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Jun 16, 2014

  • Brilliant Lionel Messi strike secures Argentina match victory.
  • Despite victory, Tactical formation becomes a head ache for Sabella.
It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem. Gilbert K. Chesterton

It's the same story all again. Lionel Messi mesmerised the world once again scoring one of the best goals in the tournament to give Argentina the victory; but that wasn't without the usual criticism. Despite the victory, Argentina struggled to impose their will on the game. They struggled to control the game for long and was pretty lucky to have the lead going in to the break. They didn't deserve the lead at that point of time. As expected many of the criticism were directed at Lionel Messi without much sense. For those who watched the first half properly, it was so easy to identify the problem with the formation. The 5-3-2 formation never suited Argentina's attacking talent and the two forwards , Aguerro and Messi were getting isolated so often. This forced Lionel Messi to drop deep and deep in to the midfield; for some reason people question that also? One has to ask the question What was he supposed to do? He simply had no choice as their was no midfield in the game.

Sabella got it all wrong when he selected the 5-3-2 formation. A 5-3-2 formation usually works as a defensive formation in most sides, but it can also be used as an attacking formation provided you have the right players. To make it works as a proper attacking formation, two flying full backs are essential. That Argentina never had, to make matters worse Rojo and Sabaletta never went forward as they usually used to do. That simply took the two forwards out of the game. Naturally Messi started dropping deep to link with the midfield, he simply had to. That meant every time he got the ball he was easily closed down. We Barca fans have seen this many times.

Many people have identified this as a problem. The natural solution prescribed has been to open up another front, the Neymar acquisition was done for that. But that experiment didn't take on as expected. Simple reason for that was that we never solved the problem at all. The problem was that Lionel Messi wasn't afforded any space by the opposition, or more by the tactics employed by his own coach. Space is paramount in football, without that no one can work their magic. The solution for the problem faced by Barca and Argentina is simple - provide the space for Messi to operate again.

With a player of Messi's talent it is natural that the team will depend on him. If you can afford not to, then Lionel Messi is simply not the "Best Player in the World". We have already seen how when afforded a little bit of space, Lionel Messi can destroy opposition. You just have to watch the second leg encounter against Milan at Camp Nou a season ago. He simply destroyed them because David Villa's position afforded him the space to do so. I have explained this an umpteenth time. But no one seems to have recognised this. Instead everyone says that over dependency on Messi is the problem. They simply have to recognise the fact that Lionel Messi is not the Problem, but the solution to our problems.

Sabella needs to decide on a formation which will allow Lionel Messi to operate at his best. Luckily at half time in the match against Bosnia he recognised his mistakes and immediately rectified the same. That was the reason why we saw a completely different Lionel Messi after the half. He may not have been at his very best, but with his goal he showed what he could do when afforded space. If the coach manges to get him the space to operate with, he may deliver him the trophy.

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