Tiki Taka Tackled??
Football is a faster version of Chess. You put your players on the field and implement a strategy at a supersonic pace, if you compare it to chess. Any chess player is aware of a long list of moves named after players. Similarly Tiki Taka is recognized as a trademark of Barcelona fc’s style of play.
Tiki taka had paid Barcelona enough, enough to lift every possible cup of the planet, some even more than once, twice, thrice and more. Spanish national team too adopted it, thanks to many Barca players in the squad and achieved dividends what no one had dreamt of, in such a short time of 4 years, 2 Euros and and a WC. No doubt, both the teams remain under discussion by football pundits for best title of best ever and some even compare these 2 for the crown. But for the first time in tiki taka, the fault lines are emerging and repairing it is becoming tougher by each passing week. Reason is not tough to guess. More recently Barcelona had suffered 2 defeats against big clubs. The moments when they lost to teams in champions League in 2 of the previous 3 seasons, were against Inter and Chelsea. This time they have recently lost to their biggest rivals with no mercy. These recent defeats have produced ugly sketch and now every corner is to be scrutinized.
Past year, when they lost to the Blues, the defeat saw heavy attack on goal by them and a rare miss of penalty by FIFA player of the year. Same was the story at Nou Camp in 2010, again Champions League SF, when Jose Maurenio parked a bus, and he jokingly corrected the vehicle to an aero plane, in front of their goal and denied Catalan side moving into the final. But these 2 defeats reflect some different story altogether. The side that has a reputation of constantly teasing the opposition by attacks was far too silent. No magic of Iniesta or Xavi seems to have worked and our talisman, Messi was questionably silent!! They were troubled by minnows like Grenada this weekend that compelled them for a victory where they scored first, saved their net for 50 minutes, before conceding 2.
Stand in Coach Jordi Roura was understandably furious and pretty candid in confession of the strategic failure. Surely Tito Vilanova, undergoing treatment in USA might have gone on extra medication that night.
Now come to some crude statistics of the match against AC Milan. Barcelona possessed 65 percent of the ball, but Allegri thought differently. You can have more possession if u like, we will not get frustrated, and the best is reserved for us seemed to be his line. Messi was shouting for ball and Barca can mature only 2 clear moves, cut aptly by experienced Abbiati. And things got worse at Nou camp where Real enjoyed fair amount of possession. The man common in losses to Inter in 2010 and now with Real is the last man to be loved by Barca fans, Maurinio, and it cuts deeper.
Both Milan and Real adopted the same strategy, soak up the pressure of midfield and fierce attack line and look for counter attacks. Simply put 4 defenders in line around the penalty box. That is where the move ends and always ensures a face to throw the pressure out. Some others have tried it in the past but few got desired result like unfancy Celtics this year. But both AC and RM have won European top honors on more occasions than others and applied it up to the perfection.
Come to defense. Puyol is losing his powers. Pique’s foul allowed Ronaldo the penalty and he also fails to jump high enough and allowed Raphael Varane the free goal bound header. Dani Alves is acting as an attacking defender, the strangely which is not working, partly due to non supporting right flank.
Though they still can fight for 2 cups but 1 seems too far. No doubt, they can surely take a trophy to celebrate this summer, but their fans around the world demands more. Had they been Valencia or Lazio, it was OK but for the best team in the world carries different benchmark. Alarm bell is ticking and certainly FC Barcelona needs a serious introspection.