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In the Name of God بسم الله

Barcelona Fc Road To Glory 2010

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Bonafide Hustler

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BAHAHAAH did anyone see Barca make the English possession keeping slick passing Arsenal look like MLS 2nd divisioners????

Are you kidding me???

EPL fans should thank the heavens they got to witness some of the most beautiful football in the first 60 min of that game, JUST WOW, never in your life would you see such football in the EPL

GLORY BARCAAAAAAAA

EVEN if you draw or lose, you play the game the way its meant to be played...

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Steady there mate, dont ring out the praises just yet. While 60 mins of glorious football may have caught your eye, others would have noticed the weakness of Barcelona exposed in the latter stages. No team is invicible or perfect regardless of how beautiful football they play and that was displayed last night to Barcelona in a few mins by the pace of Theo Walcott. Raw pace left Barcelona defence stretched time and time again, only regret was why did they had to wait for 62 mins to put on Walcott and not start with him? Either way advantage maybe with Barcelona but with the heart of defence suspended for the second leg and the blistering pace of Walcott still to come in full force I see the ball in Arsenal's court.

Dont sing the songs for glory yet, for it all could be over by next Tuesday for Barca. They would be really fustrated if that happens since they could have finished the tie in the first half in the first leg and now there is potential for it to come and haunt them.

I cannot wait for the second leg if Arsenal knock out Barca and Utd overturn the score line against Bayern. The Cup will be open for any of the other teams to win it. The test is now for Barca, remember when Utd went to Nou Camp and held a scoreline of 0-0, it was the idea of using the pace against their slow defence. Wenger would take heart from that and especially with Puyol and Pique gone it would be ideal for Walcott to make them chase shadows all over. However the question remains, will a purist manager abandon his style to be more direct?

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I'm personally a Barca fan, but the addition of Ibrahimovic pisses me off, he's a show off, and tends to score more, than give assists, the times he scores he should give assists, the times he give assists he should be scoring, he has some mixed up problems. The only reason they got him I think was because he's really damn tall, 6'5, so they can make open pocket passes to him, much more smoothly than they can with Messi, he can use his large legs and chest, to balance the ball down then prepare to float the ball over the keeper, this is a huge advantage over shorter defenders, and goal keepers that are slightly smaller than him.

Arsenal will definitely win the 2nd leg, no doubt about that. No Puyol no Pique, there is no way Barca can survive. They will have to start Milito (he's ok) for Puyol, and Marquez for Pique, Pique was a tall guy who put a lot of pressure on strong strikers, with him gone, Marquez has been a bit slow and rusty, after that injury, he hasn't fully adapted, and he's conceded very easy goals in the spanish ligue, so he will have to bring 100% and hope that someone of the likes of Bentdner, Walcott, and company, don't come crashing his way, I'm pretty sure Wegner already knows this and he will expose this weak side, and go through the side with Marquez, especially with Walcott, I think he can even pull off 2 goals if the midfielders are set, despite no Arshavin nor Fabregas. Nasri will be there, and so will Clichy, Song etc. They will all heard toward that side of the field, wherever Marquez is, and expose him.

I heard Persie might be back, which will give Arsenal a good advantage, after losing Arshavin.

For Barcelona, the only thing they can do is, try to have as little goals conceded as possible, and hopefully expect Ibrahimovic, Messi, Pedro, or less likely Henri, to score quite a few goals (I'd say their target should be around 3 if possible) because I have a bad feeling they will concede at least 2 goals to Arsenal in this leg.

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Steady there mate, dont ring out the praises just yet. While 60 mins of glorious football may have caught your eye, others would have noticed the weakness of Barcelona exposed in the latter stages. No team is invicible or perfect regardless of how beautiful football they play and that was displayed last night to Barcelona in a few mins by the pace of Theo Walcott. Raw pace left Barcelona defence stretched time and time again, only regret was why did they had to wait for 62 mins to put on Walcott and not start with him? Either way advantage maybe with Barcelona but with the heart of defence suspended for the second leg and the blistering pace of Walcott still to come in full force I see the ball in Arsenal's court.

Dont sing the songs for glory yet, for it all could be over by next Tuesday for Barca. They would be really fustrated if that happens since they could have finished the tie in the first half in the first leg and now there is potential for it to come and haunt them.

I cannot wait for the second leg if Arsenal knock out Barca and Utd overturn the score line against Bayern. The Cup will be open for any of the other teams to win it. The test is now for Barca, remember when Utd went to Nou Camp and held a scoreline of 0-0, it was the idea of using the pace against their slow defence. Wenger would take heart from that and especially with Puyol and Pique gone it would be ideal for Walcott to make them chase shadows all over. However the question remains, will a purist manager abandon his style to be more direct?

I'm personally a Barca fan, but the addition of Ibrahimovic pisses me off, he's a show off, and tends to score more, than give assists, the times he scores he should give assists, the times he give assists he should be scoring, he has some mixed up problems. The only reason they got him I think was because he's really damn tall, 6'5, so they can make open pocket passes to him, much more smoothly than they can with Messi, he can use his large legs and chest, to balance the ball down then prepare to float the ball over the keeper, this is a huge advantage over shorter defenders, and goal keepers that are slightly smaller than him.

Arsenal will definitely win the 2nd leg, no doubt about that. No Puyol no Pique, there is no way Barca can survive. They will have to start Milito (he's ok) for Puyol, and Marquez for Pique, Pique was a tall guy who put a lot of pressure on strong strikers, with him gone, Marquez has been a bit slow and rusty, after that injury, he hasn't fully adapted, and he's conceded very easy goals in the spanish ligue, so he will have to bring 100% and hope that someone of the likes of Bentdner, Walcott, and company, don't come crashing his way, I'm pretty sure Wegner already knows this and he will expose this weak side, and go through the side with Marquez, especially with Walcott, I think he can even pull off 2 goals if the midfielders are set, despite no Arshavin nor Fabregas. Nasri will be there, and so will Clichy, Song etc. They will all heard toward that side of the field, wherever Marquez is, and expose him.

I heard Persie might be back, which will give Arsenal a good advantage, after losing Arshavin.

For Barcelona, the only thing they can do is, try to have as little goals conceded as possible, and hopefully expect Ibrahimovic, Messi, Pedro, or less likely Henri, to score quite a few goals (I'd say their target should be around 3 if possible) because I have a bad feeling they will concede at least 2 goals to Arsenal in this leg.

BHAHAHAHAHAHHAH sAY WHAT??????

....................

guys Barca is hands down the BEST club in the world, NO english club comes close

Messi put it all to rest, and dont give me the injury excuse for Arsenal as Barca played with half their best players out too.

Its just the brand of football they play, its the way the game is meant to be played.

Arsenal is no MLS club, they are one of the biggest clubs in the world yet they look like a bunch of Amateurs against barca

I mean have you ever seen Arsenal embarrassed like this ever in history???

No one in this world can beat this barca team but themselves.

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^ Like I said on the other forum, taking the lead at Nou Camp was good but if Arsenal are going to defend like that then it is like gifting Barca the win. They were slow in defence and Messi made them pay. I expected better from them. And it was just the Messi show against Arsenal half the Barca team were not even in the game for large periods. If you notice 3 out of 4 goals Messi created himself and finished it off. Only one assist from Pedro for the second goal, that shows it.

