What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

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What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by messixaviesta on Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:19 pm

Some of you may remember that in Tito's initial days yours truly was very critical of him. In one or more of the initial matches I even felt that he was making our team like a hard running EPL team and we had lost our symphony almost totally. As I have mentioned before as time went on things changed and now I am really liking the way we are playing. We are not exactly at the level of the Manita or the 2011 UCL final but we are close and the best that we have been in a long time.

So what has Tito in his very first season done different from what Pep used to do and particularly what he did in the previous season. I can think of three things which you may or may not agree with but you will of course point out a few more things making for an interesting discussion. Hence I decided to start this thread.


1. Tactical Stability :-

Gone are the three defender formations and gone are the constantly changing tactics. There is a lot of interchange in the course of play but in a way that suits the players and does not confuse them unlike what happened at times last season. The players with the sole exception of Iniesta are being played in their best positions and Iniesta is adapting more and more to his new role. You could say Fabregas is best as trequartista but that can never be done with Messi in the team. Hence this is the best we can give him now. All other players are where they would want to be I guess. Last season we saw somewhat crazy things like playing Dani Alves in the forward line, in midfield and even as a central defender. This year we don't see such things.

2. More Practical :-

Take a long corner if it gives you a better chance to score a goal. Take a shot if you have a decent chance of scoring. There is no need to play pass pass all the time. Hopefully he will also tell them to kick the ball out long at least in the dying moments of a crucial UCL game instead of trying to play our way out of trouble in defense in spite of all the risks.

3. Everything Does Not Strictly Flow Through Messi :-

No doubt Messi is our MVP and we are fortunate that he will continue to be so. However last year it was like you are not even allowed to build an attacking move without it going through Messi. Even players as gifted as Xavi and Iniesta seemed constricted not to be trying too much more than playing through Messi. This year Messi's role is more flexible. At times he does play as a play maker, even the chief one, but then at times he drifts to the right allowing others space in the center and he is playing so much more off the ball thus creating more space and increasing the chances of scoring goals including crucial goals.

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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by The Franchise on Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:45 pm

I am glad he has solved the Cesc issue, even if its just a temporary fix. It was becoming a serious problem in my opinion.

The lack of tactical changes I dont think will last, but perhaps I agree he wont be as daring and dramatic as Pep maybe was. Still, in the bigger games and future seasons we will need some innovation and that is where we can judge him further.
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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce on Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:02 pm

Tbf Iniesta's average position hasn't changed a great deal.....

Alba plays so high up the pitch and with so much width that he's often in a central position anyway.

Many times this season i have seen Xavi and Busquets holding with....

Pedro-Cesc-Iniesta-Alba behind Messi sometimes with Alves in Pedro's position and Pedro a bit deeper which explains his lack of goals.

There are still some issues with the balance of the attack which is well documented but a lot of the issues from last season have been rectified.

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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by messixaviesta on Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:09 pm

dani and mole, very interesting comments.

I would like to add a note of caution here a little on the lines of what dani said. When Carlos Queiroz became Real Madrid manager in 2003 he had an excellent time during the first few months and then everything completely feel appart. Hence we can only judge Vilanova properly at the end of the season. Whether he can handle the major UCL knock out ties or not will largely decide how good he really is.

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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by windkick on Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:32 am

Reminds me allot of the way we were playing in the 09 season, love it.

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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by alexjanosik on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:33 pm

At the start we did seem to play a bit more direct and I had listed the reasons I thought so.Now we seem to be playing more or less like Pep's best years but with some differences.
Still think we are a bit more direct this season.I am sure the possession stats back me up.I think last season in the league we managed around 70% possession on average.This season I think it will be closer to 65.Dont know the exact numbers but I am sure we average 5% less possession.
Messi is dropping deep slightly less compared to last season(though last few games more like last season)
The use of Pedro as a sort of traditional winger who keeps wide and tries to draw the fullback wide to open up space in the center.
And ofcourse arguably the biggest change in Alba.Alba playing has meant that our attack which used to be predominantly right centered(most of our attacks initiated from the Alves,Messi,Xavi trident down the right) has now become more even.I find that now we attack almost as much down the left as we do from the right.
Few reasons for this.Alba likes bombing down the left and him and Iniesta have formed a lethal duo.Iniesta now has a partner who will run in behind the defense and open up more plays for him.This has meant Iniesta is more confident in initiating plays from the left.
This feeling is borne out by the fact that Alba averages more passes than Alves this season,something unthinkable last few seasons.
Just shows that attack is more evenly spread down the 2 flanks.

