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Yes, we've heard it all a million times and as much as we wanted to tell those critics to shut up, we knew there was some truth.

"Barça have no plan B, if you can shut there passing game down, there 4-3-3 falls apart"

We would respond, "give me a call when you find a team that can stop it" and we laughed all the way to the double treble (Trademark Pending).

This year, it's been different. Teams have found ways to unsettle our beloved style of play. Pep, ever a soldier of Cruyff, was quoted last season as saying that the 4-3-3 is unnegotiable in our club, that we will stay with it because it is our identity.

This is where I give credit to Pep, with the shadow of Cruyff and the expectation that we will play the same way all the time, he has had the character to realize that a Plan B is not a bad thing.

As teams have realized, we have been short for depth in attack this season. Changing Eto'o for Ibra pretty much gives you an idea of the difference in the teams attacking mentality. Teams that don't respect your deep threat naturally squeeze the field forward, closing spaces for midfield and defense to create football.

After the complete failure in Stuttgart a few weeks back, Pep pulled the trigger. He would not be captive to the 4-3-3 to the detriment of his teams success. He introduced a new system which is still being debated, most say 4-2-1-3, but for me it's a 4-2-4.

What happend here, 4 players across the front line immediately gives problems to the back line, everyone is charged with picking up a player, now coordinating such things as an offsides line becomes that much more difficult. To create depth, Pedro(who when he understands that his best football is in 2 touches max will be in South Africa) and Henry, master of dragging players out of position across the front of attack.

Above all this system is created around Messi. By removing one player from midfield, he now has space to arrive in midfield, in the posoition of the 10 and create from there. But this is the key, he starts forward and arrives to this position. That is why I put the label of 4-2-4. If he just sat in the 10 position the whole time, I think that it would be easier for the opposition to find a marking for him with a DM/CB combination. But Pep has trained the atomic flea to read the movements correctly.

Now, here are 2 issues that are worth thinking about. How does Ibra fit into this system. If we say the two center forwards are Messi and X, that forward X should be responsible for finding space behind the defense ( ala Henry v Valencia/Stuttgart). Problem with Ibra right now is that he wants to drop straight down the pitch to receive, this is Messilandia and can't be touched by the other foward or you are destroying the Messi system. Solution, intensive training ground work to get Ibra making runs behind the defense or into the wing of Iniesta who never saw the back of a right full back in his life :pp

Issue 2 and surely the least popular on this forum. Yaya or Xavi? It cannot be denied that Xavi is the rhythm maker of the 4-3-3. He drives the speed of play if not the manner of attack (Messi). However, in the 4-2-4, we are much more of a speed team, notice how quickly the ball got from defense to attack yesterday. Transitions, transitions, transitions. I didn't see such a fast Barça from front to back many times in my life. Yaya, as opposed to Xavi, doesn't have the possession style, but he also doesn't feel that style of play. In a strange way, this can be positive. Toure can be trained to "get out of the way" of build up play and therefore allow the ball to get to Messi quicker. Toure has an incredible ability to get forward with or without the ball, his defensive ability is stronger than Xavi's and his dribbling provides a speed that Xavi cannot match. Is the 4-2-4 Toure's formation to the detriment of Xavi. Maybe, maybe not. But what is sure is that we have a plan B and we know how to use it.
 

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But what is sure is that we have a plan B and we know how to use it.
I was in similar thoughts yesterday, the ball moved into the attacking third much faster than we are used to seeing (except for maybe after the 2-0, the team got super conservative for about 15 minutes)

The one aspect that scared me was that the back was overexposed and had it been a team with a quick and dangerous counter, they would have suffered the dreaded one on one that FCB is sometimes vulnerable to seeing.

I loved the changes yesterday and the different scheme. The Germans didn't know what hit them, they are probably still wondering.
 

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We saw this 4-2-4 formation against Depor in the second half when we turned the 0-1 result around to winning the game 3-1.
 

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terrible barca never have plan b when they play against atleti...only how to take it in the ass and thats it
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, I forgot Ovrebo putting that ball in the top corner past Cech!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Maxi,

I love you man, but this is a serious thread, so no talking about atleti, ok?:thumbsup:
 

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u didnt laugh ur way to those titles. chelsea shut ur ass down completely and only with refree's help were u able to get past them
A terrible Barcelona team that has only won the 6 trophies with referee help.

let's just call it Lechazo
 

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ok carlos i apologize
 

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Seis Copas
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Great post CM! :thumbsup:

doesnt matter how many micky mouse trophies u won. the main cup cl u won was by cheating and ur 4-3-3 was completely useless
Seriously man give it a rest! This been brought up so many times before and again just out of curiosity, did the referee's help count here too?





