Take two of the Real Madrid Barcelona showdown and we’re in for another night of entertaining football come Wednesday. Just for the record, Barcelona's starting lineup on Saturday cost 85 million Euro in transfer fees whereas Madrid's starting lineup cost 290 million Euro.
The two things that we saw Mourinho imply on Saturday was the long-ball tactics and the positioning of Pepe as defensive midfielder, both being very successful.
The long-ball tactic is something Jose Mourinho used during his days at Chelsea. It’s basically providing long balls to the striker in this case it being Benzema who then holds up the ball for the on coming midfielder (Özil, most likely) and the fullbacks (Marcelo). Ronaldo will operate on either wings, glimpses of which we saw in the first game and will motion through cutting for space to edge into the final third and into the box.
For Real this is a good option because it readily cuts the danger of the ball being intercepted by Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets in the heavily disposed midfield and works out as a perfect counter-strategy approach.
For Barcelona the danger here is that when on the offense, Barcelona’s full-backs Adriano and Dani Alves are out of position and the back-line which is quite thin at the moment is vulnerable to attacks.
What Barcelona would need to do in my opinion is to position Xavi and Busquets as cover for the two center-backs when they’re on the attack, to stem out danger of being caught on the counter. Mascherano who is most likely to play in case Puyol isn’t fit would again the susceptible to Real’s attacks and the man has in the past made rash challenges which could cost us dearly.
Another talking point being discussed on many forums is the fact that Barcelona’s 70 odd percent ball possession isn’t worthwhile if they don’t score. The fact people don’t realise here is, ball possession not only helps in creating chances but it also nullifies the opposition’s ability to score; the less of the ball they see, the less chance to score.
Come tomorrow, Barcelona and Real Madrid’s tactics would hugely be crucial and both managers ability to outthink the opponent would be the cornerstone of who progresses to the finals at Wembley.
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