It is one of the most asked football questions, and it’s still a mystery to managers all over, and here’s what I think on how you should approach a game against the mighty Barcelona
Step 1: Close Down The Attacking Trio
It’s the ultimate strike partnership, you get Lionel Messi’s dazzling dribbling and mazy runs, not to mention his delicate chips over the keeper, then you get the skill of David Villa, cool and composed in a one-on-one situation. And then you get Pedro, the hardworking wideman who cuts in very often.
Many times, teams go out there and basically triple mark Messi, that is not the answer, in my opinion. I think that there shouldn’t be ‘exclusive’ defending for Messi. After all, the only result of that can be him finding space where you’re not supposed to be playing, and leaving that place open.
Let me explain that: for example, you’re a left-back marking Messi. He cuts into the middle, that leaves the whole right wing open for Barcelona for Daniel Alves and Iniesta to expose. That is why you do NOT man-mark Messi, he breaks free anyway. To me, the answer can only be zonal marking.
Yes, there are many skeptics, but it is a tactic that works against Barcelona (if you have a decent enough side). That way you always in some way or another stand behind the Barcelona strikeforce. And just a piece of advice: don’t play the offside trap. that’s the worst idea ever.
Step 2: Shutting Up The Midfield
To me, it’s all about hard work that will stop the Barcelona midfield from operating properly. We certainly saw that in the first few minutes of the Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona. Although, the cons of this: your players get tired.
But you must do this to prevent the defence splitting pass that Iniesta and Xavi are more than capable of producing. Perhaps the one that takes his time the most for Barcelona is in fact Sergio Busquets, their midfield hardman.
The key idea we had was to pile the pressure on their defenders and not allow them to bring the ball out of the back.
Manolo Jiménez; Beat Barcelona 2-1 on 5 January 2010 with Sevilla
Step 3: The Attack
Against Barcelona, the key thing that I would exploit as a manager is the wings. Reason being Abidal is too slow to keep up with pacey wingers, and Daniel Alves often ventures way too far out to aid the attacking front.
Second reason: Puyol and Pique aren’t what I call the fastest players around either. During Spain’s inconsistent short run after the World Cup, it’s because people realized that they weren’t as colossal as they seemed, that their speed was a strong flaw in their game.
You want someone who’s a good finisher and a good header in there. That’s how you can break down the Barcelona defence. And if you look back at several tapes, most crucial goals scored against Barcelona are in fact started/finished or even both on the LEFT WING.
Daniel Alves is the player you want to exploit.
So you guys got anymore ideas on how to stop the rampaging champions of Europe. Straight to the comments section below!
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