Published on March 11th, 2014 | by Daniel Riordan0
“How to break Barcelona” – Daniel Riordan (Guest Writer)
Finally the dust has set and time has moved on from another humiliating defeat to Wigan at the weekend and we can now look forward to the clash against Barcelona in the Champions League. The second leg tie, which City go in 2-0 down, is still unpredictable with what is going to happen.
Just to start off with, ignore the cliche which I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again from fans and the media but you have to give Wigan credit. Uwe Rosler came with a plan and they weren’t afraid to come at us. We were poor. Very very poor and it’s probably the worse performance I’ve seen all season from City. It was negative and lazy from some of them. Clichy played unbearably poor along with Richards and Demichelis.
Maybe with Clichy and Richards it’s because they’ve not played in a few games but they’re used to the pitch and they’re professionals so I shouldn’t see that being the case. But time and time again Demichelis is at fault. I was starting to defend the guy because I thought he’d been a bit of a scapegoat and somebody to blame when anything goes wrong, it wasn’t fair on him. There always has to be someone amongst the City fans, look at Garcia for an example. He looked solid up until Messi’s sending off two weeks ago and has a lot this year. But I just can’t defend Demichelis anymore. Time and time again he’s making mistake after mistake and he’s costing us this year. Effectively could possibly of lost us two cups should we go out on Wednesday evening.
We can talk about City’s defence over and over indefinitely, it’s obvious we need a new top established center back. Personally I don’t see why we didn’t get Kolo Toure on another years contract instead of buying Demichelis but maybe because Pellegrini wanted Demichelis in as he’s somebody he’s worked with. I’d love to see Matts Hummels or Benedikt Howedes come in. Two top strong defenders who can help Germany win the World Cup this year, I see them winning it. However it looks increasingly likely Eliaquim Mangala will be coming in.
But go hundreds of miles to Barcelona and it’s a similar story to what is happening over there. A few weeks ago on the 1st of February they lost 3-2 at home to Valencia. Three weeks after that on the 22nd of February they lost 3-1 away at Real Sociedad. And now at the weekend, one of the biggest shocks occurred when they lost 1-0 to 17th placed Real Valladolid. It shows around these past two months they’re vulnerable to an attack.
We have to show no respect to Barca. That was the problem in the home leg, too much respect and too nervy. When we attacked in the home leg, we could of got a goal but nerves got the better. I guess Valladolid at the weekend gave nothing for them and that’s why they got the win. I said it in a previous blog post you only have to look at the Champions League last year with the German teams against Madrid and Barcelona, 4-0 in the first leg and that’s because they went all out attack and gave no respect. Spanish teams and the national team in general just can’t defend and we just need to go all out with a strong attack and a smart performance.
If Sundays game is anything to go off then we haven’t got a hope. Although a lot were rested, there was a lot of miscommunication between several players and that has to change for the European tie. There’s a benefit of having Demichelis out because (I hope) it’ll give Lescott the chance to shine who I thought played brilliantly on a Sunday and just overall has such a better partnership with Kompany.
So how do we break them down? It’s simple, play them at their own game and invite the attack they bring. Play the ball short and fast, play it smart without hoofing it over the defence just to lose possession and break fast on to them. When the opposition player from Barca have the ball, about 2 or 3 players will head straight onto that player leaving masses of space open, if City work on this to get around them, they’re vulnerable for the counter attack. When the blues went at them, in the first leg, it was generally down the wing which Barca couldn’t cope with but being at the Nou Camp I think they need to make it more central, make their defenders crowd together in the middle and get it over to the wing where space will be open.
We shouldn’t fear them because the players will have to have the mentality of “well there’s nothing to lose so let’s go down fighting”. It may sound funny but that same rule has been implemented into Crystal Palaces team by Tony Pulis and with him there, I think they’re staying up because of this, they’re getting results under him.
It’s achievable to go through. Can we do it at the Nou Camp – yes. Chelsea did it with a team which wasn’t expected to win the Champions League in 2012 and Valencia this year have done who are by no means having a great season. Like I stated earlier, they’re vulnerable for goals and I’m sure they’ll be nervy after their loss at the weekend. If Pellegrini gets his team right and his tactics right then a victory is on the cards. The only thing is now that Madrid are top, they could put all their focus onto the Champions League and go all out for that. Only time will tell.
My starting XI:
Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov
Nasri, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva
– Daniel Riordan (Guest Writer)