Date: 30th November 2010 at 3:40pm
Written by:

As I sat and watched El Clasico last night, I like everyone was impressed with what I saw as Pep Guardiola’s side made a mockery of Jose Mourinho and his men.

Iker Casillas, one of the best keepers in the world, shipped 5 goals whilst Mesut Ozil who I personally advocated we sign was a ghost, totally anonymous until his name was called to be replaced by Lassana Diarra at half time and most disappointing for me was Ronaldo who tried in vain against a Barcelona team who appeared determined to put to bed any question over who is the better player Ronaldo or Messi.

Whilst Barcelona were awesome I had an overriding thought in my head the whole time whilst I was watching, Barcelona wouldn’t be able to embarrass United like that. It may be the bias in me being a United fan but even looking at it logically I think it is nigh impossible.

People will instantly point to the Champions League final and no I’m not suffering from selective amnesia but Sir Alex has always insisted that night he made a mistake and that he wouldn’t make it again and I agree. Just a year earlier we faced Barcelona and beat them over two legs. For all the talk of Sir Alex being ‘tactically inept’ we emerged victorious having missed a penalty in the first leg and created chances in both games as well as defending astutely (rather than defending for our lives as some people will make out).

People will point to Barca having improved and us weakening with the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez but more over this is about how we set up in the game. Last season Jose Mourinho managed to beat Guardiola’s Barcelona over two legs with arguably a weaker team. His team saw less of the ball but defended solidly, took their chances in the final third and most importantly they pressed high up the field, pressuring Pique and Puyol but Madrid did none of this.

Benzema, Ronaldo and Di Maria needed to be their first line of defence but they allowed Barca to get to their midfield unchallenged and it was over from there, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and Messi vs Ozil, Khedira and Xabi was a miss match. Whilst Khedira is known for his engine getting up and down the pitch he was happless whilst Alonso’s lack of mobility was again highlighted despite his good ball retention and distribution. Things only got marginally better when Diarra came on and attempted to chase the ball down.

Last night Mourinho perhaps under pressure from the fans and management at a club who turn their nose up at the kind of football that has lead Jose to success to success against Barca with both Inter and Chelsea, abandoned a tried and tested formula and the result was a humbling 5-0 defeat.

I think it is pretty obvious trying to match Barcelona will be your undoing, whilst Madrid didn’t see enough of the ball to attempt it last night, Arsenal saw it last season. It’s a mistake I wouldn’t expect Sir Alex to make, people often complain that when we play a big team we often aim to contain them and catch them on the break rather than out play them but it has been shown to be a fruitful tactic.

Again there will be people that say it is impossible to stop them, their team is too good blah blah blah but it has been done before and I’m pretty sure if you go out to face them with the right set up (as well as a talented set of players such as ours despite people’s claims of it being the worst team we’ve had!) it can be done.

Not saying that Barcelona aren’t the best team in the world, anyone who tries to refute this seriously needs their eyes testing neither am I saying that beating Barca is as easy as it may appear that I am suggesting what I am say is that beating Barcelona isn’t impossible, it has been done before and whilst there is no blueprint it is clear certain tactics work well against them.

That being said I hope we don’t face them later this season and I’m made to look a mug!


25 responses to “Could Barcelona have done that to United? I doubt it…”

  1. GallasOfCheklsea says:

    Play Barca like United did in 2008 en route to Moscow and they will coil. Unlike The Red Knight, i would actually love to face these guys at some point in Europe this season. I think they are not invincible. They are a joy to watch but i am looking forward to us correcting the errors we made that fateful night. That aside though, Madrid should really have done better on the night despite Barca’s apparent superiority and quality.

    West Ham last nigh was a wake up call for us, could really have been what we needed. Hopefully, we wont take anyone for granted again. I also think the match was a good one for SAF in determining who should leave OT in January or in the summer. O’shea tops this list for me

  2. Robban says:

    Barca beating united is as big chance as west ham beating united 4-0.

  3. Jamos9 says:

    All they’d have to do is play Messi down Jon ‘o’ Pies flank and it’d be a massacre!!
    We aren’t a patch on Barca at this present moment their passing and movement and team work is beyond any team at present. One of the all time greatest teams in the making.

