What should be our plan forward now?

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by BarrileteCosmico on Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:39 pm

We don't need to change the manager, let alone style, it would be terribly unfair to Tito who frankly did a phenomenal job until he suffered the recurrence of his cancer. I would give him one more season.

What we need to do is re-new the squad with new and ambitious faces. We just need to diversify the goal threats and sign athletic CBs and LBs that will boost our set piece performance. The LB doesn't even need to be a start all games, just be an athletic and defensive option to Alba. A WC GK too if one is available on the market. I'm assuming the club will never sell a Catalan player unless they don't have to. So:

Sell: Alexis, Valdes, Masche and Song and Villa if they want out due to lack of playing time.
Promote: Deulofeu.
Sign Nerman (are we even considering anyone else?), WC GK, Tall, athletic and physical CBs & LBs.

New GK
Alves - Pique - New CB - New LB/Alba
Xavi/Thiago - Busquets - Iniesta
Deulofeu/Pedro - Messi - Neymar

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by messixaviesta on Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:46 pm

alex, excellent point about the forward line. It's ironic that you mention that in the beginning of Pep's era the offense was less dependent on Messi because sorry to say no one is more culpable in this than Pep. The last season is when this problem set in big time. In fact I for one felt that in the early part of this season Tito tried a little to correct that but then once he fell ill things went downhill and they didn't recover even after he came back.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by LeBéninois on Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:47 pm

@alexjanosik wrote:I dont think we need any radical changes.And I most certainly dont approve of the idiotic idea that we need a plan B or something of the sort.
We stick to our philosophy but implement it fully like the first 3 years under Pep.That means going back to our intense pressing game and restructuring our offense to make it less dependent on Messi.
Running our entire offense through Messi has made us a bit predictable.It also limits the game of our other forwards and turns them into mere runners /decoys. We make the offense less reliant on Messi,share the load and actually get a forward who is not afraid of taking the initiative and there is no player who suits the bill more than Luis Suarez.The latest incident means that there is a very real chance that he moves.I am sure that if we make a move,he would jump.He is tremendously skilled,tenacious,works hard and is versatile.A Messi-Suarez combo will be legendary.

On the defensive end,we get a real CB.Someone who can actually defend.No more turning DM's into CB's.

It's not that simple. i don't thing we are going to see the pressing as it was 3 years ago. players are humans , not machine . 3 years ago the team had so much hunger but i agree we need something new.

Great post by the Ostracized one :

Great points Kizz. I said this since the start of the season. My take on this is that it is time for a refresh button. This obssession with possession has been taken to a new level. People keep going on about this 'tiki taka' BS. Tiki taka does not exist and I know Free_cat agrees.

Now immediately Guardiola left I knew that the principles would slowly fade. Tito is not Pep and never will be. You can see the players, inevitably don't have the same hunger they did 2-3 seasons ago. That is understandable. Now for a club to have sustained success you have to either change the management, or replace the players ala the Bella Guttmann rule. Milan had 3 great seasons under Sacchi but they changed managers and style with the same core players and retained success. Manchester United have had consistent success because we constantly change our players and tweak our tactics with respect to the players we have, while retaining Uniteds beliefs, if I could call it that.

As Kizz said, a lot of Guardiola's principles are slowly going. The pressing is non existent. The reason it seemed like Barcelona always had the ball under Guardiola is because of how quickly they recovered the ball back. When Pep came he coached the way the players positioned themselves, especially the defenders. Pique has never been a good conventional defender, I don't think Barcelona has ever had a stand out cenrtral defender I can think of. Koeman was never a good defender. The team was set up to reciver the ball and the defenders were set up to enable ball retention. Even Pep admitted when he took over that Barcelona has never been good at defending (conventionally that is ie sitting back and using defensive positioning ala Inter and chelsea). So the reason that the defence has looked horrid is because they are being forced to defend conventionally depsite not being in a position to do so.

So when I see people goin, o lets get Hummels, lets get Kompany, it would make no difference. Except the tactics are brought up to scratch or the coaching of their positioning is changed even Thiago Silva will suffer in that defence.

