Post Match Tactical Analysis and Reactions as Real Madrid beat Barca 2-1 at Nou Camp on Sunday afternoon in the first ever post-Messi Clasico
The Clasico might seem low quality in relation to ‘the Golden Era’, but it’s not much worse than the last few Clasicos (even with Messi and Ramos). No surprise.
Barcelona exceeded expectations in the First Half
Barcelona exceeded expectations in the first half. I expected worse yet Barcelona kept pinning Real Madrid until Half Time (bar the Alaba goal). Has perhaps been Barcelona’s best-pressing game against a high-valued opponent since the beginning of the season. More to do with Real Madrid than Barcelona.
Vinicius Junior blew Mingueza and the right side: As you had expect. Vinicius Junior is in the form of his life and without any clear option to lock him up, Vinicius was going to have a great game. Can’t blame much Mingueza: Shows his limitations, as proven vs Mbappe or even in other Clasicos.
Barcelona did not profit from Vazquez at right back enough.
Jordi Alba and Fati should have given free pinning lessons but it’s mainly Alba that went on Vazquez. If Barcelona were to have weaknesses, they had to play on their strengths. I.e interchange Fati to bully Vazquez. But they didn’t
Barca’s Midfield Chaos
Barcelona’s midfield was nonexistent, despite Busquets having an excellent game. All over the place, the midfield was skipped, and that where it’s supposed to Barcelona’s strength. Once again failing to use its advantages and showing its failures instead.
Vinicius Junior Real Madrid’s main man as Benzema remained silent
Vinicius Junior was Madrid’s main man, which says a lot about Eric Garcia vs Benzema. Stellar game (bar the few errors, nuance!) and kept Benzema (mostly) silent. Enormous task given the season he’s had so far. Felt the way he marked Benzema went under the radar. Similar for Pique.
There’s a first-half Vazquez and a second-half Vazquez. Mostly under pressure in the first-half (surprise surprise, when half of the team is!), he was freed in the second half & it showed (i.e the goal). Much more active and what Madrid would want for him (remains unstable, though).
Luca Modric at 36? what a player
Modric was absolutely overwhelmed. At 36 nobody should expect him to run marathon-like distances week in week out. “Closed” games benefit Modrić more, where he wouldn’t remain too isolated/overwhelmed
Barcelona lost control
After Barcelona lost control, it was a ping-pong game, living up to my personal expectations. Game of ‘whoever scores more wins’, break to Real (re: 1-0 and Vinicius Junior impact). Huge mess and that’s why many players got lost (Fati, Frenkie De Jong, Gavi). No surprise there.
Clarity is needed. Was obvious that Fati and Memphis (maybe even Dest?) were not sure what they had to do. Many unfamiliar situations (re: When do I interchange, when to drop deep, when to do what?) and that needs to change. Need clarity with anyone, especially younger players.
Frenkie de Jong gets too many roles at the same time (that change not only through the season, but also through the game). Easy to get confused (what first?) and you get a player that does everything but nothing too well. Stand firm that he needs guidance and all will be well again.
Coutinho – not sure. Decent performance on Sunday afternoon, but afraid it was a fluke. Could be explain by Memphis had a relatively unsuccessful and open-game (re: ping-pong). Gives more space to operate + clearer vision (maybe?). Either way, likely to remain inconsistent
Sense of repetition: Barcelona are not progressing. But when you see repeatedly the same, I’m convinced Laporta and the rest are thinking, have patience, etc
And now, on to the incident on Koeman [Already sacked] after the game at Camp Nou;
Besides being just bad behavior, harassing Koeman in his car also discredits people who are critical of the manager & want him fired. This is sports, not some life/welfare-threatening social policy; poor performance doesn’t warrant such an aggressive response.
There are better ways to express dissatisfaction than acts that give club leadership cover to support a manager many wanted out since the summer. They don’t have to defend their decision now, instead they can just condemn boorish actions against their employee.
Relatedly, can’t help but compare media response to Koeman losing the Clasico versus Setien. They both turned out to be wretched managers, yet it’s clear Koeman has way more support than Setien did, & being creeps around Koeman’s car only gave his supporters a moral victory.
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