How will we accomodate a CF?

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How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by BarrileteCosmico on Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:40 pm

There are increasing rumors that Martino has moved from wanting a 'Larsson' to wanting a proper WC 9 in the mold of Lewandowski. While I support getting a part-time player that knows his usefulness to the team is limited to a few games per season, I'm not buying into purchasing a star for the role simply because I don't see how we can accomodate him and the rest of our players.

I can see 3 options:

1) Purchase a 9 and stick Messi on the right, keep everything else as is. Obviously the huge disadvantage is that Messi will not be as involved in the play and doesn't have the work rate for the position.

2) Play 4-3-3 with Messi in the Iniesta role. This would accommodate all the forwards but it would create a large number of playing time problems for our stars in Iniesta, Messi and Cesc. Not to mention that as inconsistent as Iniesta's pressing has been for this calendar year, Messi would still be a drop in pressing for the middle. Which could be solved by:

3) 4-2-3-1 the main variation form the second point being that instead of playing Messi as the lead this would feature a double pivot. An idea that has been discussed at length before here and almost everyone disapproves of.

So yeah in conclusion I think it would be extremely foolish to purchase a star as a CF.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by eelir on Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:51 pm

I agree completely. The best thing would be if we have brought back Eto'o with him knowing he cant start all the games. Drogba is another option, but just feels weird and un-natural seeing him in Barca shirt.
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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:53 pm

Dont see how any of those 3 are good options. You named the negatives and obviously there would be some positives to counter all 3, but for me the negative so tremendously outweigh the positives.

Why would we think of buying a starting calibre 9 when

A. Alexis is having a very good season
B. Who the heck is good enough to start as a 9 for us while being readily available?

Just no, it makes no sense.

Get a 9 who can come from the bench, start sometimes and brings hard work, running in behind, some ability to get on the end of crosses and has the desire to win but the unselfishness to play a role.

Much easier to acquire and much more of a need in my opinion.

Though, it still bothers me how we are looking at strikers when we need a defender, goalie and midfielder (maybe in that order) much more.
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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by BarrileteCosmico on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:10 am

In fairness the papers might talk more about a 9 than anything else because they sell more copies than defenders or role players. I remember when we signed Adriano it was completely out of the blue and no one had reported anything similar to it, I wouldn't put it past Rossell to pull something similar again.

Also according to numerous sources Ter Stegen is all but signed. I will be very surprised if he does not come by summer.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:14 am

Sure, makes sense. No media expert, but I would think Barca's pursuit of a CB would sell though.

At this point you could link Barca with any old scrub and there would be some intrest.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by Donuts on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:18 am

---------------------Valdes
-----------Bartra---------Pique-----Adriano
---------------------Buscuit
Dani Alves----Xavi-------------Iniesta
---------------------Messi
-------------New CF---------Neymar

the problem with this is our Right side will be our weakness as Dani Alves would have too much on his plate, having to defend and attack all game and having an old Xavi who is limited on his speed and stamina wont help him.

Another problem is Pedro / Sanchez / Tello / Cuenca / Deulofeu / Afellay / Bojan
all of these and more young players are still contracted to Barcelona, if we ever want to buy a new forward we'd have to sell 5/7 of those guys.
I am okay with keeping Sanchez and taking my chances with Deulofeu personally but I don't see us selling Pedro and it complicates things.

And another problem is Cesc, he just does not fit in, other then in our best players positions (Iniesta/Messi) if he didn't demand for more game time then yeah things would be okay but that is not the case, I would say sell him and buy a more versatile centermid who can dictate tempo and also defend, I.E: Thiago, Gündoğan, maybe that kid from Atletico that we seem to be linked to.

Lastly, Mascherano he needs to be sold. I love the guys spirit but he is killing our linkup plays, his longballs are a disgrace.


The forward we buy has to have aerial threat, preferably over 6 feet tall but if he has Puyol or Falcao's genes I'm okay with that, other then aerial threat he has to be able to dribble/pass/finish and maybe be able to play on wings.