Now what is Barcelona's philosphy? Anyone that wants to say possession can quite frankly go to hell. Possession is a statistic. As I said either the personnel change or the management (tactics) changes. The management isn't exactly the same, but the personnel has been together now for almost 5-6 years. The team needs a new coach with fresh ideas and a differnt tactical philosophy. People saying no they don't need to wake up. Barcelona have played differently under every manager. It is clear that they need new things, the false 9 has run its course, I don't care what anyone says. Look at how Messi dependent the team is. It is unreal. Look at Bayer. They were missing Kroos and Mandzukich and Badstuber yet they had players that can come and fit in straight away.

That is what a team should be like. Messi is a great player but now the team is geared towards him and when it works it is magic, but when it doesnt it, the whole team falls apart as a result. Even the positioning of the midfielders is different sligtly. All I'm saying is that anyone expecting the team to play the same way they did under Pep now that he is gone is deluded. Maybe when Tito is fit for a whole season we will see. As far as I'm concerned, this team is losing its identity every month and someone needs to come in an imprint their own style on it.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by messixaviesta on Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:50 pm

Friends, if you want to give Tito one more season, then I also accept that. However if he does offer to step down himself then I don't think we should push him to keep the job. This is a very stressful job due to which his health could suffer. From what I have read he has a major problem in his throat due to which he finds it difficult to speak clearly. This job requires coaches to shout from the touchlines quite often. Anyway if he insists that he wants to continue in spite of all the troubles then I too agree with you all that its only fair that he be given one more year.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by The_Badger on Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:51 pm

I don't think Barca need a radical overhaul. One or two key players might offer a much needed reform.

I'd say get rid of Valdes, not that he's a bad keeper, but his future isn't at the club anymore as he has made clear: Reina, Handanovic even Begovic are decent replacements.

A centre-back is an absolute must. Puyol's absence has damaged the morale, spirit and organisation of the back line. Non more so than to Pique, who looks a shadow of his former self without Puyol by his side.

Barca would never have conceded as many goals as they have this season with him marshaling the defence, so this summer it is absolutely imperative the club finds a replacement; someone with experience and similar attributes: Godin, Kompany, Hoewedes, or Thiago Silva would be terrific.

Barca, also need to get rid of Sanchez and seek a more compatible yet diverse player who can play anywhere along the front. Reus would be a great acquisition, as would Eriksen, but Vucinic or Quagriella are the kind of players I think would add so much to Barcelona's attack.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by alexjanosik on Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:51 pm

He is wrong.We dont need a new style or identity.We need to go back to basics and play our style in its truest form.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by BarcaKizz on Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:52 pm

I'd be pretty happy with what if we do what BC says.

The GK situation is one thing we have to deal with, but its isolated from improving our play tactically.

Apart from GK, I'd like 3-4 signings. Likely it'll be just 2, but lets hope its 3.

If Liverpool do sell Suarez, there's a reason for it. If we buy him, we buy his problems as well. I don't want that man in our club. Highly doubt we'll go for him now too.

Likely we will cull/loan a lot of the fringe youngsters too. Tito likes Roberto and Deulofeu will stay. Bartra probably will too if he performs well in these last games, but Muniesa, JDS, Oier, Rafinha, Cuenca, Afellay, Fontas and Bojan will probably all go, albeit some on loan.

I also think Tello is getting too hyped last few weeks... its kind of annoying the knee-jerks...
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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by Brady2Moss on Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:40 pm

returning to basics (intense pressing of opposition), will not work against a quality passing side as Bayern. In fact, doing that will only expose the holes in Barca's defense as witnessed last night. Remember what happened when Alves, Pedro and Xavi tried to pin Ribery down in his own half by pressing high? Bayern countered with quick accurate triangle passes between Schweinsteiger and Alaba and before you knew it, Ribery had an open lane to run into..


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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by The_Badger on Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:10 pm

Barca's basics are a thing of the past. Teams have adapted to deal with your possession game.

You are unable to surprise teams in the manner you did under Guardiola's first few years.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by sportsczy on Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:22 pm

I'll say it again... Hummels is not the type of CB you guys need. There aren't enough players on the pitch that are good with the ball? You need a true defender. Not only a guy that wins his duels, but also organizes the defense and covers for others. Hummels is not it.

But if it's Hummels or nobody, Hummels is better than anyone you have obviously other than Pique if Pique wakes up.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by BarcaLearning on Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:30 pm

Interesting opinions and its good to see many Smile

For the CB type...I read and guess that Barca's ideal is not really defending, but avoid really defending by winning possession? So why wouldnt another ball playing defender be good? Pique getting a lot of abuse, but I still think hes our best defender by a mile. If we can get someone to compliment him well thats enough, not sure the exact type though.

