Classic hangover or a need for change for Barcelona?
Tuesday night’s result was one that leaves another hangover for the Catalan club, not long after the Milan disaster, but as with all hangovers they will hope it will pass.
After Iniesta’s comments to the media at the conference yesterday, many would say that Tito Vilanova’s absence is now truly being felt by the entire squad. Should Barça act in the interim and bring in someone to cover his absence. Luis Enrique, ex Barça B and Roma coach, has been suggested, as has Eusebio Sacristain, the current B incumbent.
It was a very good performance from Real Madrid. Los Blancos set themselves up with a defensive 4 and a midfield 3 that, when not in possession, rarely ventured too far ahead of that 4. They were able to nullify anything the Blaugrana threw at them and reduced them to only 3 shots on target, one of which was the Jordi Alba goal that gave them little honour in defeat and has brought assistant Jordi Roura’s role into question..
However, more worrying is that it is the 3rd time a team has set itself up in that manner tactically this season and seen it pay dividends. Celtic, Milan and now Madrid have all nullified Barça offensively and frustrated them and seen cracks appear in defence that they have been able to exploit on the counter.
Madrid’s 1st two goals came from possession turned over by Messi and the whole team pushed high up the field. Two long balls found Cristiano Ronaldo and Di Maria almost in isolation with only one covering defender to try and halt their path to goal.
It was from a similar situation that Tony Watt scored the second for Celtic in the Champions League to put the Glasgow side 2-0 ahead late in the game.
Certain selections don’t quite make sense. Pushing Iniesta out wide left takes away from what he would contribute in midfield. Cesc didn’t perform and Xavi looked like he was missing his usual midfield partner.
Sergio Busquets was not as effective as on other occasions. News has emerged that Messi has a fever and could not train with the group, which could account for his below par performance. Other news suggests that Xavi and Cesc were playing whilst on painkillers for other injuries.
However, too many others simply did not perform. The crowd clamoured for Villa’s appearance, but he did little to improve the side, Tello looked like a rabbit lost in the headlights. Thiago probably should have started.
There have been rumours this week that Barça will look to install an interim coach for the remainder of the season. With little under two weeks until the return at the Camp Nou of the vital Champions League clash against AC Milan, can this group of players pick themselves up, or do they need something more?