Ric. Hopefully this article will further highlight JA's folly in the GC game against the USA (playing a formation they had no business playing)and we can put it to rest once and for all. Everytime I think the game was put in context and put to bed(it was primarily the formation) you repackage it and put yet another spin on it to whatever serves your purpose at the moment.
FC Barcelona: From current predictability to unpredictable possibilities. by Jose A. on Aug 20, 2011 1:23 PM CEST in Editorials
...Barcelona have achieved their current run of success playing a standard 4-3-3 formation that produces fluid football, excellent passing lanes, and retention of the ball. The opinion is really divided on whether this is the ideal formation Barcelona should play.
Many would argue that Barcelona have only been able to achieve their current style of play in a formation of this nature because it creates space on the field and this causes Barcelona's current game to thrive... However, this formation does have it's drawbacks in that it makes Barcelona's game and their lineup very predictable. When something is predictable it is very easy to find a tactic to counter it. Teams such as Inter Milan and Real Madrid have exposed Barcelona's vulnerabilities to counter-attacks in this formation as well as used a defensive approach to render it ineffective. The 4-3-3 relies heavily on defensive backs to join the attack and pressure the enemy with overwhelming numbers to achieve a breakthrough. When opposing teams defend deep, if they can regain possession and send a long ball into the spaces left by the defensive backs, they find that they can easily get into 3 on 2 or even 1-on-1 situations with Barcelona's central defenders. This usually leads to situations that Barcelona would like to avoid. In the recent Clasico's this tactic proved effective for Madrid's initial goal when Benzema moved into the gap left by Adriano to feed Mesut Ozil the pass to score the opener. What was also plain to see was how Barcelona suffered in the midfield when their backs could not support the attackers due to being pressed into defensive duties. Therefore without support Guardiola was forced to do something which he has done in the past to win matches based on the situation at hand, he changed formation. But he could only due this because of the depth added to his squad by Fabregas, Adriano, and Keita. With the addition of Mascherano, Adriano, Fabregas, Alexis, Afellay, and Thiago, Guardiola now has the flexibility to change the shape of the squad to meet the on-field challenges.