Come to think of it, this shows just how good Fergie has been all these years, he's had to rebuild his team time and again and kept them motivated and at a high level pretty much every season. If Tito stays one of season then he will need to most importantly apart from fixing the positions and bring in right players, get the team motivated and hungry in every game for the whole season, anything less then it will be another season similar to this one. The pressing as we all know takes a lot of energy and to do it still consistently after 4-5 years isnt easy. Can he get Barca to do it again? Who knows...

Realistically speaking, I think Alba is a definite starter, and with our backup atm (Adriano who is very good and the other), I dont think Barca will be looking for a taller better defending LB, etc Razz

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by The Sanchez on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:12 am

Physicality, Set peices and counter attack – thats what Bayern did to us. And congrats to them.
We may not be having a poor defence, but we do not have a good defence who can defend set pieces. If we did, this match would have been only 1-0 (ignoring the ref errors) and we would have had more hope for the second leg, in spite of a very poor first leg.
For me, it is very clear our problem is our defence. The only way to protect this defence – for many here – is to press in the front areas, but for that we also need 3 compact lines, which we dont.

And please, anybody who have played football know this, Pressing is not easy, to expect players to press hard each and every game is too much. May be the present tiredness is the result of our hard press in the first three seasons with Pep.

I still like to hope that we can turn up at Camp Nou and at least win a 3-0, and celebrate our best victory of this season.
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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by BarrileteCosmico on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:23 am


And please, anybody who have played football know this, Pressing is not easy, to expect players to press hard each and every game is too much. May be the present tiredness is the result of our hard press in the first three seasons with Pep.
... or the result of nearly no rotation under the roura administration

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by Zuess99 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:12 am

From an outsiders pov.
Sell - Valdes, Masch,Song, Alexis and Villa

Buy - Hummels, Luiz, Neymar, Isco, Kompany

Promote - Sergio Roberto and that winger kid.

Your philosophy is great people might talk shit but it has made barca and spain win alot of trophies in a short space of time.
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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by CBarca on Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:29 am

@messixaviesta wrote:Friends, if you want to give Tito one more season, then I also accept that. However if he does offer to step down himself then I don't think we should push him to keep the job. This is a very stressful job due to which his health could suffer. From what I have read he has a major problem in his throat due to which he finds it difficult to speak clearly. This job requires coaches to shout from the touchlines quite often. Anyway if he insists that he wants to continue in spite of all the troubles then I too agree with you all that its only fair that he be given one more year.

I think if he wants it, we have to give Tito another year. He's won the league title in his first season, reached the CL semi final and we were tremendous before he fell ill. And then when he fell ill, he was gone for several months and we suffered because of it.

I think if he does offer to step down, going for Jupp would be a good move, but I'd like to keep Tito if we can. Also it's unfair to judge Barca on the games after Tito came back, how long has he been here?

@BarrileteCosmico wrote:We don't need to change the manager, let alone style, it would be terribly unfair to Tito who frankly did a phenomenal job until he suffered the recurrence of his cancer. I would give him one more season.

What we need to do is re-new the squad with new and ambitious faces. We just need to diversify the goal threats and sign athletic CBs and LBs that will boost our set piece performance. The LB doesn't even need to be a start all games, just be an athletic and defensive option to Alba. A WC GK too if one is available on the market. I'm assuming the club will never sell a Catalan player unless they don't have to. So:

Sell: Alexis, Valdes, Masche and Song and Villa if they want out due to lack of playing time.
Promote: Deulofeu.
Sign Nerman (are we even considering anyone else?), WC GK, Tall, athletic and physical CBs & LBs.

New GK
Alves - Pique - New CB - New LB/Alba
Xavi/Thiago - Busquets - Iniesta
Deulofeu/Pedro - Messi - Neymar

I completely agree with this.

I don't think a large overhaul is needed. I don't. But we need some new signings, something to revitalize the team.

