FanPost

How to maximise the talent of Lionel Messi in the up coming El Classico!

Ok we all know Lionel Messi is the greatest player in the world and possibly ever, however on some occasions he and Barcelona have found it quite hard to score against Madrid, Scoring 1 is not the problem but seemingly getting back to how we used to out play and dominate Madrid with goals and chances has been very difficult of late.

The reason being Madrid have adapted and found the corrrect players to try put a stop to our some times mesmerizing passing and combination play, and their main aim being to stop the magical Lionel Messi and almost let Sanchez and Pedro which has been of late, have the ball in wider areas as they see this as not as much of a threat (well compared to that of through the middle through Xavi, Iniesta and Messi)

Madrids tactics have been to compact the midfield and make sure (as best as possible) show Messi backwards and back into the crowded area. The type of player Leo is, is somebody that continously wants to do some thing positive in his play hence wanting to dribble forward play a death pass etc ( basically everything forward ) which has sometimes meant his passes and dribbles have been intercepted and lead to Madrids famous counter attack as Messi will attempt this risky adventurous pass which makes him so special but when its just so tight and he marked so tightly it is very difficult.
On occasions simply because Messi is Messi and an apsolute footballing genius he has been able to produce a piece of magic to get through these wall defences with his ability to turn so quickly, like the assist for Cesc in the recent Benfica game he made a quick sharp turn, dribbled past a few and played a good ball to Cesc who finished. However something I and other fans have noticed that this has come from when he has been in almost what I like to call the INSIDE RIGHT position or coming/starting from it.
No this doesnt mean he has to play right out on the wing, or on the team sheet just drift in and out and either have David Villa in a more of a centre forward position or Cesc Fabregas. Heres Why.

What Madrid have been trying to do and various other teams however not with the same affect because simply they do not have the quality of players Madrid possess. They want Messi to keep going deeper and deeper and to be always infront of the back four ( where they can see him )
And so when Messi goes looking for the ball the defenders simply pass Messi onto the too holding midfielder in the formation madrid play 4-3-2-1, these players been Xabi Alonso and Khedira and even perhaps Essien in this upcoming El Classico who sit on the defenders feet leaving no space inbetween midfield and defence. This has become quite predictable of late, and I think by starting Lionel Messi on the right it will cause a lot of confusion for the Madrid defenders and their tactics will be messed up. Also in this upcoming El Classico it is so important we keep possession betetr like we used to and dry get the there CDM higherleaving space inbetween, this happened against Madrid in the champions league game where Messi scored that wonder goal. Xavi is key to doing this last matches hes been tightly marked however with Messi on the right Madrid cant just focus on the centre of the field.

Simply when Sanchez or Pedro are playing on the left or right wing the Madrid defenders simply show them players down the outside, as they feel letting them go down the outside and crossing balls in to the box suits the more physically superior Madrid. Also they are not too troubled either if they come inside on their weaker foots because inside it is very crowded and their is no complete/ total CF to pick out as normally this is Messi who comes to the ball and is so over crowded and is closed down very quickly meaning Sanchez/Pedro will just pass backwards and this cycle continues.
However I have noticed Messi finds so much joy when he gets the ball in this Inside Right position coming across the line of defence, because he is left footed the ball is always away from the defender meaning they have to come across Messi body to get the ball or foul him to get it or they have to time there tackles to perfection.
Firsty If Leo goes to the right, this means madrid will have a totally different objective to deal with (certainly Marcelo many times destroyed by Messi like seen for messi 3rd goal (wondergoal) for argentina for Madrid he simply sucked Marcelo to the ball and one move and Messi was gone.

Often Messi less now than before (sadly) will pick the ball up from the on rushing Dani Alves (Dani alves perhaps his performance has decline because he sees a lt less combination play between him and Messi , so he has less options) and will run at the defenders cutting in on his wonderful left foot, and this will be even more helped if their is a centre forward E.G. David Villa to play little one two's off and through balls to.
Villa can run the defenders away creating more space for Messi to drive into, and if he is closed down a ball can be then transferred to the Pedro or Sanchez stretching the pitch the otherside. It is highly Important that someone on the Left stretches the pitch ad big as possible, therefore their defence will be too, this works better at Camp Nou than the Bernabéu simply because Camp Nou pitch is wider than the Bernabéus.


This will then mean if Messi cuts inside and Villa comes across and the Pedro/Sanchez stay out wide it can give space to Cesc or Iniesta to run through, and Messi can play one of them wonderful clipped/scooped balls through/over the defence seen many times before. This happened last year for Sanchez goal vs Madrid, Messi actually in this situation picked it up on in the middle of the halfway line however ran dribbled thorough players into this inside right position, Sanchez came across and Messi slid him through.

It is just so Important that Messi doesn't keep getting crowded and ocasionally in huge matches like this where Madrid will simply be thinking and setting their tactics out for Messi playing down the middle, its a good chance to mix it up. Also If Messi plays here it will simply mean Ronaldo who plays on the same side will be forced to come back and defend more than he will like to stop Alves easily passing the ball to Messi. Meaning he is deeper too.

We've all seen how dangerous Messi is coming in on his left foot so it would be great to seen this happen, And at the end of the day if it's not working it can be quickly changed around which is the key, we need more movement and interchange from the front three in general. So i'm not saying Messi needs to start and play fully on the right wing but he needs to drift across and do it when say Valdes has the ball. not just come for the ball down the middle this will create so much more spaces, and simply I think Messi will thrive and cause havoc by doing this.

The key is for Messi and barcelona players like Xavi/Busi/Cesc and Iniesta is to try to bring the Madrids Midfielders away from the Madrid defenders creating a pocket of space inbetween, of late this has been crowded Xabi and Kdehira simply will sit in the back fours feet meaning everything is played infront of them, (like chelsea did) here watch this superb Messi goal, it was simply ok Messi genius play but what I just mentioned the Madrid Midfield had come up from the defenders leaving a huge space and once Messi is past the Midfield into this space their is no stopping him unless you bring him down, which is seen by Diara holding his arms up to make sure he doesnt foul Messi, pause at 0:04 seconds to see the huge space left between Madrids midfield and defence. here Messi runs from the middle however, often he does this from the rinside right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT9H0-hm9u4&feature=fvwrel

This video shows just how Messi gets so many Goals against Madrid in this inside right Positon.

Goals 1,2, (3 begins the run inside right runnig across from right to left),6,11, (13 he passes the ball in the inside right position then runs into box to score)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gcz06FJG1IY

and heres a must watch video of the combination I speaked about which is missing a litle over than last few games, between Messi and Alves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFszhr7G4yU

So these are my thought do you agree this should be tried !! what cn possibly go wrong! he's exciting here will score goals he (ronaldo does cutting on his right) its more difficult position to be marked in on some occassions. All in all Icthink if this happens which it wont sadly it will hit Madrid like a tonne of bricks.

<em>This does not represent the views of Barca Blaugranes or SBNation</em>

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