Either way I still stand by what I said Barca are no invicibles, they have a weakness and that is pace and physical aspect. You can see that in the early stages when Barca players were being roughed up and expect more from the tie with Inter as Mourinho will definitely do that and it would be interesting to see Eto'o back at his former club too.

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And it was just the Messi show against Arsenal half the Barca team were not even in the game for large periods. If you notice 3 out of 4 goals Messi created himself and finished it off. Only one assist from Pedro for the second goal, that shows it.

Messi is the star of the team but the team as a whole does not solely depend on him! you have other stars as well, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Ibra, etc. and the fact that not all of them played was one impressive show against the Gooners.

Barca is one of the fastest, creative football clubs out there.

Real Madrid, be prepared to be creamed. Rhymes, doesn't it? :P

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Messi is the star of the team but the team as a whole does not solely depend on him! you have other stars as well, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Ibra, etc. and the fact that not all of them played was one impressive show against the Gooners.

Barca is one of the fastest, creative football clubs out there.

Real Madrid, be prepared to be creamed. Rhymes, doesn't it? :P

No doubt they are fast and creative but their weakness is the same as their strength. Most of the former Barca players say the same thing that the opposition if they move the ball fast and be direct Barca find it a problem. If you see the game against Stuttgart first leg in the last round, Barca were all over the place. They were lucky to get a 1-1 in that game why? Because Stuttgart passed the ball around and kept it making Barca fustrated and being direct and physical when Barca had the ball.

And Barca have learnt not to depend on Messi, which is the best thing about the team. When you see against Arsenal first leg Messi was marked out the game after 10 mins but the rest of the team did the job while vice versa in the Nou Camp game. So yea that is a brilliant strength that Barca have. Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea all have players they depend on. The team goes downhill if the player is not there while with Barca is the other way around they preform regardless and that is how Pep has trained them well all Barca coaches have drilled that.

El Classico will be a close game, especially after 1-0 in the Nou Camp game this one could even be more close game. RM will be fresh given their week off, Barca played mid-week but most of their players will be fresh since they were rested especially their defence. The key will be Messi for Barca and Ronaldo for RM but also, the role of Xavi and Alonso will be interesting. I think it would either be a draw or Barca will just shave it. Dont see it being a big scoreline at Bernabau.

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^ Like I said on the other forum, taking the lead at Nou Camp was good but if Arsenal are going to defend like that then it is like gifting Barca the win. They were slow in defence and Messi made them pay. I expected better from them. And it was just the Messi show against Arsenal half the Barca team were not even in the game for large periods. If you notice 3 out of 4 goals Messi created himself and finished it off. Only one assist from Pedro for the second goal, that shows it.

Either way I still stand by what I said Barca are no invicibles, they have a weakness and that is pace and physical aspect. You can see that in the early stages when Barca players were being roughed up and expect more from the tie with Inter as Mourinho will definitely do that and it would be interesting to see Eto'o back at his former club too.

Bro are you kidding me with this??? Barcas weakness is pace?? they are 5 times as fast as any english club going around, theyve pretty much been the paciest club since Ronaldinho joined them. Pace just doesnt mean being able to sprint the quickest to 50 yards, the acceleration of barca players is second to none, and also they are easily the quickest team with the ball on their feet.

Don't tell me Arsenal defended like [Edited Out], thats what Barca does, they make defenses and top defense men in the world look utterly stupid, you saw that last year in the champions league final with Man United who were in supreme form. Against Arsenals depleted side, Barca was missing arguably their second best player in iniesta and a whole load of other players and they still dominated the game.

And bro Messi or no Messi, you are forgetting that Xavi and Iniesta are hands down the best 2 midfielders in the world, its them who orchestrate the magical movement in the middle. Messi attributes much of his success to them and rightly so.

Barca's only weakness is their defensive game, but the problem is they dont give you the ball... Against barca you can only hope to score on few counter attack opportunities they present you.

Barca isnt unbeatable, no team is, but they are as far and ahead of the rest of the clubs in the world as messi is far and ahead of the next best player in the world.

And bro that physical weakness assertion is just getting OLDDDDD. That is SOOO last year, thats what all the EPL fanatics asserted, Messi wouldnt last a day in the EPL, too small too light, he wouldnt be able to cope with the rough and physical english game, they all said the same about Barca and its small line up of players.

Well guess what??? This is football, and skill and finese will ALWAYS triumph physicality. This is purely whats missing in the EPL , this is what makes it so dull to watch, all the managers there love to bring in big physical players who can push people around and score headers but lack ball skills on the ground. This is why you see EPL clubs dominant in boring wing play and cross cross cross scoring. They lack the skill to go through the middle with beautiful short touch passing that makes defenses look like clowns as barca demonstrates day in and day out.

Bro I watched United play possibly their best 40 minutes of football last night against Bayern in the first half, and let me tel you, their best wasnt nearly half as pleasing to the eye as any random barca half you can pick out. What you are witnessing here is one of the all time great club teams playing with a perfect combination of skilled midfielders and the greatest finisher in the world. Its just a privilege to witness such a brand of football, and if you arent watching barca play day in and day out, you truly don't appreciate what the game is all about.

I frankly could even care less if Barca wins or loses tbh, their brand of football is just gorgeous and the things they can produce on a nightly basis in la liga are just astonishing and out of this world.

I hope the world, and especially EPL clubs start shifting in the direction of a more finesse and skill oriented brand of football as that is how the game is truly meant to be played. Physicality is not only overrated but makes for horrible viewing of the great game.

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Bro are you kidding me with this??? Barcas weakness is pace?? they are 5 times as fast as any english club going around, theyve pretty much been the paciest club since Ronaldinho joined them. Pace just doesnt mean being able to sprint the quickest to 50 yards, the acceleration of barca players is second to none, and also they are easily the quickest team with the ball on their feet.

Bro are you kidding me? The only players that can move quickest with ball in the barca team are Messi, Pedro, Henry and Alves to an extent. That is all, the rest are passers they are play makers. That is what Barca do, I dont think you get that pace raw pace is dangerous to any team regardless of how good they are because raw pace will stretch their defence and that is a problem for an ageing and weak defence like Barca. Alves runs up alot leaving space, Maxwell cannot keep up with half the wingers in the Spanish league let alone on the European level and Puyol and Pique are good as long as they dont get players running at them. Watch the game from Utd a couple of years ago where they drew 0-0 at Nou Camp and you will see how the Barca defence struggled with Ronaldo and Rooney running at them. A team which has pace in attack and can move the ball the fatest does not necessarily equate that they can deal with pace automatically. Watch all the games where Barca struggled to win or those that they lost and you will find the common denominator is either pace or physical aspect.

You know back in the day RM had the fastest attack with the likes of Ronaldo, Raul, Robinho, Reyes and a few others but their problem was the same, why? beacuse having a weak defence means raw pace makes them stretched leaving spaces for attackers to run into.

Don't tell me Arsenal defended like [Edited Out], thats what Barca does, they make defenses and top defense men in the world look utterly stupid, you saw that last year in the champions league final with Man United who were in supreme form. Against Arsenals depleted side, Barca was missing arguably their second best player in iniesta and a whole load of other players and they still dominated the game.