  4. Eleven says:

    Hold up guys, I admit we got hammered by west ham, aren’t you guys forgetting something? We made 10 changes! Most of them 2nd/3rd string players!

    Give the lads a break! They’ll take this on the chin and bounce back stronger!

    Only senior player was Giggs! Who just got back from an injury!! What you except him perform miracles!!?

    The rest just need time! Without being slaughtered by there own “fans” ..Jus show what “fan” you guys are!


  5. me me says:

    Eleven- unfortunately a lot of us are not “supporters” but “fans” that blow hot and cold like the wind, only more predictably!

  6. Jinder says:

    I think that we cannot compare Barcelona of 2007-2008 when they lost to Manchester United 1-0 in the semi-finals with this Barcelona. They have got rid of Deco, Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Henry, Marquez, Toure and Zambrotta and their manager Rijkaard and put in lots more players from their own academy who know the style much better such as Busquets, Pedro, Jeffren, Bojan and they have also brought Mascherano, Villa, Pique and Daniel Alves. Added to this Xavi, Iniesta and Messi have got better as players too so I think they would beat Manchester Unit comfortably over 2 legs and also in a one-off game. Manchester United have not improved since 2008 and their midfield is quite poor. Inter Milan were able to win against Barcelona because their defenders were very good and dropped very deep. The midfield were almost on top of the defence and really sqeezed the space. Mourinho basically wanted the team to be less than 30 yards apart from front to back and just deny space. He can’t do this with Real Madrid though because traditionally they are an attacking team and wont play such a defensive style. Also Di Maria, Benzema, Ozil and Ronaldo wont defend the way Eto’o, Milito and Sneijder did. Remember Mourinho also put Chivu on the left wing and Zanetti at Left-back so that is 2 full-backs in order to block Messi and Alves on that flank. Such a tactic wouldn’t be tolerated by Real Madrid and they just dont have the side to play that way. Even Ramos and Marcelo are attacking full-backs by nature whereas Mourinho would prefer guys who just stay put and defend.

  7. Hilz says:

    Sorry guys but comparisons to the Barca team of 07/08 are just silly. That team was the lowest point Barca hve been in the past 6 years and finished 3rd in the league. The fact that Utd had to stick 10 men behind the ball and win the tie with 1 goal over 2 legs is auite telling. That team also lost to a much worse Madrid.

    This Barca is on a completely different level to the team of 07/08 so those comparisons are just delusions. Could Barca dominate Utd the way they did Madrid, well that would depend very much on how Utd approached the game. If they tried to actually play Barca then I suspect you would see a similar result, maybe not 5 goals but still. Dont forget the post and some great saves from VDS kept you from conceding 4 or 5 goals in the CL final a few years ago.

  8. Alexander says:

    Hi Author,

    They would thrash anyone who doesn’t park the bus and United and Chelsea have repeatedly done that so shame on you for writing such a stupid article all is fair in love and war …………and in a foot ball game too but relying on just your ultra defensive tactics,i can quote when italian soccer were at their prime they talked badly about their defensive powers so you just follow some other system to feel good ………..shame on you again,as always English Football Media always applies double standards that why they will never will win a world cup again …they still think they are the best league since most of the people watch their league because they cant watch other leagues……they have the most overestimated talent as regards to other leagues so just get over your inability and try to play football [not rugby]

  9. jack says:

    ok bring it on 🙂
    we will meet barca in champions league..let actions do d talking.. barca babies will be crying that day 🙂 even matrid can beat barca let alone man utd.. matrid was bad on d day because they had a very young team compared to barca.. nxt leg will be won by matrid comfortably.. pep is not a great manager at all.. yes he can do good if such a good team is provided… look what a joke was the transfer of ibramovic, swap of eto + 40M.. ha ha..poor loser.. he has his name only because of some very good players.. morinjho, SAF and the likes have build different good teams over different generations.. Pep just know his football, tats right,but that wont work out on the bigger stage.. you barca fans think you are invincible after that matrid crushing..but you will be thrown back to reality soon..

  10. FCB says: