Sunday, January 22, 2012

How can you beat Barcelona?

I would argue that the only way to beat Barcelona is to beat them at their own game. I.e. press more, work harder and pass better.

Admitedly this is not an easy thing to do, but how many teams have
attempted it? The closest anyone has come to this was Arsenal last year and until Van Persie got sent off they could have done it.

What surprises and frustrates me is that this Barcelona team and their way of playing will fade away rather than other teams attempting to better them.

Can’t Real Madrid find the players to do so? Or Manchester United? Or Inter? The only team I see moving in the right direction with a good positive attitude and commitment to PLAY football is Manchester City as much as I hate to admit it, although they have started to falter of late.

Of course this depends on the managers. I would argue that Mourinho did better at Inter and probably had a better team there than he does at Real Madrid, if you look at the team as a whole rather than a couple of players Mourinho’s Inter side was much more balanced, and hard working, which helps. Unfortunately, successive maangers at Inter have proved unworthy of inheriting such a good group of players. At Real he has a lot of superstars but still has gaps and the talent is not evenly spread across the squad, their centre midfield is not fantastic and that has been the difference between them and Barça.

Alex Ferguson plays his brand of football and it is a style that can be attractive at times due to its efficiency especially at scoring goals in the Premiership, but they no longer have Scholes and Ronaldo and they have not been replaced, even if I do think that Cleverley will eventually become very important in that midfield, it’s a transitional period at Old Trafford. It’s remarkable that they are doing as well as they are still. Chelsea are in a uncanny similar position of transition as well. Their best players are getting old and slower and have not yet been replaced.

Real Madrid do really have a team of stars, which Mourinho is trying to turn into a team. This season already there are the beginnings of it and that small improvement has made them much more dangerous and the reason they are sweeping aside most teams in La Liga. And the Champions League.

Except Barcelona.

Any other year, any other era, they would probably be the best team in the world right now.

Unfortunately, there is Barcelona. Barcelona are not simply the best team in the world but probably one of the best club sides ever, if not THE best team ever (there are arguments how well they would match up to the mechanical orange of Holland circa Cruyiff or Brazil 1970).

Unsurprisingly though, with a team of World Cup and European Championship winners, plus the best player in world, again who could himself be the best player ever! How scary is it that Messi is only 24??

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