental impact of all of that there are genuine problems with how they are playing their football (and is something that has been bubbling since even before Pep left).

I think they have become a bit thrawn in how they play. A bit too much tippy tappy stuff! I love their ability to hold possession, to keep the ball moving and find passes in tight spaces. For me, however, Barca, at their best, know when to slow it down and when it to move it at pace. They were constantly moving (both the ball and players interchanging positions), pulling people about and exploiting space and, often, at devastating pace. Now, at times, they seem happy to just knock it about and allow the opposition to set a wall in front of them. It is very difficult to pass through 8 or 9 players!

In addition their defence has always been suspect, but they used to nullify this by tremendous workrate to harry the opposition and get the ball back as quickly as possible. I don’t see the same intensity about their work now.

People talk about having no plan B…I think they are simply failing to exercise plan A! Do what they do but with more pace, width & intensity and I still think they are the best team out there. Whether they can find that before Saturday or the Milan game is another matter!

As a start;

I would not play both Iniesta and Fabregas…it is stifling both and, for me, if it’s one it is Iniesta!

David Villa should start. Offers a goal threat and a penalty box instinct to supplement Messi.

Also need a winger who will hit bye-lines. I generally like Pedro but he comes inside at every single opportunity (has done for a while), making it easy to defend as you know what he is going to do. Maybe try the young guy Tello, he seems direct and pacy.

Jordi Alba seemed to be the only player willing to get to the bye-line last night, generally you may see Alves doing likewise although I think he was more concerned with Ronaldo...have to say I thought Alves played one of his better games against him, of course Ronaldo did score twice but both came when he was breaking from the right wing position as opposed to being against Alves.

Aye!

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Agreed with several parts of Nelson's post.

It was interesting to see the panel last night look at some of the goals that Barca had conceded - they all came from Jordi Alba's side. I'm not convinced he isn't a winger, because some of the mistakes he makes - when you actually sit down and look at the goals - are unforgivable.

Barca also need a Ramos in there, because Puyol is becoming more of a liability with every passing minute. Ronaldo absolutely tortured him last night.

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I see a lot of people also saying they'd play Messi and Villa together;

Messi and Villa do not like each other, and apparently it's no secret in Spain. Villa came on for half an hour last week and Messi passed the ball to him once. According to Sid Lowe, the bad feeling started from Villa's side because he felt out of the limelight due to Messi, but there's a definite problem there.

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I see a lot of people also saying they'd play Messi and Villa together;

Messi and Villa do not like each other, and apparently it's no secret in Spain. Villa came on for half an hour last week and Messi passed the ball to him once. According to Sid Lowe, the bad feeling started from Villa's side because he felt out of the limelight due to Messi, but there's a definite problem there.

Messi commented on the positive impact Villa had when he came on though, he said it created space for him.

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It wasn't as if they just lost though, they looked incredibly poor and they barely created any chances. That's just unheard of from Barcelona.

It was 2 shots on target the whole night and sweet fuck all from Messi, where as Madrid complete dominated with hardly any possession and Ronaldo running riot.

T'was brilliant.

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