To sum it all up
Buy a new Keeper
Sell Mascherano, get good replacement
Sell Cesc, get young more controlling CM
Buy new keeper
Sell 5/7 unused forwards
Buy new incredible almost impossible to find CF that wont mind sitting in the bench for half the season.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by futbol on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:27 am

Playing like we did in 09 / 10 of course with Messi and Ibra. Messi playing behind the striker and leaving the right side to Alves mostly (did that in Barca-Milan 4-0 last year as well, the only convincing CL performance all season had a striker playing infront of Messi). Against teams with strong wingers (Real Madrid and Bayern specific tactics) just put Messi on the right. He doesn't even have to track back (although he would work harder in those specific games). No fullback in the world ventures forward and leaves Messi alone. His presense alone is defensive contribution enough. Last Clasico Real Madrid attacked from the left only 24 % of the time and 43 % from the right side. Don't remember ANYTHING Marcelo did offensively.

An elite CF would add a lot. More space for Messi between the lines, hold up play, defensive help at set pieces, offensive threat in the air ...

I disagree with Alexis' form. He's burrying most of his chances so far but overall he is still playing like shit, breaking up attacks, shit touch, shit awareness and can't dribble his man to save his life. An elite CF would add a lot more.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by Winter is Coming on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:36 am

Well Messi was great on the wings in Pep first season, but perhaps Martino can give him a role still in the middle behind the CF? Doesn't Messi play behind Higuain (when they both play for Arg)? With Neymar/Sanchez/Pedro on wings. Perhaps something like this

VV
Alves - Pique - Masch - Alba
Busi - Iniesta/Fab
Messi/Fab
Pedro/Sanchez - CF - Neymar

This gives more rest to Xavi and I'm sure we can get Messi back in to striker roles in some games giving the CF rest.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:41 am

A. Messi is just going to cry again on the wings and tell the coach "I can see I aint important anymore so...."

B. Ibra as a reference point of a 9 working?

C. No true about fullbacks not leaving Messi alone. Your talking about one player in one game. I have seen more than enough Madrid games to see what happens when a star player doesnt bother chasing back.
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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by futbol on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:47 am

@The Franchise wrote:A. Messi is just going to cry again on the wings and tell the coach "I can see I aint important anymore so...."

B. Ibra as a reference point of a 9 working?

C. No true about fullbacks not leaving Messi alone. Your talking about one player in one game. I have seen more than enough Madrid games to see what happens when a star player doesnt bother chasing back.
A. Read again. He won't play on the wings. Only in a few games per year.

B. The point was about the formation, not about Ibra.

Regardless, Ibra didn't work because he is a false 9 like Messi who needs freedom to drop deep and playmake. He is not a pure CF. Someone like Lewandowski would work.

C. Messi is not Ronaldo. With Ronaldo you have to cut out his service, that's well known. You can risk leaving Ronaldo alone. With Messi you have to cut out Messi. No one is going to leave him all alone on the wing unless they want to concede immediately.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:50 am

And he "didnt play on the wing" when Ibra was there and he still complained so it makes no difference.

Can you elaborate on cutting out Cristiano's service?

Why is leaving Cristiano free so much less dangerous than Messi?
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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by futbol on Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:45 am

The initial formation was Ibra in the middle and Messi on the wing. Messi complained and then he got moved to center behind Ibra. After that he didn't complain anymore. Messi won't complain playing behind a striker 95 % of the time and on the wing in specific games 5 % of the time.

For starters, leaving Cristiano free is something that no one does. When Bayern played Madrid, Lahm didn't do anything offensively because he stayed with Ronaldo all the time. He only started moving forward after Mourinho had introduced Marcelo to play on the LW to secure the 1-1 and moved Ronaldo to the right wing. From that moment on Lahm ventured forward and created the 2nd goal which included the Coentrao f*ckup. Which just shows how overrated a concept it is to assume that playing a defensive player on paper will automatically lead to more defensive security in reality.