They made the defence look stupid? Apart from the last 2 goals from Barca all the rest were defensive errors. The first Silvestre failed to control it and went straight to Messi, the pass was misplaced by Xavi and the second goal was another defensive error because the central defenders didnt clear the ball leaving Pedro to tee up Messi. Nothing was special about them or anything. Even in the first leg, what was the special thing from Barca that made the defence look stupid? Nothing it was two defensive errors that gave cheap goals and Wenger acknowledged that rightly because the defence should be booting such balls clear and marking to ensure they are not caught flat-footed. Arsenal did that plenty of times and Barca got lucky break with the first two goals. The last goal was class as Messi dribbled and on that occasion the defence looked stupid at their marking and tackling.

What load of other players? Iniesta was the only absentee in the tie. Pique and Puyol were suspended apart from those 3, even though Iniesta came on at the end, all the rest were there. The difference was one defence was protected by its defensive midfielder in the form of Sergio and while the other was exposed because of search of goals. Why was it stretched? Because of the pace of Barca players in the attack making it difficult for players who are defending to keep up and bringing them out of their position. Again do you see the difference, it is pace. It stretches the defences regardless of how quick the attack maybe and you saw that in the first tie where Walcott's pace stretched the defence leaving spaces for the Arsenal midfielders to push up and get in the game.

And bro Messi or no Messi, you are forgetting that Xavi and Iniesta are hands down the best 2 midfielders in the world, its them who orchestrate the magical movement in the middle. Messi attributes much of his success to them and rightly so.

I dont think you get my point. The point is not that they dont have the best players or their best and fast attack, ofcourse they do but what is the solution? The solution is closing down and being direct. Xavi and Iniesta both struggled against Russian side Ruben why? Because they were being closed down quickly. Notice how both players play, they orchestrate the movement yes but when you cut off their options of passing, they are left with holding on to the ball which is not their speciality. They like to pass and move, play in triangles etc thats how they train. Recently I got this app on my itouch where Nike discloses some of the training drills of Barca along with signature moves of their players, check it out and you will see what I mean. They are trained in the art of movement and passing so the opposition works harder and chase after the ball, in the process getting tired as the game wears on.

Barca's only weakness is their defensive game, but the problem is they dont give you the ball... Against barca you can only hope to score on few counter attack opportunities they present you.

Exactly their defensive game so what is the best way to exploit a weak defence? Pace my friend. Using pacey attackers stretches the defence all over, last night against Bayern did you not see how Nani was using his pace to stretch the right back and Valencia on the other wing doing the same. Once the back line is stretched spaces appear for forwards and midfielders to push up.

Yes one good thing Barca do is that they dont give the ball up easily and this is the other thing though. Out of the number of games I have watched of Barca against various teams I have never seen a team close them down when they have the ball. All of them sit back absorb the pressure wait for it being patient which is not the key because Barca wants that they wanna settle in their rhythme of passing it around making defenders run about. They tactic should be closing them down as soon as they get the ball. That requires man-marking each player individually more importantly it requires players who can keep up with the man they mark and that is the problem for most of them. Messi and Pedro have alot of pace so its difficult, the same with Alves so that is why many apply the tactic of sitting back and defending deep. The game against Stuttgart in Germany was a different encounter for Barca because they were doing this closing them down quickly, getting the ball off them and ensuring they were holding on it. But very few teams can do that though and this is kudos to Guardiola to make his team so good that the other teams are unable to implement the solution of man-marking even.

And bro that physical weakness assertion is just getting OLDDDDD. That is SOOO last year, thats what all the EPL fanatics asserted, Messi wouldnt last a day in the EPL, too small too light, he wouldnt be able to cope with the rough and physical english game, they all said the same about Barca and its small line up of players.

Well guess what??? This is football, and skill and finese will ALWAYS triumph physicality. This is purely whats missing in the EPL , this is what makes it so dull to watch, all the managers there love to bring in big physical players who can push people around and score headers but lack ball skills on the ground. This is why you see EPL clubs dominant in boring wing play and cross cross cross scoring. They lack the skill to go through the middle with beautiful short touch passing that makes defenses look like clowns as barca demonstrates day in and day out.

Err mate, you must be kidding right? I am not even talking from EPL point of view. Look at the matches this season that Barca lost and you will see what went wrong. Or even better look at the games against Chelsea for all those times they met in the CL and you can see that the tactic is to be physical and direct. That is an old tactic and nothing to do with EPL why? Because if you rattle the players they feel the pressure and break their rhythme. Look at the Bayern game against Utd last night, Bayern's best players the two wingers, Ribery and Robben were no where to been seen in the first half. Ribery was being heckled by Rafael as soon as he got the ball, Rafael was up his back to win it and Ribery was hating it, lashing out everytime he lost the ball moaning for a foul. Robben was the same. That shows what? If you rattle players their rhythme goes and alot of team do this against Barca and if you notice Barca have even taken precautions against that. In the last few games that I have seen them, they come out of the blocks flying getting their passing going straight away, keeping the ball. That fustrates their opposition more and even if you go physical you are most likely to be fouling so they are using the psychology against their opposition. It aint all about playing with the legs, half the football is played using the brain ;)

Bro I watched United play possibly their best 40 minutes of football last night against Bayern in the first half, and let me tel you, their best wasnt nearly half as pleasing to the eye as any random barca half you can pick out. What you are witnessing here is one of the all time great club teams playing with a perfect combination of skilled midfielders and the greatest finisher in the world. Its just a privilege to witness such a brand of football, and if you arent watching barca play day in and day out, you truly don't appreciate what the game is all about.

I frankly could even care less if Barca wins or loses tbh, their brand of football is just gorgeous and the things they can produce on a nightly basis in la liga are just astonishing and out of this world.

I hope the world, and especially EPL clubs start shifting in the direction of a more finesse and skill oriented brand of football as that is how the game is truly meant to be played. Physicality is not only overrated but makes for horrible viewing of the great game.

No one is denying their way of football is not gorgeous, I love to watch Barca play. Being a Utd fan I always wish that we can after Ferguson get a manager who can bring such purist football to Utd but you know what? It aint gonna happen. Purist football that is played by the likes of Barca and Arsenal to an extent too is hardwork, patience and alot of team work involved. Notice how all the Barca players gel with one another. Few managers can do that and make such teams, the other thing is that Guardiola has that ability. All the players he has in his squad are all his findings when he was incharge of academy after Van Gaal. Not a single player from the time of Van Gaal is at Barca today, it is all the fresh talent from the Academy and I rate him for that for bringing such players and making them so great.

As for Utd style of playing and Barca yes there is a massive difference and that is because of the managers. Utd prefer to play a game which is not purist. They like to play with route 1, wing attacks etc. They hardly pass the ball around to set up a fine goal while Barca are opposite even when their keeper plays the ball out it is to the nearest defender that shows their mentality they are a passing team, they pass and dribble their way upto the goal. Go back a few years to the time of Van Gaal when Barca were seen as average and RM dominated in the La Liga, you will find that Barca played similar to Utd. The change came from Rikjaard in the first instance and Guardiola manifested that change.