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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by The Franchise on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:42 pm

This season we are at 69% possession in all comps, with 90% pass success according to whoscored.com..which is similar to last season.

Also we do attack more down the left than right this season.

35% left, 34% middle and 31% right.
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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by alexjanosik on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:49 pm

@The Franchise wrote:This season we are at 69% possession in all comps, with 90% pass success according to whoscored.com..which is similar to last season.

Also we do attack more down the left than right this season.

35% left, 34% middle and 31% right.

Hmm.Turns out I was wrong on the possession part.Where did you find the possession statistics for last season?I can only find this season's average.

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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by The Franchise on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:54 pm

No, I dont have last seasons either im just going by memory. I think our pass % last season might of been marginally lower.
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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by The Franchise on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:57 pm

According to this

http://www.managingmadrid.com/2012/7/25/3185261/madrid-and-barcelona-a-look-at-the-numbers-behind-the-2011-12-la-liga

Last season was 69.8
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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by free_cat on Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:29 pm

@alexjanosik wrote:
@The Franchise wrote:This season we are at 69% possession in all comps, with 90% pass success according to whoscored.com..which is similar to last season.

Also we do attack more down the left than right this season.

35% left, 34% middle and 31% right.

Hmm.Turns out I was wrong on the possession part.Where did you find the possession statistics for last season?I can only find this season's average.

According to whoscored.com last sesaon's posession was 69.7% and 88.5% pass, so virtually the same.


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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by BarrileteCosmico on Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:19 pm

I don't really think that there are any tactical changes, just changes that came about because of having different players on the field. Only one is Messi playing slightly more forward, relative to last season. Other than that, the more direct style, attacking more through the left, the success of Iniesta as a winger, etc can all be explained through the new players (cesc and alba in their new roles, mostly, montoya playing more/alves playing less compared to last season).

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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by Onyx on Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:39 pm

I don't really think anything's changed.

Whoscored say Barca concede an average of 9.1 shots a game. Last season I think it was an average of 6 shots a game.
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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by The Franchise on Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:55 pm

Shots are likely skewed by the fact Pique and Puyol missed that start of the season I think, we have looked very solid when both of those are in the line up.

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Re: What Has Tito Vilanova Changed?

Post by messixaviesta on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:06 pm

@alexjanosik wrote:At the start we did seem to play a bit more direct and I had listed the reasons I thought so.Now we seem to be playing more or less like Pep's best years but with some differences.
Still think we are a bit more direct this season.I am sure the possession stats back me up.I think last season in the league we managed around 70% possession on average.This season I think it will be closer to 65.Dont know the exact numbers but I am sure we average 5% less possession.
Messi is dropping deep slightly less compared to last season(though last few games more like last season)
The use of Pedro as a sort of traditional winger who keeps wide and tries to draw the fullback wide to open up space in the center.
And ofcourse arguably the biggest change in Alba.Alba playing has meant that our attack which used to be predominantly right centered(most of our attacks initiated from the Alves,Messi,Xavi trident down the right) has now become more even.I find that now we attack almost as much down the left as we do from the right.
Few reasons for this.Alba likes bombing down the left and him and Iniesta have formed a lethal duo.Iniesta now has a partner who will run in behind the defense and open up more plays for him.This has meant Iniesta is more confident in initiating plays from the left.
This feeling is borne out by the fact that Alba averages more passes than Alves this season,something unthinkable last few seasons.
Just shows that attack is more evenly spread down the 2 flanks.

Wonderful post - a great read.

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