But regardless of that, the main difference between Messi on the wing and Ronaldo on the wing lies in the setups of their respective teams. Madrid under Mourinho had less possession than their opponents in almost all big games and didn't recover the ball high up the pitch like Barcelona. They sat in a deeper block and counterattacked. A system like that requires a lot more workrate from the wingers because they are not on the ball for > 50 % of the time which means they are on the backfoot a lot more and have to defend a lot more which means their fullbacks are under a lot more pressure. If Ronaldo doesn't help defensively in such a system it can be a problem (although it didn't even happen THAT often). Paying less attention to Ronaldo and paying more attention to Xabi and Özil instead to prevent them from initiating meaningful counterattacks doesn't hurt against such a system. Ronaldo's danger starts in and around the box. Not in the transitional phase after recovering the ball.

Messi playing on the wing for Barca isn't the same. We average like what - 70 % possession? - and we still play a high line and recover the ball quickly. We can get Messi on the ball a lot more and a lot higher up the pitch and unlike Ronaldo Messi's danger starts immediately when receiving the ball, not in the box.

These are little details anyway. We have won a sixtuple with Messi on the wing and you don't need berzerk-like headless chicken runs from Dirk Kuyt or Ji-Sung Park to be defensively secure.

Reading the Clasico thread you were moaning before the game about Messi on RW because of defensive worries. In practice it wasn't like that at all. Quite the opposite. The most offensive fullback in the world didn't do a single attacking move. Won't be different against any other team. Just because Messi is moved 20 yards to the right won't make other teams ignore him.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by Donuts on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:03 am

No one has mentioned that Messi played on the RW was only really and truly seen when he just came back from injury he hasn't really been tested there fully fit.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by futbol on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:11 am

@Donuts wrote:No one has mentioned that Messi played on the RW was only really and truly seen when he just came back from injury he hasn't really been tested there fully fit.
Exactly. Once fully fit he'll have even more energy to work defensively and be a threat offensively.

I mean this discussion is pointless anyway. Tata has already proven that he will put Messi on the wing if necessary. So the question shouldn't be "Messi on the wing or not" but "would an elite CF add more than Fabregas as false 9". And the answer to that is quite clear to me. Laughing

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:14 am

OK perhaps so, I dont know that for a fact but it seems reasonable. But, playing with a striker in front of him naturally means less goalscoring and more passing...something I dont think Messi wants to do either by the way. But anyway, let us move on from this point because its all speculation about his feelings, something we cant really know for sure.

But what I do know and what doesnt seem reasonable is leaving the entire wing to Dani Alves. There are so many issues with making these changes I can continue to bring new one after new. Giving the entire flank to Alves is no longer ideally, he doesnt overlap anymore, enough fans complain about this (having the whole wing by himself) already.

Its not true that players dont leave Cristiano free, I could show you many goals/chances Madrid have allowed because their flank is unguarded.

Here, just last game



Skip to the 2 minute mark and see the flank overloaded and a midfielder (not sure who that is for Madrid) have to come over late and cant stop the cross. Meanwhile, Cristiano is faffing around in the middle doing I dont know what.

Coming on to your other paragraph. We dont win the ball high up the pitch in the big games either at this point. Maybe that changes, but to this point, we dont do that on a consistent basis at all. And on top of that, we dont average 70% possession against the big teams, that number drops and we have to do more traditional defending. Had to against Bayern, had to against PSG, had to vs Madrid and I am sure that will be a trend to continue because we dont maintain the same desire or ability to completely dominate that area like other years.

Using the sextuple as proof of what is possible is superfical, for 2 reasons.

1. The biggest games of those times, Messi has played in the middle, not the wing. Both CL finals and countless big CL games.

2. Todays Messi is not the sixtuple Messi. His desire to do the dirty things is gone.

Messi was incredibly easy to love then, because he still had innocence. When he lost the ball, it upset him and he ran to win it back if he could. Today's Messi doesnt have that, he doesnt do that ugly stuff.

