Tactical Analysis: Arsenalona 2011 – How Arsenal Can Beat Barca
Alright, enough said and done about FC Barcelona. Yes we know they are the best in the business, but so are we. So what are the best tactics we can use to approach this game? If we use the tactics Inter used last year we are going to get murdered, and we use the Blackpool tactic we are going to get slaughtered. So what do we require :
Let’s start off with Barca. Xavi and Iniesta will occupy midfield. Xavi shall stay deep, passing here and there and then of course the long-ball will come. Remember he was the bloke who found Ibra last time and they scored. Iniesta tends to do the same thing but he comes up more.
Here is what I propose…
Our formation should be 4-1-2-2 [wide]-1. Cesc and Jack should occupy midfield, and should press the 2 Spaniards, giving them as less time as possible. Now the pressing should start if they cross the centre-circle, and not before that. A long-ball can be anticipated, but short through balls can leave one dreaming. They shall tend to play narrow regarding the attack, i.e. they will press with Alves (wing-back) coming up Arshavin’s flank. So if Clichy gets the ball, 2 things must be done:
Firstly Arshavin should stay up, and Clichy should play it long down his wing OR diagonally across Theo’s wing.
Should we press. In all honesty, it is going to be risky. Messi, Pedro and Villa are all Speedy Gonzalez’ cousins so if they get behind our defense, I only see Clichy catching them. But,I feel we should press them, all be it not too much. i.e not like them. Press to the point which will not make our defense look exposed, but make it difficult for them to give a 5 passes out of a possible 5 (I prefer 4 out of 5.)
Don’t expect an open match, just expect alot of pressure from Barca. We have to hit them at times. Hopefully we should score in one of these times. Song should stay back, in case Messi swaps flanks. Then he can help out Eboue. We can play narrow at the back. They do not have that many tall players so they shall prefer the passing game to crossing. But that does not mean too narrow, otherwise we are going to see another Messi Classic !
Jack and Cesc will be crucial. Both can play long balls, and both can pass. When either of them have the ball they have to get it behind the Barca defence to either Theo, Arshavin or RVP. And from that time its go go go! Our attacks have to fast and swift, and yes many of them are going to be screw-ups, but we have to do it via a hit and miss chance.
Jack for me is going to be even more crucial than Cesc. Heres why ? When Barca gets the ball to the flank let’s say, the left flank, you shall always see the over-run made by Alves. If the Brazilian gets the ball, then he may give a low cross, drive it, or enter the box from the right. Hence Jack has to be wary of this. He has to at least cover the RB position, if not LB also.
Personally I prefer Song covers the side in which Messi is playing. Clichy can take the player, but you know just to be sure. Jack should cover the over-run made by the Barca Wing-back, wheras Song should stand his ground incase Messi or whoever it is does not pass to him, and cuts in from the left.
It should look something like this :
Now you may wonder, that if Messi passes the ball inwards to Iniesta, or Xavi. In that case, Cesc and RVP should press. One from the front, and from the back i.e. RVP because he is the front striker. ( its shown below )
Here should be the starting formation :
Key : Wingbacks may come up occasionally, but the Centre-backs should make camp !
* : He should be here when they are attacking, pressing from the back.
Song, Jack and Cesc all have to defend, and ONLY Cesc and Jack can attack. They should not go together, but once at a time. In case they lose the ball I don’t want the entire Barca midfield and attack against us at once. One guy going up is good enough as then he shall be helped by the 3 upfront.
Barca will press, so that is something we have to soak up. They play a high-line, so Arshavin and Theo have to make constant runs hoping that one time the ref has something in his eye!
Arsenal-lona 2011 is not going to be easy Gooners, brace yourself, it going to get bumpy…
PS: This is all in my opinion. If you got any suggestions feel free to comment. Its always welcome…
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