While I agree with the last bit but I doubt such a thing would happen. There are many factors why Spanish team like to play purist style football and one of them is their training and environment. English weather would make it difficult for their teams to maintain this style because the pitch isnt gonna be suited to that nor is such a high level of training possible. Notice Alves in the Barca team, the guy runs back and forth even till the 90th min even if his team is 4-1 up that illustrates something which is that his conditioning is so good that he is able to keep going. English Clubs do not have that and that is why if you recall when Beckham moved to Spain he struggled in fitness. Conditioning is need on an intense level to play such a style of football because you require all your players to have at least 90 mins in them without feeling a hint of tiredness. So in all yes I agree it would be lovely to see this purist style of football but it aint gonna happen in England any time soon. And btw regarding the last bit if I am not mistaken Wenger wrote a book where he describes this in detail as to why teams in Spain and Italy even to an extent prosper in the beautiful passing style game rather than the English, Check it out.

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Bro are you kidding me? The only players that can move quickest with ball in the barca team are Messi, Pedro, Henry and Alves to an extent. That is all, the rest are passers they are play makers. That is what Barca do, I dont think you get that pace raw pace is dangerous to any team regardless of how good they are because raw pace will stretch their defence and that is a problem for an ageing and weak defence like Barca. Alves runs up alot leaving space, Maxwell cannot keep up with half the wingers in the Spanish league let alone on the European level and Puyol and Pique are good as long as they dont get players running at them. Watch the game from Utd a couple of years ago where they drew 0-0 at Nou Camp and you will see how the Barca defence struggled with Ronaldo and Rooney running at them. A team which has pace in attack and can move the ball the fatest does not necessarily equate that they can deal with pace automatically. Watch all the games where Barca struggled to win or those that they lost and you will find the common denominator is either pace or physical aspect.

You know back in the day RM had the fastest attack with the likes of Ronaldo, Raul, Robinho, Reyes and a few others but their problem was the same, why? beacuse having a weak defence means raw pace makes them stretched leaving spaces for attackers to run into.

Bro, I said they have a problem on the defensive side of the ball, but their front line attack is the fastest in the world. I don't simply mean that they can move the ball from one goal line to the other the fastest, what I mean is that when Messi, Iniesta, Alves and these guys have the ball at their feet, they move the quickest, they move at a pace at which most other players around the world would lose control of the ball. I mean how many times have you seen Iniesta and Messi gaining pace accelerating past defenders and they look like snails around them even though they are moving without the ball against players who have it. Its one thing to always stay a step ahead of an attacker trying to beat you to a scoring spot, its another thing to be out paced by a player who has the ball at his feet. The likes of iniesta and Messi change direction so quickly with the ball at their feet that the defenders just cant react or catch up. Also if you would notice, Barca goes through the middle alot, so their passing straight down the ground means the ball again moves quickly towards goal making it difficult for the defense to react, while when you consider wing play, the ball is usually dribbled down one of the wings, and then crossed in sideways into the middle. That is a lot slower process because more dribbling down field is involved. I think Barca easily has the fastest attack in the world.

They made the defence look stupid? Apart from the last 2 goals from Barca all the rest were defensive errors. The first Silvestre failed to control it and went straight to Messi, the pass was misplaced by Xavi and the second goal was another defensive error because the central defenders didnt clear the ball leaving Pedro to tee up Messi. Nothing was special about them or anything. Even in the first leg, what was the special thing from Barca that made the defence look stupid? Nothing it was two defensive errors that gave cheap goals and Wenger acknowledged that rightly because the defence should be booting such balls clear and marking to ensure they are not caught flat-footed. Arsenal did that plenty of times and Barca got lucky break with the first two goals. The last goal was class as Messi dribbled and on that occasion the defence looked stupid at their marking and tackling.

What load of other players? Iniesta was the only absentee in the tie. Pique and Puyol were suspended apart from those 3, even though Iniesta came on at the end, all the rest were there. The difference was one defence was protected by its defensive midfielder in the form of Sergio and while the other was exposed because of search of goals. Why was it stretched? Because of the pace of Barca players in the attack making it difficult for players who are defending to keep up and bringing them out of their position. Again do you see the difference, it is pace. It stretches the defences regardless of how quick the attack maybe and you saw that in the first tie where Walcott's pace stretched the defence leaving spaces for the Arsenal midfielders to push up and get in the game.

Listen Barca should have scored like 10 more goals to begin with so defensive errors or not, they were totally outplayed and out matched in every single way. The absentees I was talking about was for the second leg... I think you dont understand how important Puyol is to Barcelona... and Iniesta aswell. Those are key players that barcelona was still able to dominate without. When another team is moving the ball so well and dominating possession, its not easy staying focus and organized at the back, you are bound to make silly errors.

I dont think you get my point. The point is not that they dont have the best players or their best and fast attack, ofcourse they do but what is the solution? The solution is closing down and being direct. Xavi and Iniesta both struggled against Russian side Ruben why? Because they were being closed down quickly. Notice how both players play, they orchestrate the movement yes but when you cut off their options of passing, they are left with holding on to the ball which is not their speciality. They like to pass and move, play in triangles etc thats how they train. Recently I got this app on my itouch where Nike discloses some of the training drills of Barca along with signature moves of their players, check it out and you will see what I mean. They are trained in the art of movement and passing so the opposition works harder and chase after the ball, in the process getting tired as the game wears on.

You think teams dont know this? Bro closing down and getting to Xavi and Iniesta early isnt as easy as just saying it. Its like saying you should be right up on Michael Jordan before he shoots or passes the ball, that strategy doesnt work because if you get too close to him or play him too aggressive, hes going to blow past you. Its the same with Barca players, usually you have to give them some space and try to also put pressure on the passing lanes because going at these great ball handlers let alone passers will mean trouble. All teams struggle against certain teams either because all teams are just different and also because against certain teams the players arent as focused or in form. Yes Barca sometimes looks ordinary even offensively, but its not always what the other team is doing that is the cause for their lack luster performances. You have to understand, if other clubs are willing to make adjustments, the Barca players are smart enough to make them too. Go ahead try closing down and being direct with Xavi and Iniesta, they will find a way around that too. They are simply great players. I can assure you it will be a different barca against Chelsea next time.

Exactly their defensive game so what is the best way to exploit a weak defence? Pace my friend. Using pacey attackers stretches the defence all over, last night against Bayern did you not see how Nani was using his pace to stretch the right back and Valencia on the other wing doing the same. Once the back line is stretched spaces appear for forwards and midfielders to push up.

Yes one good thing Barca do is that they dont give the ball up easily and this is the other thing though. Out of the number of games I have watched of Barca against various teams I have never seen a team close them down when they have the ball. All of them sit back absorb the pressure wait for it being patient which is not the key because Barca wants that they wanna settle in their rhythme of passing it around making defenders run about. They tactic should be closing them down as soon as they get the ball. That requires man-marking each player individually more importantly it requires players who can keep up with the man they mark and that is the problem for most of them. Messi and Pedro have alot of pace so its difficult, the same with Alves so that is why many apply the tactic of sitting back and defending deep. The game against Stuttgart in Germany was a different encounter for Barca because they were doing this closing them down quickly, getting the ball off them and ensuring they were holding on it. But very few teams can do that though and this is kudos to Guardiola to make his team so good that the other teams are unable to implement the solution of man-marking even.