And more than that is something that has been mentioned, returning to basics- again, it's sounding like an old record at this point, but our pressing has got to be fixed. Our defense and midfield IS NOT good enough to be able to sit back and control a lead or avoid being scored on (how many cleansheets do we have this season?). Granted we don't exactly do that, but we aren't going out with the high intensity pressing we need, and when we do that look what happens- 4-0 Milan.

Plan B sh*t is BS. No need for it. I can understand shifting tactics around and reshuffling every once in a while for experimentation/keeping things fresh like Pep did, but even that was done to unhealthy amounts sometimes. We need to stick with our core philosophy, make some key signings, and go back to some of the basics. Oh, and bring back some more rotation please. Nothing groundbreaking is really needed IMO.

Also, people looking at a new LB is so bad considering we got one last summer. By that I mean...what a failure of a transfer it is when we are looking at the same position to fortify after buying someone for that position last summer. Should have gotten Filipe Luis or something...

This time our transfers need to be top class. None of this stuff that we've been doing. More Dani Alves transfers (I realize none will quite reach that standard but you get the idea)
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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by messixaviesta on Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:54 am

Was just reminded of an important point. Whoever the attacker we buy may be he MUST be able to play off the ball. We do not want one more player who only wants the ball to be played to his feet. So if Neymar is the one we are targeting and he sees himself as a Messi wannabe let's think again. Or at least find the right player for the other wing, one who will primarily play off the ball.



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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by dostoevsky on Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:24 am

@messixaviesta wrote:dost, interesting comments. When you say the core of the team doesn't need to be changed there are various ways of looking at it. I would say Pep and Xavi have been very much core of this team. Pep moved last year. Xavi will slowly fade. In that sense to my mind this will be like building a new team. Your point about lack of intensity in training could be true. Somehow the memories of 2007-08 keep coming back. One of the biggest problems then was the training quality.

I can understand that you consider Pep to be part of the core, however I propose that you look at it in this sense. The transition of a playing group will lead to the balance of strengths and weaknesses being altered as the characteristics of the players will never be identical. For a coach however, whilst they will bring their own approach, they are at all times charged with seeking the advantage of their squad and the strengths of the side largely remain the same as in the past. As long as a thoughtful and strong manager is at the helm, the role is one of constant adaptation to the changing circumstances of the squad. I will grant your viewpoint this thought, in that Pep handled the given fact that no situation will ever be static by proactively altering the balance of the team each year in an attempt to stay ahead of the competition, rather than moving reactively to respond to the competition. Any manager should seek to construct rather than adjust, in this same manner, however I consider their management less integral in this case to the state of the squad. Even if Pep remained, the manner in which he altered his team each year tells us that the team would still be in a state of dynamic transition, even without the removal of core members.

On the point of Xavi, I don't consider his 'decline' to be an issue at hand as of yet. The key to his season has been the decisions taken to play him before he has returned to full fitness. Given adequate time to recover, he is no less dominant a midfielder. His management next season must stress the belief that unless a player is fully fit, he should not feature. Thiago would walk into most sides on the planet and must be trusted when Xavi is not fit. Used in this manner, I would have no concerns for Xavi's continued contributions to the strength of the side.

One name you did not address which I consider worthy of mention is Puyol, however again, regardless of who joins, how the team plays will be dependent upon the approach taken to defend from the front. Defence is very much a characteristic of a team and whilst it is vital that a key defender who can be considered part of this core group is brought in - in the case that Pique does not wake up from his stupor - it doesn't drastically affect the path forward unless by some chance you bring in someone so disastrous that he not only lets in goals, he injures everyone in training.

As for the issue of a forward, if Suarez is available, I would by all means grab him. Great forwards are not readily acquired and the few who I would prefer to Suarez if I were a Barcelona fan are not realistic purchases, such as Thomas Mueller.
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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by messixaviesta on Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:27 pm

dost, a top class reply. Enjoyed reading every bit.

It's true that Pep was proactive. In fact he did it at times almost to a fault.

About Xavi I have no doubts about his ability to continue to dominate. The only concern I have raised is that he cannot do this day in day out for 90 minutes as before. He cannot cover as much ground as fast as he used to. As you and kizz have stated Thiago needs to be played more and more and Xavi needs to be preserved for the big occasions and played only as much as best suits his fitness.

Nice points about the defense and attack as well.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by dream departure on Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:52 pm

There was news out of HK today that claimed inside sources revealed an imminent overhaul in the summer. The source said that management has already decided on a black list -- a list of 10 players to let go in the summer, and plans to buy at least 4 players.

