El Clasico Copa del Rey Final: Real Madrid victorious, FC Barcelona clueless….The Day After

VALENCIA, BARCELONA - APRIL 20: Head Coach Josep Guardiola of Barcelona looks on before the Copa del Rey final match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 20, 2011 in Valencia, Spain. Real Madrid won 1-0. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Congratulations to Real Madrid for winning the Copa del Rey.

I guess we can argue for hours, if not days, about the manner or style in which Los Blancos accomplished their victory but at the end of the day, Real Madrid did not cheat nor benefited from bad refereeing. If anything, the match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid was one of the most entertaining games I’ve seen in a long time. Even though the game itself lacked goals, the second half of last night’s tie was as good as any in recent memory.

Losing to Real Madrid is always hard to digest, more so in a final. You win some and you lose some, that’s just the nature of the game. Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid had a very specific game plane while Pep Guardiola seemed to be clueless.

When it became apparent that Real Madrid would not dominate the middle of the park, Mourinho opted to replace the ineffectual Mesut Özil for Emanuel Adebayor.

How long did it take Pep Guardiola to make his first substitution, 105 minutes!

 

 

Not to single anyone out or looking for a scapegoat but David Villa has been FC Barcelona’s worst player for the better part of two months. If there is anyone to blame, it’s Pep Guardiola and his insistence on El Guaje.

It is mind boggling that the very same coach who benched Barca’s most expensive signing of all-time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, cannot do the same with David Villa. In a fixture where space comes at a premium, he opts for a player more known for his predatory instincts in front of goal rather than his dribbling abilities. In that regard, David Villa is more akin to Samuel Eto’o than Thierry Henry. The latter was/is as good with the ball as without it.

Nevertheless, it took Pep Guardiola 105 (!) minutes to finally come to the conclusion that something needed to change. With 180 minutes of Champions League football to be played against Real Madrid, when, if he does at all, will Guardiola feel inclined to make drastic changes?

Since Bojan is unavailable, Ibrahim Afellay, a genuine wide-player, is the only viable option to replace David Villa, who himself is forced to accommodate Lionel Messi on the left flank. Is it really that hard to see the simplicity in this change?

In Ibrahim Afellay, Pep Guardiola has an incredibly creative player who can cross with both feet, take on defenders one-on-one due to his much superior dribbling skills to David Villa and score goals. Why it took Pep Guardiola 105 minutes to realize that David Villa was FC Barcelona’s worst player is not understandable.

For all I care, Pep’s nativity has cost FC Barcelona the Copa del Rey and if I see David Villa anywhere near the starting XI I will turn off the TV and spare me the subsequent frustration.

 

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