As I mentioned above, trying and closing them down will not unsettle their rhythm, itll further knock you off balance because they can work around that as they arent simply great passers but also terrific dribblers and calm under aggressive pressure. Iniesta almost has like a Zidane like calm, people eventually started giving Zidane his space because there was no use trying to rush a calm dribbler with great vision.

Err mate, you must be kidding right? I am not even talking from EPL point of view. Look at the matches this season that Barca lost and you will see what went wrong. Or even better look at the games against Chelsea for all those times they met in the CL and you can see that the tactic is to be physical and direct. That is an old tactic and nothing to do with EPL why? Because if you rattle the players they feel the pressure and break their rhythme. Look at the Bayern game against Utd last night, Bayern's best players the two wingers, Ribery and Robben were no where to been seen in the first half. Ribery was being heckled by Rafael as soon as he got the ball, Rafael was up his back to win it and Ribery was hating it, lashing out everytime he lost the ball moaning for a foul. Robben was the same. That shows what? If you rattle players their rhythme goes and alot of team do this against Barca and if you notice Barca have even taken precautions against that. In the last few games that I have seen them, they come out of the blocks flying getting their passing going straight away, keeping the ball. That fustrates their opposition more and even if you go physical you are most likely to be fouling so they are using the psychology against their opposition. It aint all about playing with the legs, half the football is played using the brain ;)

I dont care if the tactic is old, the point is players with skill and finesse will find a way around you because 1) they are usually faster 2) they have great balance and maneuverability with the ball at their feet. Bro you can use physicality to throw great players off for a while, but trust me you cant knock off their rhythm for long, they will find a way around it. Tell me which english team hasnt tried to be overly physical with barca? With almost ALL of them, the absolute first tactic on their agenda is to be physical with the smaller barca players to knock them off rhythm. It doesnt work... sometimes it seems to be working but in the long run speed, finesse, balance and ball control will always overcome physical resistance and pressure.

No one is denying their way of football is not gorgeous, I love to watch Barca play. Being a Utd fan I always wish that we can after Ferguson get a manager who can bring such purist football to Utd but you know what? It aint gonna happen. Purist football that is played by the likes of Barca and Arsenal to an extent too is hardwork, patience and alot of team work involved. Notice how all the Barca players gel with one another. Few managers can do that and make such teams, the other thing is that Guardiola has that ability. All the players he has in his squad are all his findings when he was incharge of academy after Van Gaal. Not a single player from the time of Van Gaal is at Barca today, it is all the fresh talent from the Academy and I rate him for that for bringing such players and making them so great.

As for Utd style of playing and Barca yes there is a massive difference and that is because of the managers. Utd prefer to play a game which is not purist. They like to play with route 1, wing attacks etc. They hardly pass the ball around to set up a fine goal while Barca are opposite even when their keeper plays the ball out it is to the nearest defender that shows their mentality they are a passing team, they pass and dribble their way upto the goal. Go back a few years to the time of Van Gaal when Barca were seen as average and RM dominated in the La Liga, you will find that Barca played similar to Utd. The change came from Rikjaard in the first instance and Guardiola manifested that change.

While I agree with the last bit but I doubt such a thing would happen. There are many factors why Spanish team like to play purist style football and one of them is their training and environment. English weather would make it difficult for their teams to maintain this style because the pitch isnt gonna be suited to that nor is such a high level of training possible. Notice Alves in the Barca team, the guy runs back and forth even till the 90th min even if his team is 4-1 up that illustrates something which is that his conditioning is so good that he is able to keep going. English Clubs do not have that and that is why if you recall when Beckham moved to Spain he struggled in fitness. Conditioning is need on an intense level to play such a style of football because you require all your players to have at least 90 mins in them without feeling a hint of tiredness. So in all yes I agree it would be lovely to see this purist style of football but it aint gonna happen in England any time soon. And btw regarding the last bit if I am not mistaken Wenger wrote a book where he describes this in detail as to why teams in Spain and Italy even to an extent prosper in the beautiful passing style game rather than the English, Check it out.

Well its never gonna happen at united because you need a whole crop of skilled players to make it happen, the problem is United might be willing to bring in a couple of players of that nature and that will just produce a confused club. Barca just has too many players of that nature, that is perhaps why Messi doesnt perform so well in Argentine colors. I realize that certain things wont change, and I think that's why we should appreciate Barca even more because even in Spain clubs are looking for bigger and stronger players. I do recall however the time when Real Madrid was stacked, and Barcelona with Ronaldinho and Deco just literally raced Madrid out of the park. That attack was too quick. I don't know, barcelona got me addicted to club football and I just cant get myself to watch a premiership man in its entirely. I am no loyal fan, I just appreciate great football and Barcas brand of offensive football is just out of this world. I also love the fact that they have time and time again broken proven that their brand of football isnt just pretty, but can dominate big physical teams.

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Bonafide, let me just try and summarize it since we are going over what has already been stated.

1- Barca attack is the quick and pacey no doubt what I meant by pace is not in attack rather when attacking against Barca apply that pace. You will find that once you get past Iniesta and Xavi there is easier to run at the rest and they backtrack. Any defence that backtracks is going to find problematic to deal with pacey attackers. Barca's pacey players do not get out paced for sure no one denied that. Try to understand what I meant by pace in the context. And just because one team has the best attack does not mean their defence cannot suffer from pace attacks, they can and that is the chink in the armour of Barca.

2- Barca play a unique style when moving the ball forward. Their centre backs split and move to either side with their full backs pushing up and in the process the wingers or rather the forwards such as Pedro and Messi move more forward and inward. The ball goes from the defenders inside to the playmakers usually Xavi and Iniesta and then comes outward again on the wing. If you notice as soon as the full backs push up they get the ball and then lay it on to the attackers in front of them. So they do not play as such through the middle of the park rather their set up is such that the ball goes out quiet late and then the attackers cut inwards and attack the goal. Messi cut in from the right twice against Arsenal and so did Pedro, even against Stuttgart the same. When teams begin to tire out that is when they try to play through the middle which is obviously a tactic any coach would use when the opposition has been chasing the ball for most the game.

3- Puyol is not that important, his prime was over when he switched to centre back. When he was in the right back position he was brilliant in defending and he does keep the back organised but he is not the player he use to be. I would expect maybe a season at the most before he drops down the pecking order like Milto, who was the regular choice until his form fell at the end of last season prompting Barca to bring in Alves and shift Puyol to centre. Iniesta is the key to Barca's attack yes I will agree on that, he is going to develop into a really good playmaker and I feel even better than Zidane if he keeps going at this rate. His passing is immaculate and his vision even better, when he broke into the first team there was talks that he would even surpass Ronaldinho's ability in playmaking which as we see now is being more and more evident. But dont underestimate Xavi either, he was the playmaker well before Iniesta came along and still has that touch.

4- And no closing down players does not mean they will blow past you. Messi maybe yea but midfield of Barca can be closed down and we have seen that in many games. Iniesta and Xavi both do not have that much pace to run past but they have skill and ability however having said that closing down does work but the question is to what extend is it efficient? Like you gave the example of Zidane and people giving him his space well the same is now with these guys. You will find rarely the opposition closing them down because when you play that tight game you are virtually man-marking every player so if there is one slip-up then it all goes down the drain so it is not as easy but it is do-able and it has been done. If you are trying to make out that Iniesta and Xavi are so great that they are untouchable then I am sorry you are dreaming bro. If they were so untouchable then why did Barca lost to some unknown Russian team earlier in the season and then drew at Stuttgart and lost to Sevilla in the Spanish Cup? Watch those games and you will see what I am talking about.

