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Discussion Starter #1
Last night's match begs a question (or several, if you're the worrying type): Should we approach matches against quality, organized defenses with a different tactical plan than our current patient, possession-based triangle style of attack? Should the formation change? Should we do a simple variation on our current style, or go for a complete change? Should we play faster? Slower (is that even possible)? Should Pique grows his hair back again?

As you ponder that last question with the utmost seriousness, what do you all think? At times last night, we looked like a madman (or woman) banging his head against a wall in hope of breaking it down. Like listening to a Roger Waters solo album, you first ask "Why?" and then smash a fist into your imitation leather couch in overwhelming disappointment.

It was the same against Valencia, Real Madrid, and Espanyol this season, just as it was against United last season, and against Liverpool two seasons ago.

Obviously, these cases aren't numerous, but it does perhaps raise a legitimate point. I'm not advocating route-one football, because, first, it's moronic, and, second, we don't have the players for it, but we lacked a certain sense of dynamic aggressiveness that all truly great sides seem to have.

When our midfield is hounded and pressed by quality, fast, experienced players, our attack breaks down and we live solely on the brilliance of a few individuals. What to do, what to do...

Anyway, discuss if you wish.
 

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We should have little variants on things within the general Barca approach. I don't like the whole "Barca don't have a plan B" that seems to be the buzz phrase on Sky right now. Our plan A is to score more goals than the other team. In general, when they say "plan B" they mean "punt it". Which is of course out of the question. The sad fact is, it's easier to defend en masse than it is to break an en masse defence down. The players should always be working in training in ways to make space available for themselves and for their passes. But our general approach is right. Hell, it's the basic fundamental of football. Pass the ball, then move into space to receive the ball later.

The main thing I think we lack are people making runs past the front line. It doesn't happen as often in this team as it did with the 06 team, with Giuly and Larsson in particular good at that. You can't force teams to come out, but unless they want to literally pack up in their own 6 yard box, there is always space availabe behind that defensive line for a chipped ball. And of course, if they were to defend that deep, you'd be working shots from 20 yards which is very dangerous from the defensive perspective. We need to do that more. The only real flaw we showed last night was too many instances of working the ball wide, then pushing it back to the middle, then across to the other side. There was one moment where Iniesta I think picked out a fantastic Alves run inside the full back, and he chested it down in the box, but it got away from him. If that was Messi picking up that pass, it's a goal. We need more of that in games like last night. We try to thread it sometimes when it's just not there.
 

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Any football team, no matter what their philosophy is or what coach and players they have, cannot solely rely on one way of playing and expect success from it every time.
The longer you stick to a specific tactic and formation, the more you'll get sussed out by the opposition. It doesn't matter what players you have, there's tactics out there to counter any style of play and if a team doesn't remain flexible then they'll not always be successful.

In light of what happened last night, that was more a case of good tactics by Chelsea and poor form by the Barca forward trio. Could Pep have been more tactically flexible and altered something during the match to find a solution? Possibly, but when guys like Messi and Eto'o aren't quite firing on all cylinders tactical flexibility is going to be less important.

Guardiola's success at Barca has been more his man-management and the mentality he's instilled in this side than tactics, and due to Barca's success in the vast majority of games this season he's had no need to be tactically flexible. You don't try to fix what isn't broken. However, in training different formations should be experimented with, different tactical solultions and gameplans.

Barca should always strive to play attacking possession-based football. It's the club's soul and identity. However, Plan B (or C, D and E) are not selling your soul to the Devil but an integral part in staying at the top.
 

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Sell your soul to the devil? Bit over the top.

What makes a complete team? Possibly one that can use varying tactics when needed and have the players to do it.

Slick on the ground passing is all good and nice to watch but can get easy to read. It's ironic that Barcelona's best chances last night came from a ball over the top when Cech saved from Eto'o and Bojan missing a sitter from a cross from Alves that originated from a long lofted pass out to the flank that someone like Drogba would have put away in his sleep. Barca used that ball quite a lot near the end as their desperation for a goal increased so don't kid yourselves that a longer pass is never used in Barca's game.

Missing a physical forward player who is good in the air to be a complete offensive team.

Nothing ugly about a centre forward smashing home a header from a direct play from a cross something that Bojan could not do. Power plays can be good to watch too.
 

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Overeaction. Barcelona had a good game, but we didn't score our chance (they didn't either). That's football. Basically, we reached the semis playing this way and a draw shouldn't create doubts about our football. Noone said it was going to be easy.
 

