Monday, 19 December 2011

Barca won? Well surprise, surprise...

Another win!? Look Cesc lost his pants in all the excitement!!
 In real life, surprises are a nice source of amusement in certain occasions.  But in professed works of imagination, these surprises may come to offend us, by suggesting doubts about the accuracy of the representation.  These surprises can diminish what we think of as a perfect representation.  Now change this perspective to football.  Barcelona has a style of play alien to most teams.  Some call it fantasy football. A way of football that can only be played in their routine daydreams.  In essence, an ideal representation of football.

The past 3 games FC Barcelona have played left me secretly ashamed of being so surprised by Barcelona's genius.  I've always thought their possessive/attacking, 4-3-3, ways were a solid and golden tactic to winning matches.  If Barca is so flawless, why am I still scratching my head with the recently past games?  These surprises exposes doubt, and doubts leads me to believe a flaw in what I thought was their perfect style. Right?

Take the most recent El Clasico.  You've read the previews. You've read reviews. Both sides were talking openly about tactics, baiting and bluffing.  They made the Clasico seem more like a chess game than an actual match.  The bottom line came down to "Real Madrid was probably going to win".  People didn't doubt Barca's philosophy, they just believed more in Real Madrid's galore scoring side.  I didn't doubt Barca.  I knew if they minimized error (eg. giving possession away), covered CR7, Benzema (the list goes on and on...), they were in grasp of a tie, or a 1-2 win..AT BEST.  But a 1-3 victory?! I'm still celebrating even now.

I was surprised. So where was the flaw? (And please don't say Victor Valdes).  Besides minor ones (eg. giving possession away), Barca played the better side against RM.  My amazement came from the way Barca handled their situation.  Here's an example, Puyol covered the hole Alves made by moving further up the pitch, and Busquet's mutual understanding with filling in Puyol's hole.  I haven't really seen movements this fluid, even from Barca; until now.  The match showed that rigid 4-3-3 may not always work anymore.  My "perfect representation" failed.

Fast forward to the 4-0 win in the Club World Cup.  It wasn't as nerve-racking as El Clasico, but Barca's style was once again a bit different.  Xavi played deeper in his half, Cesc placed as a false-9, ect. Things changed but results didn't. There were no flaws. Santos received a trashing, Neymar was on the brink of tears, and we still got witness fantasy football.

I found no flaws because the system that people daydream of was never "perfect" to begin with.  Surprise is good (unless you put it in the context of Victor Valdes).  Surprises mean changes in an imperfect system.  With these changes, Barcelona can display a contemporary way of playing The Beautiful Game that's not strictly defined in tactics, lines, or triangles; but through an obnoxious amount of kinesthetic awareness and ...possibly... MAYBE some good old-fashion teamwork.  Pep should keep tinkering with the Barca system.  And however way the system decides to evolve, hopefully it'll keep leaving us well--surprised.

With that in mind, have a nice break and ¡Visca Barca!

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