5- Being pacey and physical can be done on both sides. So fast and small players have great mobility but what is to say the defenders dont? Evra at Utd is fast and he is very physical too same with the likes of Lahm for Bayern, Zanetti at Inter [albeit he is a bit old now], Ashley Cole at Chelsea etc. These players are fast and are physical too and have a good control of the ball as well. You are imagining the defenders to be less agile and mobile but that is not necessarily true.

6- Barca never had that many players of this nature. As I said look at the era of Van Gaal and then compare it with his successor. See I dont know how long you have been watching football but there are various methodologies involved. For example Van Gaal was about picking the best players who are already hitting their prime and then using them, he never made a team from the youth and mixed it with the established players as such [look at Bayern now whom he coaches, not a single academy player]. Guardiola and Rikjaard are different. They got rid of the players from Van Gaal's time albeit a few, then bought in some fresh faces such as Ronaldinho, Deco, Henry and Eto'o and the rest were filled by their academy players. Valdes, Messi, Bojan, Iniesta et all are through the academy. Barca developed these players and hence you see this nature of football from them. 3 years ago they were no different than say Bayern Munich or Utd, now they are different because of these developing players. Guardiola has developed them to play this kind of football, the likes of Deco, Ronaldinho and Eto'o are gone and replaced by mostly academy players. Out of the starting 11 at least 7 of them are from the academy.

7- Spanish Football has certain advantages over the English football such as giving the players who are foreign to establish themselves before moving on. English League has strict visa issues and also due to the bad weather many of the foreign players prefer going to Spain and establishing themselves before moving to either Italy or England. Very rarely you will find players going from England out to Spain or Italy. In the last few years there have been the likes of Ronaldo and Beckham only, some others tried but have failed to establish and returned back to England. The club in Spain prefer the freedom to have such policies which allows them to bring youngsters from foreign countries and train them. English set up lacks that, it is mostly players with English passport or through feeder clubs if there is English nationality involved which is a bit stupid. Overall, I like the Spanish way and I think soon it will transition to England maybe not as soon as some would like it to be.

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I think we are in agreement on most things but I would just like to point out a few things I see differently.

1- Iniesta has long ways to go before becoming the best play maker in the world, I think as a pure play maker, passer and a player with vision, Xavi is well ahead of Iniesta. I think what you havent yet picked up on as yet is Iniesta's pace and ball control at pace which in my opinion is second to only messi in the world.

take a look at this footage. I suppose you can close in on Xavi more, but doing so with Iniesta would be as inefficient as Messi.

2- Yes Barca has looked ordinary at times against weaker clubs, but who is to say Zidane and his team of superstars never had really ordinary outings in any given season?

3- I am not imagining defenders to be less agile and slow, the smaller and rare breed of defenders in Evra, Makelele in past years, roberto carlos who was more known for his offensive runs did an admirable job containing more agile players. My point was that teams are generally looking to stock on on big physical players across the board on all positions, certainly at times over looking smaller more agile and skilled players who perhaps could serve them better. I understand where this approach comes from but its something id like to change so that there is a more balanced approach between physicality and finesse. I never asserted that physicality is ineffective, just that it has to be present in right proportions.

4. I realize Puyol is a shadow of himself, but the thing about him is that he can spring a brilliant performance out of nowhere, last year before the CL final, Puyol had a series of horrible games but produced a masterful performance in the final. In anycase, barca needs to look for replacement of their back line.

I do agree that Barca's defense is their biggest weakness, and its not only because they do lack quality defense men, its also because they press forward so hard that they seem to be all over the place rushing back when other teams counter, and yes a pacy counter attack as one which Manchester had last year with Ronaldo, Park and Rooney would have been a perfect exponent to exploit this. I think that is where United got it wrong last year anyways, I felt going into that game that it was in United's best interest to stay back and wait for a slight opportunity to counter. Just as chelsea did before them. They surely would have got a good 6-7 counter chances at Barca had they played the waiting game. Instead being a more offensively polished team than Chelsea, they decided to attack head on and ironically it was barca who being terrific a exponent of the counter attack themselves, countered with Eto's goal.

I think with a team like Barca, its a give and take situation, when you hold the ball so much and press forward all the time with so many players including defense men like Alves you are bound to expose yourself on the counter. It is something they definitely can address but with such an attacking squad will always remain somewhat of a weakness.

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Good arguments. I would say Barca doesn't need to be that physical because. Look at it this way, on attack, they don't run the ball the entire time, they use their smooth passes and open pocket passes to save endurance and energy. This is why Messi doesn't get too tired, he doesn't have to do everything himself, guys like Alves, Iniesta, Hernandez, and Busques are ready to make long passes to him, to save him from getting tired. This is what makes them amazing to watch, other teams run their players and expect them to break through with goals, with little assistance from their midfielders. The midfielding is important, the more accurate and longer passes your midfield can guarantee you, the less tired you will be, and the higher the chance you can get for striking, it creates a higher accuracy, because you get passed more defenders, and don't have to work as much for the goal.

I think they will just need to improve their defense as Puyol is getting old, and Pique sometimes has a few mistakes here and there, but he's still great I think. Marquez, inshallah, he will get back his rhythm I remember in the Iran match it felt like he was a 4 man defense, the Iranian strikers and attacking midfielders, literally died against him, he'd cover them quick, and make it impossible for them to do anything.

I hope they can make it 2 for 2, and win the title this year. I wonder if in the future, there will be some domination of Barcelona, where you see them win 4/7 CL leagues, or 5/7. That would be amazing. When football was much weaker, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Ajax, dominating clubs with back to back to back wins. But now I feel Barca's heading toward that direction, they might win this years, maybe lose next years or win it, then win the year afters. Like in the rest of this decade possibly win 5/10, no idea, or more, if they can keep this type of system of play, and attain similar players with the same style, but eventually someone will have to figure them out sooner or later...

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Alright I barely skimmed over this and I didn't even know Barcelona had this much discussion to it.

I'm an Arsenal fan through and through but I do admit they are playing not up to their expectations this season. Kind of sad to see, since there are good players with good potential.

My two cents..

I'll let ya'll go back to discussing Barcelona :-)

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Zidane is my favorite football player of all time. However, if someone brought the question, whether Messi is regarded as the greatest, I think he's certainly allowed that recognition, he plays the striker position so efficiently, his free kicks are not bad either, in desperate times of needs, much like MJ, he's there to capitalize. I saw him the first time in 2006, when I wasn't paying attention to football that year that much, and he was already amazing, now it's 2010, and he keeps getting bigger and bigger, they got Barca every possible title they can win in a year, even the international tournaments outside of Europe.

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Zidane is my favorite football player of all time. However, if someone brought the question, whether Messi is regarded as the greatest, I think he's certainly allowed that recognition, he plays the striker position so efficiently, his free kicks are not bad either, in desperate times of needs, much like MJ, he's there to capitalize. I saw him the first time in 2006, when I wasn't paying attention to football that year that much, and he was already amazing, now it's 2010, and he keeps getting bigger and bigger, they got Barca every possible title they can win in a year, even the international tournaments outside of Europe.