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Aye, need to wait until after next game to sell our soul if needed.

If they put their chances away, this game is 2-0 and there would be entirely different conversations today.
 

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Overeaction. Barcelona had a good game, but we didn't score our chance (they didn't either). That's football. Basically, we reached the semis playing this way and a draw shouldn't create doubts about our football. Noone said it was going to be easy.
Agreed
 

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We were wasteful with the chances we created , Eto'os miss , Henry's penalty not given, Bojans header, Hlebs miss. If you miss 4 glorious chances against a team defending with all players behind the ball. You have nothing complain about apart from finishing. You're not gonna get 8 chances in a CL semifinal.
 

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When Bojan and Hleb missed I couldnt help but think that had Guardiola given them more than 10 minutes here and there this season one of them would of scored. The misses were a product of there lack of minutes.

Man Utd last night had a similar performance, perhaps having more chances and only scoring 1. Its just about putting your chances away as the above have said.

But to give Barcelona a Plan B is a different task. It requires a striker who is willing to sit on the bench who has excellent, control, technique and touch but also the power and heading ability that our first 11 lacked. Larsson had this but was only attainable through extraordinary circumstances and being one of a kind.

Can you imagine Luca Toni coming on and then getting whistled because he couldnt control a thing (and he missed a Bojan like chance against us in the second leg of the quarter regardless, so theirs no gurantees in the header going in either).

So tell me where you can find this striker and Ill agree to a Plan B.
 

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What's this, are you joking or are you having another epileptic seisure (I gather that's epileptic Dostoevski in your avatar).

We already have Plan B. ALWAYS DID. It goes: "Execute Plan A with better players".

As far as I know we are the only big club playing the same game for decades, our style of short_passing/high_possession/attacking football is recognizable, and we should never change it. There's nothing wrong with it, we had all our successes playing such game, this style only demands that you have good players, or put it in simplistic way, better players than your opponent.

Next, it's advantageous that all our youth selections from toothless U4 above play the same style, if they are good enough, the youngsters just slot into the first team, imagine Caceres going through our youth ranks, with his talent it would be much easier to gain a spot ala Pique.

Historically at least for the two teams in Spain (us and crabs) was never good enough just to win it, but it was important to win it with style. We persisted on this route, but the crabs sold themselves for some easy silverware. It's in Spanish genes to do things with style, just look at the bullfighitng, it's not just about killing the bull, it's about how you do it with all those dragqueenish gestures. It goes for hours, whereas an Englishman turist aka Jern Lizardman would wonder why are they not sending a professional butcher to finish the bull in ten seconds.

We should never change our identity. Great teams are not remembered about what they won, but how they did it. The first is just statistics, the second is living memory.
 

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I think it's obvious you need a plan B and even more. Problem is, with the game chelsea played tuesday, there's not much you can do to have more success. The problem was not the plan, it was the execution. You could see from minute 1 that Bosingwa was following Messi everywhere he goes. A team of professionals should notice this, use this to their advantage by pulling Bosingwa into ridiculous positions and using other players, ie Alves to exploit that space. We didn't do that until the last 10 minutes and should've scored from that.

In the end, it is good to have alternate plans, but like Pep said, if the other team doesn't want to play and just wants to crowd their box, how many chances can you expect to create. Having said that, we easily created enough chances to legitimately score 2 goals, which is a big number at this stage.
 

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This is Deja vu all over again, we faced the same problem when Rijkaard was in charge. When teams start parking the bus and we have to break them down, the difference between the current team and the one under Rijkaard is that we have managed to storm past teams from the 1st minute, but previously we failed to break down packed defenses. Like what CM said, we created several chances against Chelsea but the players were not clinical and did not make the most of their chances. IMO we should calm down, because we kept arguing for the longest time for a plan B and using the current system and the players that Pep has under his disposal it makes it hard to adopt a new formation along a set of tactics and game plays.

The system Pep is using is perfect for our players as long as everyone puts their fair share of effort in trying to pressure the opponents in winning the ball back. The past two games are just due to fatigue and too much pressure on our players, think about it 2 more draws are good enough for the team. I believe we are just under a lot of pressure as fans, and it is too late into the season to start using new formations and tactics. This is the final stretch and I doubt that Pep will use other than the usual 13 or 14 players in the remaining fixtures.
 