Yes, before the classico I was moaning about Messi on the wing because of defence. But that wasnt the only reason either, I was also moaning because it meant putting Cesc in the team and use losing depth and width. Anyway, yes I was moaning and as I already said, that was one single game. Not exactly proof of its justification. Especially against Madrid, a team who looked to play directly and transition fast, therefore bypassing the need to use Marcelo in a overlapping or generally offensive fashion.

Not every team plays this way, some teams will try to value the ball more and have more patience in their attacks when they see fit.

Look at Madrid's chances



Nearly all direct, before getting any fullback involved. It wasnt Messi that kept Marcelo back, it was the style they played.

The times they didnt attack directly, Marcelo was involved. Look at 6:51. He is totally free, Messi nowhere in the picture and his crosses gives a chance to Benzema.

You can see after this some other situations, Marcelo is indeed forward. But this isnt really relevant to prove either point because Madrid are chasing the game at this point (so it doesnt prove Marcelo is willing to attack even if Messi is there) and also Alexis is in on the wing anyway at this point.


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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:15 am

@futbol wrote:
@Donuts wrote:No one has mentioned that Messi played on the RW was only really and truly seen when he just came back from injury he hasn't really been tested there fully fit.
Exactly. Once fully fit he'll have even more energy to work defensively and be a threat offensively.

I mean this discussion is pointless anyway. Tata has already proven that he will put Messi on the wing if necessary. So the question shouldn't be "Messi on the wing or not" but "would an elite CF add more than Fabregas as false 9". And the answer to that is quite clear to me. Laughing
No, that isnt the question at all.

Because Messi has not been moved to the RW full time and Cesc to false 9 full time. It happened for 70 minutes.
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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by futbol on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:27 am

Okay, let's do it the other way around. I think it will be simpler than me writing another wall of text (which I don't like to do especially at 3:30 am Laughing). Do you believe that:

---------Pique-------Masch----------
---------------------------------Alba
--------------Busquets---------------
---Alves------------------------------
------------Xavi----------------------
-----------------------Iniesta---------
----------Messi-----------------------
-----------------CF------------Neymar

(basically AC Milan 4-0 formation but with Neymar instead of Pedro and a better CF than a past his prime Villa) will work very well against 90 % of the teams we face in a season (all La Liga teams except Real Madrid and all CL group stage opponents and all Copa del Rey opponents except Real Madrid)?

If we can find some consensus in this point, we can skip to the next one I'm going to make.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:42 am

Do I think it will work against 90% of the teams?

Yes I do.

Do I think it has a bigger possibility of getting exposed against certain teams than our usual formation.

Yes I also do.

Best I can do honestly.
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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by futbol on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:56 am

@The Franchise wrote:Do I think it will work against 90% of the teams?

Yes I do.
Okay. This is good. The next question would be. Do you then also think it would be possible to play:

--------------Pique------Masche---------------
--Alves------------------------------------Alba
------------------Busquets--------------------
-----------Xavi--------------------------------
------------------------------Iniesta-----------
-----------------------------------------------
---Messi------------CF-----------------Neymar

when not in possession against those very few "certain opponents" (which will only be like 10 % of the games we play in a season) and to convince Messi to do a bit more defending than usual as he recently did against Real Madrid in those few games against those "certain teams" without him getting mad? And don't you also believe that this is a far better, more unpredictable formation than having Messi being crowded out in the middle and Alexis / Pedro doing nothing of note on the right or possibly even Fabregas being invisible as false 9?

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by Donuts on Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:04 am

I don't know where the rumor started that Messi doesn't defend for the team..
He does maybe not in Sanchez or Pedro's level but he does.
The main defensive issue I have with the team is not with Messi but mostly with Xavi, as his age restricts him from doing it let alone his speed lets him down.

once we get a younger replacement in Xavi's position I believe Messi would be able to play RW without having to defend in extremes.