I dont think highly of Pele

I think Maradona is by far and away the greatest footballer of all time and by some distance.

Messi is the best right now but he is nowhere near Maradona as a complete football player. I must say though that Messi's ability of taking the ball, accelerating and running through 4-5 defenders to finish so well is almost as good if not just as good as Maradona's. As an out and out pure dribbler and finisher, he might be just as good and may even surpass Maradona in that respect. Overall however I dont even think its close. Maradona wasnt only the best dribbler and finisher in the game with both feet, he was by far the best passer, best free kick exponent and possessed the best vision in the game.

There has never been a player in football, who has taken 2 completely [Edited Out] teams all the way to the top. His Argentine teammates were as good as MLS players, go watch Maradona footage and you will see a common theme reoccurring, he runs through 4-5 defenders and makes the most glorious of passes to one of his teammates right in front of the net wide open and they blast it 15 feet wide of the net.

Maradona is the GOAT for me

Zidane second

Pele third

Messi I think will catch up if he keeps this pace up, but overall hes got a long way to go.

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Read a fair bit of this thread and would just like to straighten a few points. Barcelona are the European Champions and are still defending their trophy and so any argument to suggest that they are not currently the best team in Europe is troublesome. However, it is a little absurd to start throwing preposterous arguments about this current side being heads and shoulders above everyone else in Europe or that they are in any way a vastly superior outfit to Englands top sides. Yes, they convincingly overcame Arsenal in the last round and deservedly beat Manchester United to lift their European crown but a closer look at their overall current record allows one to put a couple of recent wins into perspective. It is generally accepted that the normal time frame to make some kind of definitive judgement over a teams performance is 3 -4years. Most of the currently playing squad is similar to the side playing in the 2006/2007 season;

Barcelona's overall Champions League record is Semi-Finals + 2010, Winners 2009, Semi Final, 2008, Last 16 2007. This record is comparable at least with Uniteds; Quarter Finals 2010, Runners Up, 2009, Winners 2008, Semi Finals 2007.

Moreover during the past 4 seasons they have played Englands top 4 sides on no less than 11 occasions and their record is; Played 11, Won 3, Drawn 5, lost 3. So as one can see in spite of very recent successes they can be said to be on a par but not ahead outright over England's best opposition. It is also evident that this year all four of Englands best sides have had very mediocre seasons with not a single representative in the Semi Finals stage of the European cup, a first in 7 years. The comprehensive win over Arsenal is not out of kilter with Arsenal's showings against the top two English sides where they have lost all 4 games and indeed suffering a 0-5 aggregate defeats to Chelsea and 2-5 aggregate defeats to United which again compares well with the 3-6 defeat to Barcelona. Barcelona have certainly been the stronger side over the past 12 months or so but no one can dispute that all the English sides have deteriorated significantly this season relative to their European rivals. Chelsea went out to an Inter Milan side that has been completely dominated by English sides in recent years, Liverpool didnt even get through their group and Manchester United lost both their unbeaten Home and Away European records that have lasted for 5 and nearly 3 years respectively this year. Even a look at the Premiership table will confirm this complete write off for English clubs. United have already lost 7 games this year, including 5 against non top 4 sides, Liverpool are 6th to give but just two examples of exceptionally poor performance from England;s elite this season. Owing to the fact that no side has ever retained the Champions League, should Barcelona do so this year would require us to look again at their genuine standing in the game but until this happens, any assertions of Barcelona's superiority is a little overzealous and seemingly naive.

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Maybe, but they have a perfect squad. The back to back win, would show effectively why their system is superior to the likes of the 4 premier league teams, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich etc.. Imagine if they won 3 in a row, what would you say then, that they are at the same level as Manchester United?? I think only then that would be an absurd statement. All they really need to do is keep the same system of play, and just upgrade players when necessary. Like Marquez will eventually be replaced, since they don't need him anymore, and he's getting older and out of sync. Puyol will also eventually get replaced, once they find someone better, and once he gets injury problems. So their system is great, it's just about maintaining players. This is how championships come about, but teams like Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc. make poor decision making. They also tend to get players that don't pass the ball as much, and care only for personal fame. I.E. Cristiano Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, these type of players. I don't like Ibrahimovic is part of Barca's squad, but it's really not my call, I guess they saw something in him, some particular advantage he has that Eto could not perform as well, I can't remember what it was. I still prefer Eto, he doesn't slow their game as much, Ibrahimovic, holds the ball too long, and can be indecisive at times.

We'll see how they finish this off this year before making conclusions, I think the final will have a lot to speak, if they reach it and if they win it with a large margin. I really hope to see Barca and Bayern in the final, with Barca just punishing them for having terrible defenders, serves them right.

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^ I do not think it is poor decision-making or getting individual players. All players when they first come to a club or start their career are individual. They are conformed and trained to be a team player and many prosper in that while others still prefer their own way. Look at Ronaldo when he first joined Utd and then compare him to when he left, he became much more of a team player over the 6 years then when he first came to Utd. It is a natural thing and with time all players develop that.

With Barca, it is totally a different thing. Their players most of them are team players, look at their midfield all the individuals there are team players and work together so it comes to them naturally. Their current squad is good no doubt abt that but that is with everytime I would say they have a phase where their squad reaches its peak and plays the best football. We saw that with Utd in the treble of 1999 and then a few years ago when they won the CL. RM had that phase with Zidane, Ronaldo and Figo and so on and so forth. Barca are playing some of the best football and they are in that phase of hitting and maintainin their peak. And the great thing is that they have done it with a very young squad so this squad will be playing together for a few years to come so like you stated earlier that they could dominate the Europe scene for a while and I do not see anything wrong with that because I feel they are the team to beat and it is do-able as well. It just increases the challenge for the rest of the teams to try and do something extra-ordinary to beat Barca.

Barca have implemented a system from the academy all the way to their first team and that is what makes them so good. They have some of the best players coming through the academy and they are buying players very rarely and minimally. Last year they bought Ibra and Maxwell while Pedro, Keita and Sergio came through the ranks. This is what is lacking in other teams, no one has such a system if you look across the board. Arsenal bring youngsters and raise them but they lack the experience aspect, Utd go for players which are established or are good future prospects while bringing through only 1 or 2 youngsters from their academy. The grass roots is the key to Barca's success and like I said before Guardiola did well on the Academy side when he came into Barca and he is reaping rewards for that now as a first team manager.

The reason why Eto'o was offloaded by Barca was because of his wage demands. He wanted 30% rise on his current wage with a big signing fee which Barca thought was unacceptable since players better than Eto'o at Barca are not being paid that much let alone such demands. They offloaded him and got Ibra. The deal was shocking yes no doubt but Ibra will come good. He does hold up the ball well which can or cannot be beneficial to Barca because it depends on the situation of the game. He does slow the play down at times but give him time and he will pull through.