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most of your attacking players didn't have their best games and you still created plenty enough chances to win, what are you whinging about?
 

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The only change I'd make is tell the players to sometimes be more brave with their passes and runs.

For example, I saw a few situations in the Chelsea game where there were no options to pass the ball forward because players were blocked, but there was an opening for a chipped ball, kind of like something Ronaldinho would do. A ball out of nowhere, just chipped into the box, and whatever happens, happens. I absolutely love our style, but sometimes we should really be more bold. There was an Iniesta pass into the box in the second half that Henry almost got to, and I remember that my dad and I jumped like "Ooooh, that was close", but actually it wasn't close at all. It wasn't a great pass but it still got us excited simply because it was a pass into the box. We don't do enough of those. We like to thread our web around waiting for an opening, and that's fine against lesser teams, but Chelsea won't give you that opening in the semis of the Champions League. I can't help but feel we're always waiting for Godot in these games. Deka listed a few teams that we struggle against, and surprise surprise, all of the teams are big, except Apano who are difficult to beat due to other circumstances. Bottom line is, when push comes to shove and we have a really serious game ahead of us, with a very dedicated team guarding their goal, we still think something will open up, when it won't.

I don't understand why we can't make more passes into the box, even if they aren't likely to produce something. Maybe it will be a corner, maybe even a penalty, maybe a fluke goal, who the hell knows, just try it more often! Chelsea, United and Liverpool aren't Sevilla or Valencia, they won't give us the space we want. We either have to go out and get that space, or try to score another way than by walking the ball into the net.
If we see the Chelsea defense isn't breaking down, why not try a few long shots? Toure, Alves, Messi, Henry?? Where are these people? Is Xavi afraid to make a bold pass because he doesn't wanna taint his 99.99% pass accuracy? Why doesn't Alves sometimes just blast it towards goal, or Toure Yaya even? One of those balls could very well go in. Not only has Čech proved on ocassion that he can screw up royally, but there's also the matter of luck. You can't expect a lucky goal if you don't shoot at all. Just remember Ryan Babel's goal against Čech in the semis of the CL last season... out of nothing, a fluke goal. We can't get that because a) we don't shoot, or b) we shoot straight at the keeper. It's frustrating sometimes that we refuse to try and score a goal that isn't typical for us, like a fluke deflection or something. A goal like that would work well for us in the CL semi finals against a tough, defensive side. But no, we have to walk it into Čech's head while he's lying on the ground inside the goal.
Also, why don't our players try more solo runs into the box? Someone like Messi and Alves could pull it off, someone like Eto'o could get a penalty call... go in like a dagger, maybe you hit their heart.

Our style in general is brilliant, but sometimes we could risk a pass here and there, or waste some possession on a few shots, and try and get something out of it. God knows we'll recover possession instantly, and the only bad thing that can come out of our increased boldness is our possession to go down from 70% to 68%.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Err...
 

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Alves is being slagged in the forums for not producing out wide in some of the threads in this match but it was evident that Barcelona's best moments and when they looked most likely to cause the Chelsea defence problems was when he made his runs on the outside and tried to get in his crosses. Best chance in the first leg came from that situation and the best dangerous looking moments tonight offensively came from that. That's where the plan B comes in for a striker that can be called upon to put away those crosses and be on the end of them. Width is the way to beat the tougher EPL sides. Too many times the Barca offensive looked to go through the middle like threading a needle. Won't work 99.9% of the time against well drilled defences away from La Liga. They got their goal in the end but it was a close run thing and they were running up blind alleys just like a lot of the time in the first leg. Why should we give a **** you might say? We are in the CL final? It's just a thought for the future to make Barca ever more conquering.
 

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Don't change anything , just improve it. Make it better. We have to keep attacking. We just have to find a way past these uber-defensive shit. No selling the soul to the devil. Just keep doing what you are , and God will reward you. And we saw that tonight didn't we.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
No, what we saw tonight was the shark's jaws and we walked right into them with blindfolds on.

Maturin is right, the center of the pitch was completely sewn up, and there was a bit of space on the flanks to exploit.

But our build-up was unusually slow tonight, and the movement wasn't there. United is as good defensively as Chelsea, and far more dangerous in attack, so they will be a massive obstacle.

But in Barca and Norway we trust.
 

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Well guys...who sold his soul to the devil`? Admit it as i want to buy him a drink:D
 
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