The Barcelona you haven’t seen in a while. And, perhaps, they would not have seen it for another hundred years.
They couldn’t stand it. The fact that Barcelona will change the head coach was only a matter of the near future. Ideally, it was assumed that Ernesto Valverde will finish the season until the end, and then Ronald Koeman, now the helmsman of the Dutch national team, will take his place. However, Barça played unsuccessfully in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals, and Valverde’s time was up abruptly. Despite the leadership in the national championship and a comfortable entry into the Champions League playoffs.
It’s all about style. The Valverde system was less and less about ball control, and this experiment turned out to be ambiguous. The coach, not without reason, considered that, with Messi, Luis Suarez and Griezmann in his arsenal, it makes no sense to play the ball for a long time in the bowels of the field. Moreover, Griezmann is not only good in attack, but also actively helps the team in defense. However, as you know, a stick has two ends.
When the ball is at the feet of Barcelona’s players, it’s not just about attack. And not even that much. First of all, it is about organizing defensive actions. The logic is simple: if you don’t give the ball to your opponent, then he won’t score. In a head-on collision, the Catalan defense is vulnerable, which has long been no secret. Such conclusions of analysts can be found on the website with predictions for football matches – https://uob.ac.tz/. This will help you make a winning soccer bet. As a result: “Barça” has completely ceased to work in a foreign field.
The bell rang before: departures from Roma and Liverpool to the Champions League playoffs after major victories in the first matches – this is also Valverde’s methodology. In the current season, “Barca” began to get on the nose from middle peasants like “Levante” and “Granada”. And then Luis Suarez was seriously injured, for which “Barcelona” simply does not have a mechanical replacement. It became obvious that one cannot do without style restructuring, and Valverde is no help here.
Long or short, but the bosses of the Catalan club have come to an unobvious candidate for Quike Setiena. The coach who was missing stars from the sky, who until now worked at best with the middle peasants “examples”. “Las Palmas” and “Betis” are not so-so showcase for a 61-year-old specialist.
But we are here to talk about style. Setien has something to say. Ever since his gaming days, he has been a consistent fan of Johan Cruyff’s ideas. Taking the ball and not giving it away – this is the modern interpretation of total football. Both “Las Palmas” and “Betis” under Setien were among the leaders of “examples” in terms of possession of the ball. And this is adjusted for the performers! They, of course, were not the most outstanding, but they gave the result.
One of the coach’s important trophies is the victory of Betis over Barcelona in the style of an opponent. It was also appreciated by Viktor Goncharenko. When the Belarusian was asked whose coaching ideas he admires right now, he included Klopp, Sarri and Setien in his top three. Obviously, Barcelona is the perfect chance for the Asturian specialist to prove that his ideas work.
How does it work?
Barca played their debut match under the leadership modest “Granada”. And a lot immediately became clear. “Blue Garnet” have made more than one thousand passes, they owned the ball 82.6 percent of playing time – and this is the best result in the last nine years. The last time this “Barcelona” demonstrated under Josep Guardiola. With Iniesta and Xavi in the very juice. To understand the situation: under Valverde this season, the number of passes averaged 700 per match.
But don’t jump to conclusions. In the match against Granada, only every fifth pass of the Catalans was ahead. That is, “Barcelona” has successfully solved only half of the problem – to preserve their own goal. And even then with a caveat: there really were practically no dangerous moments at the gate of Ter Stegen, but one day the ball hit the rack.
There were very few of them at the opponent’s goal. If “Barca” was not in the majority, it is not known how everything would have turned out. Although, when you have Messi, it is difficult to talk about the unknown in any case. It was the Argentine who scored the only goal in the match.
Then Seten had a cup meeting in Ibiza, which could have been taken out of the brackets due to the lack of leaders and the weakness of the opponent, if not for the symptoms. And it is such that the Catalans again for a long time could not benefit from the advantage in possession of the ball. Moreover, they were inferior in the score, and Griezmann saved the team from shame only in stoppage time.
To be rude, “Barca” rolled cotton wool. Passing for a pass is a well-forgotten old thing that makes some fans nervous and yawn. Anti-football that does not leave the right to rehabilitation. The kind of evil that is always with you. It remains to figure out how to deal with it. Or forgive.
The trick is that Barcelona are still tailored for this kind of football. In particular, she has Busquets. A footballer who has the greatest passing culture and therefore hardly ever loses the ball. The style icon that Setien preaches. Of course, putting all your eggs in one basket is shortsighted, but if the eggs are golden, why not try it? Once Setien was looking for such a “chicken” for “Betis”. And I found the central defender Bartra, a graduate of Barcelona.
What to do about it?
Watch. Required. On the nose at Barcelona’s guest match with Valencia. The nail of the 21st round of the Spanish Championship. The first serious contender to see the tiki-taki reincarnation. And he will stand on the field in endless observation of the rolling of the ball, and how this meeting ends – let’s figure it out.
On the one hand, “Valencia” works great on the native “Mestalla”. This season, she played ten “examples” matches here and did not concede in one. Notable statistics, but not a source of pride. The Valencians have equal wins and draws, but, on the other hand, the most visible of the defeated teams (“Villarreal”) is now only in ninth place. At the same time, the bats did not have easy victories at all. Surprisingly, but even other draw fights looked more fun. In each of them the hosts, at least, scored.
Valencia also changed its head coach during the season. The incumbent Albert Selades is not yet about style, but about how important it is to make useful contacts. He got this role right before the match with Barcelona in the first round – and got it in every sense. Valencians looked sad and lost large – 2: 5. Moreover, the Catalans did not have Messi, and Luis Suarez came on as a substitute in the midst of the second half.
If Marcelino continued to lead the team, the situation would probably look different. First, he has been Valencia’s most prolific coach in recent history. Secondly, his specific system of playing the game was largely based on waiting and enduring. That is, do what you need to do to effectively counter the “tiki-take”.
The current “Valencia” is a typical agency team. This often happens when the club is headed by people with a specialization far from football. In the case of the Valencians, the story is aggravated by the fact that the management of the club is remote – the owners are running from Southeast Asia. The almighty agent Jorge Mendes has the greatest influence on the processes. His clients are not only many players, but also, in fact, Celades.
The key player of Valencia, its captain Daniel Parejo, will not be able to take part in the match against Barcelona. In the previous match, with Mallorca, he was sent off. It will be even easier for the Catalan team to have the ball. She will do it as much as she wants. Until you start hating her again.
Or sympathize with her again …