I do not agree with a 4-2-3-1 because it doesn't solve our biggest issues. Luckily we have another team that plays total football that tried and failed using this method. Bayern Munich used this formation and still lost to Chelsea. You cant fix a problem by just toughening the formation as cracks will also appear in that system. I also want to quash this myth that Barca is vulnerable from set Pieces. Barca has had fewer goals scored from set pieces than Madrid. One should never expect Barca not to concede from set pieces, and should be happy that Barca has one of the best disciplined teams against set pieces. Not to veer off topic; I believe the best way to look at the team in terms of tactical changes is to look at tactics as players as Pep once said. A closer look at some key matches helps us identify the real issues and ascertain that the most important skill on the pitch is finishing;
The Loss against Chelsea; shows that Sanchez and Fabregas failed to convert their goal scoring chances while Messi was completely cut off. In other words, Teams that play Catennacio have realised Barca depend alot on Messi in scoring and can risk not focusing on the other players in the attack. I doubt if Villa or Pedro had played that game, we would have failed to win, as the two would have warranted serious marking.
The loss against Madrid at Camp Nou; shows that Pep blundered by putting Tello in the starting line up since he failed to convert clear cut chances. And Xavi also failed to score a chance in the early stages of the game because, well he is not used to being in such situations. Tello, has a knack for being in goal scoring opportunities,just like Fabregas; a testament to that being his 7 goals in 15 games, , but their finishing isn’t yet there. Tello would be a good impact sub to help us counter though.
Chelsea win against Bayern Munich and Playstation FIFA; Bayern Munich outplayed chelsea and had a strong 4 man defence( Bayern used a 4-2-3-1) but because their finishing was awful( finishing was awful from the Madrid games) Chelsea got 1 goal from 1 corner and Bayern got 0 goals from 22 corners. If you guys play fifa on playstation you’ll notice that the more you miss chances the more likely it is for your opponent to score you as the opponent will focus more on finishing better the fewer chances he gets. This usually happens in matches that end 1-0 with the better player having failed to finish off any chance.
Man utd loss to Barca 2010; shows that Barca could be scored, just like any other team in this world(Which is normal). The goal Barca conceded made the defense and keeper look like paper wieghts! Man utd were able to get a single chance and hit us to put it 1-1. But the “defensive frailties” in the Back were not an issue at all as Barca had the finishing touch in Villa( A true striker) and Messi ( a freak of nature) as Barca went on to win 3-1. But still Barca wasted alot chances and the game should have been something like 7-2 or 7-1
On the other hand Victor Valdes is a world class keeper but is not of the caliber of Peter Chec and Casillas. Peter Chech was able to single handedly stop Barca’s auxiliary strikers(Fabregas and Sanchez) from scoring while Chelsea only got one chance and Valdes Blundered at Camp Nou. Casillas also made some amazing saves in the win at Nou Camp while Victor Valdes came out of Goal very often to help Madrid hit us.
Barca lacks consistency in their fighting spirit
Do not get me wrong, when Barca are looking for goals, they hunt for them and press for them, better than any other team in the world. At that moment they have the best fighting spririt I have seen in this generation of football. BUT! there are tonnes of games, especially away games where they settle for a certain score and just start toying around with the opposing team or what some have called defending by passing the ball. This is very annoying. A clear example of this was the 3-1 win at the Bernabeu last December. A game that could have ended 5-1 or 6-1 ended 3-1 as Barca started toying with their food. Also the 3-2 home win against Madrid this year, where Barca went up 3-1 and started lethargically passing. The chance Barca got to score a fourth goal seemed as though it was unexpected by the Barca attackers and the finishing was sloppy. Barca should fight to score until the last minute of every game. They should never use tiki taka as a way of wasting time but as a way of killing off their opponents until the last minute
Conclusion: The only skill on the pitch that really counts is Finishing and Goal Keeping ( these were Chelsea's biggest strengths). If Barca could improve on this, they can keep a 3-4-3 formation as even Teams with good Defenses that play total football such as Bayern Munich get hit by what I term as Finisher teams( Teams with super finishers such as Falcao and Drogba). And btw Tactics are basically Players. The Spain team that won the recent Euros were a great example of finishing prowess especially in the final. So the solution is to improve training for our naturally calamitous but irreplaceable Victor Valdes and getting better finishers in attack to help Messi, such as Pedro and Villa. Defensive discipline has to be emphasised too by the coach. At the end of the day, all formational tactics are basically players/Players are the ones that make them happen.
Tell me what you think . And forgive me for my amateurish writing