Barcelona is out there throwing games on purpose, aren’t they? This is the sixth time Barcelona will play Atletico Madrid this season, and, for whatever reason, they still insist on playing four central midfielders against a team that presses the center of the pitch with reckless abandon.
You would think a smart manager (or even a competent one, I’m not greedy) would look at that and say, “Well, I got all this space out wide, maybe if I get some wide forwards in there, they could do something.”
And FYI, Messi doesn’t fit the description of a wide forward. You need Messi in the middle, causing havoc and creating space for your other wide forwards.
Look, I get it. This tactic worked against Manchester City and Real Madrid. You could overwhelm those two squads and relentlessly tap your way into goal scoring opportunities because sooner or later, they will get tired, they will slip up and they will make a mistake.
But this tactic worked against those two teams because they gave you space to do that. Atletico doesn’t give you space in the middle. They give you space out wide. We know this because we’ve seen this, oh about 45 times already this season. Five of those times were against this very team. Heck, one of those times, they were playing without arguably their two best players, and it was the time – the only time this season, in fact – when Barcelona lost.
Why would the sixth time be any different? Why would it all of a sudden make sense to overwhelm the middle of the pitch, play right into Atletico’s game plan, and squander the last chance this team has at a trophy this season?
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, according to Albert Einstein. I, however, refuse to believe that the guy managing my favorite team is insane.
I do, however, choose to believe that he is an incompetent choice for a club like FC Barcelona, and that?
That drives me insane.