Watching the fluidity of movement and interpassing between the players of Barcelona showed up just how much of a gap there is between the best club side in Europe and the rest. They play football in a different way to everyone else. Their strength is bewildering passing and movement which leaves the opposition chasing shadows. What is also remarkable is their ability to regain possession by hunting in packs and closing down the options for the player with the ball. They appear to have at least two more players on the pitch.
Bill Nicholson’s double winning Spurs team in the ’60’s introduced the pass and move concept into the English game. Commentators at the time said they looked like they had an extra player. Barcelona have taken that idea to a much higher level. The whole club, from their youngest junior teams to their elite squad play the same way. Training is all about possession and finding the right pass. Lots of 2 v 1 and 3 v 2 until they achieve this almost telepathic understanding with each other. The moments where a pass is misplaced are remarkable for their scarcity.
Jose Mourinho devised a very negative defensive tactic to stifle them last year. It was effective but horrible. It is also high risk because Barcelona are so good they will make chances and if they score early in the game, the plan is scuppered.
Barcelona FC is also owned by 190000 fans unlike Premiership clubs owned by dodgy businessmen, human rights abusers, money launderers and oligarchs. Here’s hoping they set an example both on and off the field.