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Apr 11, 2010

Yesterday's 2-0 victory over Real Madrid is Barca's fourth consecutive Clasico win following the 4-1 disappointment at Bernebeu two seasons ago. That statistics alone shows the difference in quality between these two sides at this moment. This FC Barcelona is considered as one of the best in the history, made up of stars coming out of Barca's youth academy. It is ironic that yesterday's two goal scorers were product of Barca's youth academy and the assist to both the goals came from Xavi, another La Masia veteran. In contrast Real Madrid was trying to buy their way into greatness. This Real Madrid, one of the most talented side in recent past has been assembled at a cost of over 300 million dollars. Florentino PĂ©rez's neo-Galactico policy has failed to guarantee victory over their arch-rivals and also demands a bit of introspection from the Chairman about his methods. But as we all know Perez is not a man who is going to change due to pressure. What we will see this summer is another spending spree, already there are a number of big names in which Madrid is interested - Rooney, Gerrard etc. Returning back to yesterday's game, what we saw was nowhere near a classic Clasico. It resembled at times a clash between two top English teams rather with chances at premium. In the end the quality of talents Barca possess and the fact that their team looked a more compact was the difference in the game.

Real Madrid failed to match Barca

Looking back, you can't claim Barca played at their best to beat Real Madrid. If theer was one player who was at his best, then it was Xavi Hernandez. Barca employed a 4-1-2-3 formation with Alves and Pedro flanking Messi in attack. With all respects to Pedro and Alves, they never contributed anything meaningful in attack in first half. Alves experiment was a total failure. How Barca got away with two of their attacking trio misfiring was the story of yesterday's match. Real Madrid was never over run like last season, but you can argue that in the end the feeling same. Real madrid employed Barca's successful tactics of pressing hard and creating pressure in barca's midfield. To an extent those tactics succeeded and we saw Ronaldo and Marcelo troubling Barca's defense with their pace. But for all their explots with speed Madrid's atatcking palyers could not construct a single neat attacking move. Ronaldo looked like he is looking to show the world who is the better player, in the end showed the world that he is a seriously one dimensional player. Ronaldo's whole game plan depend on speed and his success to run at defense with pace. If the defense succeeds in cutting him out from his team mates, he don't have an alternative plan available. To an extend it was the same in last year's Champions League final.

Pellegrini is a very talented and experienced coach. But there is no doubt that he was undone by his own inability to find a strategy than Guardiola. His strategy of pressuring Barca on the ball worked well but I seriously douth that he worked on the counter attacking strategy. The trio of Higuain, Ronaldo and Marcelo created enough trouble for Barca individually, but failed to combine together to seriously make a goal scoring opportunity. Real Madrid ended with the game having seven shots on target to Barca's four. But only one of the seven shots troubled Valdes, whereas Barca's for shots were great chances resulting in two goals and two wonderful saves from Iker Casillas. Yesterday's match shows that Real Madrid has a long way to go to match this Barca side in terms of skill and grit. They missed Kaka a lot in last night's match as there were no one who could create a genuine chance from the midfield. Considering Kaka's recent form even he could have been a spectator. As far as Barca is concerned, everything Guardiola touches is turning to gold. Even though his experiment with Alves failed, but he never had to pay any price thanks to the amazing talent of Messi - Xavi duo and a seriously hard working team. The work rate put by Barca has been exceptional in last few matches and it is quite a surprise how the players consistently work that hard on the pitch.

On a final analysis it was Real Madrid's inablility to work as a team that hurt them the most. There were individual performances but those weren't good enough. FC Barcelona worked really hard as a team, their defense is not considered as the best but they showed that they have the most resolute defense. Pedro and Alves failed to impose in first half, but there work-rate was exceptional. Real Madrid was shocked by the skill of Xavi and Messi creating the first goal and never recovered from it.

5 comments:

koorosh.fardipour said...

With lots of appreciation for the valuable writings you have done these days, I don´t agree with your judgment on the surprising role of Danni Alves in the resent match against Real Madrid.
You called it a failure and you also thought that young Pedro too, failed to produce in that match.
Bear in mind that this year´s Real Madrid is not the same team it was last year. It is a much stronger team which had won all of its games at home, scoring plenty of goals. The 6 goals Barca gave them last year, was like a painful sword wound in the pride of their entire administration . They had spent lots of money to build a devastating machine just to destroy us. They were so sure of doing that.
Barca didn’t meet them at the best possible time. Abidal was away, so was Ibra, Iniesta was not quite ready and the team was tired due to some intensive schedule. Being familiar with the psychology of Guardiola, I was sure he would use Milito in the center of defense. He likes players who have something extra. This something extra is personal and is not much depended on skills. players like puyol have this extra thing.. Pep´s unique characteristic is that he can get the most highly professional players act as amateurs usually do. They play with a sacrificing, fighting spirit combined with a genuine sense of loyalty towards collectiveness.
In my opinion this ability of the coach was the main reason behind the unbelievable achievements of the last season. Those Achievements are almost surrealistic in modern football.
Prior to El classico, my assumption was that Puyol would be playing as a left back instead of Maxwell. Apparently, the coach rightfully had a lot of respect for Ronaldo and new that he would be the root of every danger, and that he would create dangers from the right side of the field. I guess that´s why he filled that side with 3 "offensive" defenders! I am grateful for that tactic. It certainly neutralized Ronalo and made him look like a lost child in a vast crowdie street.
All right, the team did not play as elegantly as they usually do, but they easily defeated Real Madrid in their best form and the little Pedro scored a wonderful goal against one of the greatest keepers in the world.

Bibin said...

The presence of Milito, Puyol and Pique gave great balance in defense. But that doesn't mar the fact that Alves didn't do anything special upfront.

Sumoflabarelli said...

Alves seems to be going through an iffy patch at the moment, with a disproportionately large amount of his crosses not finding their target, and having not nailed a free kick for a while. He does however tackle hard from the front and provide an attacking threat, and both of these he did in both halves on Saturday.

Equally, I thought Puyol once again had a fantastic game, playing mostly defensively behind Alves, and then overlapping Maxwell in the second half.

Also, is Victor Valdes the world's most underrated goalkeeper?

Overall, another great performance, indeed, more dominant than anyone expected against a team that pressed harder than almost every other team we've faced this year.

Anonymous said...

good article.........good comments...all kudos to Xavi and Puyol.

Anonymous said...

messi was nt half as good as he usualy is

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