“I rewatched the 8-0 today because it can be useful for Valencia and there are still things that we don’t do well.” – Pep Guardiola (translated by @fcblive)
If there’s one thing our experience as Barca fans has taught us, its that Pep Guardiola is always right. If Pep told us the sun is indeed a square, we wouldn’t look up to check, we’d just take it for a fact. If Pep told us we don’t need centerbacks, we’d wiggle our toes a bit and make lame jokes, but we’ll still believe him. I’m sure Rosell will concur. “It’s not in my place to ask why, but just to figure out the how” he’d probably say if he had the teeniest bit of sense, which we are now convinced he does. So when Pep says he rewatched the 8-0 and there are still things Barca doesn’t do well, the Osasuna coach might vehemently disagree or even be tempted to poke Vilanova in the eye, but we agree with Pep and set about to find them. So what could those things possibly be that Barca doesn’t do well? Here’s our guess.
- Score a goal after every Barca player has touched the ball without any rival player getting to it: Okay, when we say “touch the ball” we don’t mean it literally, so Busquets, take note. That said, there was one such wonderful opportunity against Osasuna where after all conditions were met, Messi made an accurate pass to Cesc, who in turn made an accurate pass to the rival goalkeeper. Not done. Cesc might be morphing into one of those goal-scoring machines but he missed that one, hence the collective goal still remains undone.
- Defend Corners: Yeah, that. I think by now we all have a good idea as to how Barca go about defending corners. The players stand around randomly, and as the opposition player takes the corner kick, there is a mad scramble, widespread panic shortly followed by the ball somehow making its way into the net and the players still standing around randomly but with their hands on their hips this time around. A little room for improvement there.
- Avoiding the Goal Post: If only there were a rule in football awarding half a goal if you hit the goal posts, Barca would be winning every game by a landslide. Despite repeated instructions from Pep that the key is to get the ball between the goalposts, and not through it, the team keeps attempting it. Bet that had Pep frowning heavily when he re-watching the 8-0. Perfectionist Pep doesn’t like 8-0 scorelines when they could have been 12-0.
- Taking Free Kicks: The players look focused enough as they step up to take the free kick. They adjust the ball, look like they mean business, take perfect aim, and send the ball soaring along a delightfully curving trajectory…only it’s either straight at the goalkeeper or the goalposts. Raising hopes only to dash them to the ground. Room for improvement? You bet.
- Playing with any random back-line: If there is one Pep cannot understand, it is why his players cannot be just as effective with JDS at RB, Busi at CB and Ibi Afellay at LB. How is a manager supposed to rotate 18 first team players if those dudes in the front require traditional CBs and all that jazz when all they need to do is to hold on to the ball for a simple 90 minutes? A problem, yes, but not unsolvable for Pep. He’ll figure out a way to make JDS a RB even if it’s the last thing he does at Camp Nou.