It's so over the top I don't know how reliable this is, but seeing this announcement just in from the VP, perhaps there is some truth to it.

http://www.goal.com/en/news/12/spain/2013/04/25/3930705/barcelona-will-sign-four-to-five-players-says-vice-president?source=breakingnews&ICID=HP_BN_2

who would you want on the black list? Twisted Evil

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by eelir on Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:02 pm

Black list:

Alexis - great kid, could have a better career elsewhere. Cant seam to score for us.
Masche -though i like him a lot, but has no place in this team.
Bojan - i think he should return based on his contract right?
Song - if and only if he is not happy with play time. Otherwise i think he is a great sub for Bussi.
Pedro - if really good offer comes by.
Afellay - so sad to see him so unlucky. I had higher hopes for him.
Cuenca - not sure about this one.
Cesc - if we can get what we invested in him. Too inconsistent for my taste. Also had high hopes this will be his great season.
Adriano - one of the players i like a lot. But, we cant really depend on him. And Montoya should get more playing time.

All this list is of course if we can find (better) substitution for the ones on the list by promotion or transferring.

EDIT:

I see my blacklist has 9, so here goes tenth:

Villa - if not happy with playing time!
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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by messixaviesta on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:19 pm

Andres Iniesta on end of an era

End of an era? I think that's harsh. This team has been winning a lot for several years. An era ends when you don't win anything for many years.


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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by alexjanosik on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:22 pm

@dostoevsky wrote:
@messixaviesta wrote:dost, interesting comments. When you say the core of the team doesn't need to be changed there are various ways of looking at it. I would say Pep and Xavi have been very much core of this team. Pep moved last year. Xavi will slowly fade. In that sense to my mind this will be like building a new team. Your point about lack of intensity in training could be true. Somehow the memories of 2007-08 keep coming back. One of the biggest problems then was the training quality.

I can understand that you consider Pep to be part of the core, however I propose that you look at it in this sense. The transition of a playing group will lead to the balance of strengths and weaknesses being altered as the characteristics of the players will never be identical. For a coach however, whilst they will bring their own approach, they are at all times charged with seeking the advantage of their squad and the strengths of the side largely remain the same as in the past. As long as a thoughtful and strong manager is at the helm, the role is one of constant adaptation to the changing circumstances of the squad. I will grant your viewpoint this thought, in that Pep handled the given fact that no situation will ever be static by proactively altering the balance of the team each year in an attempt to stay ahead of the competition, rather than moving reactively to respond to the competition. Any manager should seek to construct rather than adjust, in this same manner, however I consider their management less integral in this case to the state of the squad. Even if Pep remained, the manner in which he altered his team each year tells us that the team would still be in a state of dynamic transition, even without the removal of core members.

On the point of Xavi, I don't consider his 'decline' to be an issue at hand as of yet. The key to his season has been the decisions taken to play him before he has returned to full fitness. Given adequate time to recover, he is no less dominant a midfielder. His management next season must stress the belief that unless a player is fully fit, he should not feature. Thiago would walk into most sides on the planet and must be trusted when Xavi is not fit. Used in this manner, I would have no concerns for Xavi's continued contributions to the strength of the side.

One name you did not address which I consider worthy of mention is Puyol, however again, regardless of who joins, how the team plays will be dependent upon the approach taken to defend from the front. Defence is very much a characteristic of a team and whilst it is vital that a key defender who can be considered part of this core group is brought in - in the case that Pique does not wake up from his stupor - it doesn't drastically affect the path forward unless by some chance you bring in someone so disastrous that he not only lets in goals, he injures everyone in training.

As for the issue of a forward, if Suarez is available, I would by all means grab him. Great forwards are not readily acquired and the few who I would prefer to Suarez if I were a Barcelona fan are not realistic purchases, such as Thomas Mueller.

This,this and more this.For some stupid reason we seem to have tunnel vision when it comes to transfers.We fixate on one player thereby ignoring other great players who might be available for bargain prices.Even if the one player we fixate on is so obviously not the right one.And I see that this has spread in some cases to fans too.
There are many examples.We could have got Ozil for cheap but instead got Fabregas who so doesnt fit our game.We could have gotten Suarez earler but let him go and instead got Sanchez.
Vertonghen was begging us to take him but we didnt buy him.Countless other examples.