 

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terrible barca never have plan b when they play against atleti...only how to take it in the ass and thats it
When we lose against Atletico at Calderon, we win the league. It's all planned. Plan C. :howler:





And great post CarlosMiguel. :thumbsup:
 

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Messiah
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Great post CM.
 

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Good post Carlos Miguel.

I remember I read (and I think I posted) an interview with Vilanova about the way we attack. He insisted that Barça always defend in the same way, but changes the attacking style depending on how the rival defends.

It's evident that, in recent weeks, Pep has been looking for a different way to attack. Our rivals are all doing the same when they want to defend, so it's a smart decision to make some changes, to look for something that changes the plan.

First of all, it's evident that Ibra is becoming a problem. When we're without him, the team feels faster and more dinamic. IMO, Ibra is a fantastic player, but he still doesn't understand that our football looks for balls to the space and movement. We need the space, instead he demands the ball to the feet. We need off ball movement, but he is very static. We need to get wide, he makes us narrow. Therefore, he has to adapt.

About Yaya Touré and Xavi, the good thing is that we have different options. Yaya Touré makes us different, more direct. I still believe that he could do the same if he were the CM, just as he did last year... and if he sacks his agent much better, since I think that this is the main problem between him and Pep.

Now, I want to see what happens in the mid term, since one game isn't enough to take conclussions (especially about Toure Yaya).

We'll keep on talking.
 

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u didnt laugh ur way to those titles. chelsea shut ur ass down completely and only with refree's help were u able to get past them. barca=cheaters.
I actually laughed a lot after Ovrebo turned down those penalty claims from the scum.
 

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I don't want plan B, plan B is for pussies. When Plan A is smash their teeth, plan B can only be smash their teeth harder. I don't want to talk about Plan C, but it involves a crowbar.

As I see it though, those 4-3-3 or 4-2-4 are in our case just variations of the same style. It's not that we exactly play 4-3-3 anyway, those numbers are just approximations (for example: is Alves really a part of defense?, it looks like our DM is more concentrated on defending than our RB). Anyways, the style is shortpassing attacking possession football, and this is our trademark, or our legacy. And I don't see us changing this possession football. In a way I agree that everything was faster against VfB, but it was that way maybe because there was much more chinks in their defense compared to our usual opposition, and the ball could move faster in forward positions, because we didn't have to wait patiently for some opening in opposition defense to give us opportunity.

I like this new variation of 4-2-4 (or 4-2-1-3), it looks more elaborated than usual plan B, which is throw in an additional forward (or additional defender/DM, but we anyway never use this type of fix). Still, I don't see it changing our style. I see our style being:

+ total football (everybody defends /well, not always/ and everybody attacks /holds true, every our players should be able to build up the attack/).

+ keep possession. Whatever happens: keep possession. Lock the ball, and don't ever ever let it go to the opposition. In the minute they get hold of the ball, take the damn ball back. While keeping the possession, be patient. Be patient, tire down the opposition who is running after the ball, which you elegantly pass around, sooner or later the opposition will tire down or the opening in defense will form anyway.

And then the positioning of the players (4-whatever, and we had 3-whatever too) on the field are just variations of this style.
 

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Great post CM! :thumbsup:



Seriously man give it a rest! This been brought up so many times before and again just out of curiosity, did the referee's help count here too?





Excellent reply. I was going to do it in words, but you've done it all graphically. Any chance of one of the pathetic sending off of Abidal, was it?
This guy seems to spend his XT days on various threads still whining on about that match, unable to see that one team attacked for 100 of the 120 minutes while the other was guilty of blatant but fortunately ignored (with the exception of Anelka's) cheating.
Anyway, this thread was about Pep's brilliant plan B:)
 

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One thing not mentioned by CM was the position which Busi(that's for you Ramos :D) takes up when receiving the ball. He comes all the way back into the position of the centre-backs to make it easier and safer to receive the ball and it also seems to be more effective for the team as his passing ability is superior to Piques and especially Puyols(most of the time anyway) and therefore it helps the team distribute the ball from the back more efficiently. I actually think the reason Pep has got a hard-on for Busquets is because he follows his orders so well. He seems to carry out Peps instructions perfectly which is probably why Pep trusts him so much. Pep probably loves his ability to break up the play when opponents are attacking too. He's brilliant at this aspect of the game imo, but because of his moments of madness(of which there are many to be fair) people tend to forget this.
 
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