The reason Neymar doesn't get criticized for "not defending" is because he has a healthy Iniesta tracking back and forth or a rested Cesc, Messi's side has a tired old Xavi who goes useless defensively after minute 55.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:17 am

@futbol wrote:
@The Franchise wrote:Do I think it will work against 90% of the teams?

Yes I do.
Okay. This is good. The next question would be. Do you then also think it would be possible to play:

--------------Pique------Masche---------------
--Alves------------------------------------Alba
------------------Busquets--------------------
-----------Xavi--------------------------------
------------------------------Iniesta-----------
-----------------------------------------------
---Messi------------CF-----------------Neymar

when not in possession against those very few "certain opponents" (which will only be like 10 % of the games we play in a season) and to convince Messi to do a bit more defending than usual as he recently did against Real Madrid in those few games against those "certain teams" without him getting mad? And don't you also believe that this is a far better, more unpredictable formation than having Messi being crowded out in the middle and Alexis / Pedro doing nothing of note on the right or possibly even Fabregas being invisible as false 9?
I cant say its impossible, but I dont trust it. I dont trust Messi to consistently defend the wing going backwards and I dont believe the theory that leftbacks are going to stay at back because its Messi. Unless they are playing anti football/direct counters/specifically employ a defensive leftback against him.

I dont know if he will get mad or not, thats kind of secondary to tactics, I only said that because its one of a few things (including tactics) which bug me about it.

Do I think its more unpredictable in attack? In certain situations, yes, it could be more unpredictable. No arguement there.

But considering all the factors we have discussed here, I still dont see the desire but especially not the need to sign some superstar striker in the mold of Lewandowski for example. We could have that same option with less marquee name.

I think there difference we have here is you seem to be advocating a full switch over, which means playing most games like this and signing a great 9. Whereas, I just want the option within the squad to select from when the time calls for it.


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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:19 am

@Donuts wrote:I don't know where the rumor started that Messi doesn't defend for the team..
He does maybe not in Sanchez or Pedro's level but he does.
The main defensive issue I have with the team is not with Messi but mostly with Xavi, as his age restricts him from doing it let alone his speed lets him down.

once we get a younger replacement in Xavi's position I believe Messi would be able to play RW without having to defend in extremes.

The reason Neymar doesn't get criticized for "not defending" is because he has a healthy Iniesta tracking back and forth or a rested Cesc, Messi's side has a tired old Xavi who goes useless defensively after minute 55.
The remor started when my eyes was working. Its no remor, its a fact.

I dont understand how you cant clearly the see the ball not 10m from Messi and he stands there looking, that shit happens. What does Xavi age got to do with Messi on the wing? Xavi shouldnt have to be covering over to help on the leftback, thats not just job.
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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by Donuts on Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:04 am

each CM in our team helps the wings in defence, Iniesta backs up Adriano and Neymar, Xavi is supposed to help Dani Alves and RW
Xavi's age is a reason why he cannot press the way he used to, defensively he is a bigger liability then Messi and company.

It is a rumor because whenever Messi has played RW he does track back, he does cover the LB.
In false 9 he doesn't defend as much that much I agree but he damn well carries the team fully offensively and people still want more?
Cesc at false 9 also doesn't defend it's an instruction by Tata or whomever.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by The Franchise on Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:48 pm

Yeah, no.

They cant provide some assistance, but their zone is the middle. Xavi gives his best effort, thats all I can ask for, cant say the same about Messi.

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Re: How will we accomodate a CF?

Post by Mr Nick09 on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:26 pm

my two cents, and you mentioned it, it's all about Messi. Does Messi want to play wide? Does Messi want to see the numbers of goals he has drop even more?

At the end of the day, this is not so much a tactical question but it's about Ego. You have the best player in the world in a position to he made his own and your coach wants to move him out of that position permanently?

The risk is so massive that i wonder why Tata is even trying this. Neymar is already going to steal some of the limelight away from Messi and to top it all another CF as well will push Messi aside? Laughing

I think you guys need a veteran CF to do the job spontaneously when needed. Maybe a guy like Mandzukic that might be replaced by Lewandowski next season.

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