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Barcelona vs. Juventus - Pressing and Magic to Lead the Way in UEFA Champions League

There’s basically only one way to complete the comeback...

FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad de Futbol - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

To complete (another) ridiculous, miracle comeback, Barcelona have to rely on two things to get the 3, 4, 5 or more goals against Juventus: pressing and magic.

Pressing is something the whole team has to do. It’s not simply about running, but about knowing when, how, and where to run. The difference between a team that looks completely open and a team that presses like madmen isn’t just effort. It’s not even primarily effort. Organization and timing can be more important.

Juventus are extremely hard to break down when they retreat, so Barça have to take the ball in the opposing half, catch them off-guard and try to score quickly. This will necessitate extra bodies in the attacking half of the pitch, meaning Barcelona will be quite vulnerable to counterattacks. The back three have to more or less be perfect, one mistake and it could very well be the end.

The “magic” portion simply means that one of Barcelona’s four players who are known for their superhuman attacking or passing ability - Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, and Andres Iniesta - will likely have to get something out of nothing for Barcelona to get the required amount of goals.

In the game against Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar produced a ridiculous free kick, not to mention a great assist. Without these bits of superlative play, Barcelona don’t go through.

Again, an early goal will be quite important. In both the 4-0 against AC Milan and the 6-1 against PSG - the big comebacks Barcelona have produced in the past few years - the Catalans scored within the opening 5 minutes.

But at least a goal before halftime will be a good stat, though the more the better, obviously. Sure, Barcelona scored three in seven minutes against PSG, but that’s once-in-a-lifetime stuff... surely?

More reasonable is the measured approach, take each half hour as a mini game in itself in which you need to win 1-0.

Just as much, you can’t panic if you’re not up 1-0 at half time, though it obviously complicates thing by a huge amount. Now the opposite side of the 6-1 coin: if you can score three goals in seven minutes, why not three in 45? There’s no reason to not go all out.

If Juve concede one or two early enough, they may start to show psychological fissures. Doubtlessly they’re made of sterner things than PSG, but then, PSG didn’t know that the previous team got blitzed by Barça. Juventus do know that.

I’m sure Lucho wants to give Juve that sinking feeling that this is inevitable, once again. It’s that feeling that PSG had and couldn’t shake. Juventus don’t have it, but they can develop it. And after that, who knows?

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