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Maybe, but they have a perfect squad. The back to back win, would show effectively why their system is superior to the likes of the 4 premier league teams, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich etc.. Imagine if they won 3 in a row, what would you say then, that they are at the same level as Manchester United?? I think only then that would be an absurd statement. All they really need to do is keep the same system of play, and just upgrade players when necessary. Like Marquez will eventually be replaced, since they don't need him anymore, and he's getting older and out of sync. Puyol will also eventually get replaced, once they find someone better, and once he gets injury problems. So their system is great, it's just about maintaining players. This is how championships come about, but teams like Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc. make poor decision making. They also tend to get players that don't pass the ball as much, and care only for personal fame. I.E. Cristiano Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, these type of players. I don't like Ibrahimovic is part of Barca's squad, but it's really not my call, I guess they saw something in him, some particular advantage he has that Eto could not perform as well, I can't remember what it was. I still prefer Eto, he doesn't slow their game as much, Ibrahimovic, holds the ball too long, and can be indecisive at times.

We'll see how they finish this off this year before making conclusions, I think the final will have a lot to speak, if they reach it and if they win it with a large margin. I really hope to see Barca and Bayern in the final, with Barca just punishing them for having terrible defenders, serves them right.

I would rather wait till tomorrow and after the crucial Champions Leage Semi-final to respond but since I am seldom on this site, I cannot refuse this opportunity to respond. If I take your advice and imagine this side to win three European Cups in a row then yes, comparing them to anyone would be a truly absurd statement, they would be far and away the best club side of the past 30 years, (provided of course such triumphs were allied to continued domestic supremacy). But sadly for you, even to "imagine" such a scenario would be truly absurd. As it stands it looks unlikely that they will even match United's achievement of reaching as far as the final in attempting an unprecedented defence. If they do manage to win it this year, which they are a long way from doing, then of course we will have to re-evaluate where this team stands amongst the pantheon of great european sides. Currently they havent achieved anything that certainly a Manchester United of very recent years havent. We await with excitement, although I doubt tomorrow will be anywhere near as exciting as title decider which is this Thursday's final prime ministerial debate. (Manchester United would reflect Labour, three domestic triumphs on the trot, with notable dominance in Champions League/G20 fiscal stimulus, bank bailout etc. Chelsea represent Cameron, favourite and looks set to toppe a tiring government but stumbling rather than galloping towards the line i.e one point ahead/and similar leads in the opinion polls and Barcelona sort of represent Nick Clegg, best on style and presentation, easily the most popular,easier on the eye and currently on the march against the other two, but who will ultimately prevail?) ;)

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So I will wait for the 70 excuses from Barca's fans before the ownag3 continues on them for their undying support of a team that got own3d today by 10 men not to mention their attacking flair, their passing everything missing and totally choatic at times. Where was Messi, Xavi and others today with their attacking display? :lol:

Mourinho does it again while Barca's dream disappear, the obsession remains but it costed them dearly this time around. Once a translator became the mastermind to the downfall of Barca!

:yaali:

P.s One thing was evident Barca are sore losers, what was the point in turning on those water sprinklers while Inter and Mourinho celebrated their success! :lol:

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Mourinho is a tactical genius. Period.

No one has ever been able to silence the attacking prowess of Barca at the Nou Camp as aptly as he did. No wonder Inter are forking out 150,000 euros a week to keep him in charge.

Bayern have no chance in the final, especially without their talismanic Ribery.

Game. Set. Match.

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Mourinho is a tactical genius. Period.

No one has ever been able to silence the attacking prowess of Barca at the Nou Camp as aptly as he did. No wonder Inter are forking out 150,000 euros a week to keep him in charge.

Bayern have no chance in the final, especially without their talismanic Ribery.

Game. Set. Match.

Understandably you have been a little carried away by tonights result. Inter infact have "silenced the attacking prowess" of Barcelona worse than the 4 previous visitors to the NuoCamp on a semi final date as Barcelona nearly made it 5 straight semi final home legs without a goal. Recall Chelsea last year and United the season prior to give the most recent examples.

But yes, predictably Barcelona failed to match uniteds achievement of reaching the final in defending their crown and so the threads primary thesis of Barcelona being the stand out European greats has been put to bed.

I have never been a fan of Jose Mourinho but credit where it is due, Inter are a poor side and to suddenly be favourites in a European final is a truly remarkable achievement.

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You guys should really calm down. Mourinho is very good but Chelsea did the EXACT same thing to Barca last year, it doesn't take a genius to figure that tactic out, especially considering that they got a red card to begin with. There is no team in the world which can beat barca in an open game. I think they dearly miss Iniesta and they just arent the same this season with the departure of Eto and out of form Henry.

In anycase, the red card was the best thing that ever happened to inter, Barcelona was going to dominate possession anyways as they did before the card, and with Inter fully committed in forming a wall at the back after the red card, Barca just did not have any space to penetrate a solid back defense. Without the red card I feel the game would have been more open and that surely would have suited Barca more.

Inter really did well in the first leg, despite a clear penalty and an offside goal. I think Barca are just fine, i hope they continue to play their all out attack style, a couple of minor tweaks and they should be again the biggest force to reckon with next year.

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As sad as it was. I'm glad this happened. This is an indicator that Ibrahimovic needs to leave the team. I wish Eto didn't have to leave, and I wish they paid him his demand, IMO it would have been worth it, he provides the results. Already with Inter Milan, he's taken them to the finals. Ibrahimovic doesn't fit in well with Barca at all, he can score on Spanish clubs as long as he wants, but the CL is just as important as the Spanish one, and it's more competitive and demanding, and he can't provide the resources to help Barca fulfill its destiny. He's more of an obstacle toward their path to success.

The game was great, I predicted it would have been Barca winning 3-2 on the second leg, with Inter winning in 5-4 aggregates, but I was way off. Mourinho and his squad persevered again. Barca definitely had their chances in the first leg for Busquets to make one. In this leg, Bojan had a given chance, and there were some close opportunities for other players like Ibrahimovic and so on. But this is a match, there's no ifs or buts about it, a loss is a loss, and the better team won.

I'm happy for Inter Milan, now they need to go out there and defeat Bayern the 1 man team (Arjen Robben written all over it, everyone else seems average when playing along side with him, including Ribiery, Altintop, Olic and the rest).

My prediction will be Bayern winning the final 2-1 in Madrid. But hopefully I will be wrong, and that Inter will defeat them. Inter's games against CSKA weren't convincing, CSKA is a terrible defensive team, and Inter wasn't clicking against them. Bayern's defense is a bit better than CSKA's, so I think based off this, and with much deadlier midfielders and a better striker, I see Bayern giving Inter a much tougher time. Bayern has poor defense and technically Inter should take advantage but based on the CSKA match, I'm not so sure.

Hopefully I will be proven wrong, but my gut goes with 2-1 for Bayern. Olic scoring one, and Robben scoring the other. Milito scoring one for Inter.

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I predict Bayern Munich will win 2-1 against Inter Milan :(, I hope Inter wins though as Bayern is a 1 man team with Arjen Robben doing all the work and even all the goals, that Bayern team has the worst defenders among many top elite teams.

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I predict Bayern Munich will win 2-1 against Inter Milan :(, I hope Inter wins though as Bayern is a 1 man team with Arjen Robben doing all the work and even all the goals, that Bayern team has the worst defenders among many top elite teams.

I want inter-Milan to win because it is Jose Mourinho's last game with inter and he will leave them, so it will be a good lastting impression for the unapreciative Italians (in soccer)

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