Once again the chance has presented itself.We can have Suarez at a much better price than Neymar.But alas,we are fixated on Neymar.Suarez is a better player than Neymar every day of the week and twice on Sunday and will suit us perfectly.But our management wont see that.
On Muller,I like him very much.I had said before the Bayern game that he was a silent assassin and he proved me right.great player but no chance of signing him.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by alexjanosik on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:28 pm

@messixaviesta wrote:Was just reminded of an important point. Whoever the attacker we buy may be he MUST be able to play off the ball. We do not want one more player who only wants the ball to be played to his feet. So if Neymar is the one we are targeting and he sees himself as a Messi wannabe let's think again. Or at least find the right player for the other wing, one who will primarily play off the ball.



Dont agree jd.If runners are all we need,then we have plenty of that. Villa,Sanchez,Tello and Pedro are all players who play more off the ball and are quite good at it.I think that has been our problem.The problem is that Messi always plays on the ball,never off the ball.As a result the others have to sacrifice part of their game and always play off the ball acting as runners/decoys.The elite teams allow Messi to drop deep but dont allw him to turn and run and ofcourse completely cut off his passing lanes.So the other 2 forwards are rendered useless.Exactly what happened in most of our big games this season.

So I dont want primarily a runner as our forward.I want a crack and I want the creative burden to be shared between Messi and that crack.Ofcourse this implies that Messi will have to play more off the ball.But that will only make him a greater and smarter player and we will be much more lethal in attack.So 2 cracks and the third forward plays primarily off the ball.We do that and our froward line becomes lethal again.

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by BarrileteCosmico on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:30 pm

Alex the problem is that we have already paid 10M for Neymar. So he's definitely coming. Unless we bring in both Suarez and Neymar (which would be fine imo).

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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by billy_gr on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:38 pm

Suarez is a maniac... No matter how good footballer he might be we risk paying for him and end up having him sidelined for a season because hi bit Ramos' ass
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Re: What should be our plan forward now?

Post by messixaviesta on Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:43 pm

@alexjanosik wrote:
@messixaviesta wrote:Was just reminded of an important point. Whoever the attacker we buy may be he MUST be able to play off the ball. We do not want one more player who only wants the ball to be played to his feet. So if Neymar is the one we are targeting and he sees himself as a Messi wannabe let's think again. Or at least find the right player for the other wing, one who will primarily play off the ball.



Dont agree jd.If runners are all we need,then we have plenty of that. Villa,Sanchez,Tello and Pedro are all players who play more off the ball and are quite good at it.I think that has been our problem.The problem is that Messi always plays on the ball,never off the ball.As a result the others have to sacrifice part of their game and always play off the ball acting as runners/decoys.The elite teams allow Messi to drop deep but dont allw him to turn and run and ofcourse completely cut off his passing lanes.So the other 2 forwards are rendered useless.Exactly what happened in most of our big games this season.

So I dont want primarily a runner as our forward.I want a crack and I want the creative burden to be shared between Messi and that crack.Ofcourse this implies that Messi will have to play more off the ball.But that will only make him a greater and smarter player and we will be much more lethal in attack.So 2 cracks and the third forward plays primarily off the ball.We do that and our froward line becomes lethal again.

Interesting alex. What I do wonder is why if all these guys are such great runners has our off the ball movement suffered so much. We don't have anyone with the pure knack of being in the right place at the right time ala Muller and Lewandowski. In 2010-11 Villa and Pedro made such a huge difference with off the ball movement. We have not seen that level since then. To some extent you have answered my question with your comments about how Messi plays and how smart teams cut out the connection between him and other forwards. However at times this season and the last I have seen our other forwards so out of place that even Xavi or Iniesta have no chance of finding them with a visionary pass. As I also hinted I don't mind another crack but having seen the last few years there's not one name I will back as a near sure success. Not Suarez. Not Neymar. Not anyone else. Then about your point on Messi having to play a lot more off the ball and sharing duties with another crack. It's hard to comment on that. For years he hasn't had to do anything like that. I can't guarantee that he will react pleasantly if such a situation is indeed created. Whether we buy Neymar or anyone else I think we will insist he stay in Messi's shadow as we it is rumoured did with Villa.

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