Profile picture
Peter C (최현규) @lama657
, 78 tweets, 15 min read Read on Twitter
[Post-Match Thread 9/3] #Spursvbarca #UCL

I understand EV-Barça is pretty divisive among the fanbase like the man himself, and most people find it odd that I find them endearing. In the last year or so, this particular iteration of Barça and especially that of 17/18
has made me a student of the game in more ways than one. I am much better off for this epiphany; in the past, my opinions were usually wrong and I now have found more value in trying to understand why professionals don’t always do it the way we expect them to. The other half is
partially because I don’t wish upon any coach to inherit the state of the team Lucho left behind with a few more leaving days before the new season (this is all within context of Barça of course; any coach would find it an honor to coach this team).
Someone said best it but a coach is on the sidelines because he gets it right 9 times out of 10, and we are on twitter because it takes the best of us to be right 1 times out of 10. I always maintain that fans will only see a match and coach will plan for the entire season;
this dissonance will always exist. Yet opinions drawn in haste will only blind you from seeing value in why Barça is this way and why they play the way they do.
Looking back at half the drivel I wrote a year ago, it’s embarrassing to say the least. For now, emotion takes a back seat and it’s all about understanding and supporting the team (but perhaps this match can better explain why because yesterday we were treated to all three).
I had predicted three days ago that this match had a chance to be an exciting goal fest as the match proved to be, so at least my acumen counts for something despite how some would attribute it to luck or pure insanity.
I also said we would be even better without Dembele starting, though his replacement turned out to be little Arthur and not King Arturo.
Arthur slotted in the left side of the midfield with Rakitic on the opposite end and Busquets holding the pivote. Not much else was of note except that Coutinho slotted into Dembele’s position and in that respect we could have expected some sense of consistency,
which I believe is the number 1 prerequisite to start for Barça.

Barça started off more aggressively than usual and buzzed about. The newcomer Lenglet, who after that unfortunate red card, enjoyed the size of the pitch by spraying some great vertical/diagonal balls to FBs.
It is still too early to say, but as a ball-playing left footed CB who in that aspect above is better than Umtiti (though he is obviously the better player), Lenglet was generally a net positive for me. The anticipation, teamwork, passing range is all there, although he tends
to get bullied easily and on that play prior to the deflected goal, he could have done better in terms of reading the situation and communicating to his back four. However, considering the occasion and the caliber of the opponent, he was one of our better players of the night.
There was one player who took a while to get involved and there was a clever tactical change between Arthur’s and Rakitic’ position early on to solve this very issue; as the latter moved to the left side, he was able to avoid the positional superiority and physicality that Spurs
briefly had on that side.

Arthur who is young and full of stamina could deal with it as Rakitic was afforded more time and space to grow into the game considering his legs were probably very fatigued as of that point.
Then in the 28th min came an Ivan Rocketic classic- a long range golazo in off the post at a crucial time. He was clearly tired and below his standards up to that point,
but became more of an influence after that goal (although he couldn’t cover ground like he used to a few weeks ago). He should sit the next game out.
Once that rocket went in, they got things under control and this shift became a little more natural and they both reverted to initial positions at times, with less of the setbacks present in the very opening stages of the game.
These are just little coaching cues and tactical nuggets that tend to go under the radar, even though they are important in the sense that it triggers a butterfly effect of increased possession and chances created.
In terms of another player who most likely went under the radar, Luis Suarez had a great game despite not getting on the scoresheet. He was very effective today in all aspects besides scoring and absolutely ran himself to the ground for his team.
He has improved greatly since he hit rock bottom at Gamper a month ago. That counts for something since his role is still important even if many have written him off. Now, he doesn't need to dribble like he used to in the past. That's just wishful thinking now.
Is he back to peak-Luis standards? No, but it's much better than the cries of the apocalypse and doom. The performances corroborate this. My hope is he maintains at least this level until crunch time.
Obviously the beard is gone but he plays and looks like a younger Luis these days (though in all honesty that was quite a different beast); he has much room to improve as does anyone now really.
Even Messi and Busquets had that off-match against Leganes and that intermediate rest proved to be vital today; rotation is also working.
On the topic of Sergio Busquets, after Messi he’ll be the one I miss most. 100% passing stats today and I didn’t really need Opta to tell me that since he didn’t put a foot wrong today.
Make no mistake though, his entire game was 100% even considering the fact that he probably played through the minor injury/scuffle for most of the game.
Coutinho in my opinion had a game of two halves; brilliant in the first for his involvement in the first two goals and general attacking play but in the second half he was less visible when he began to get bullied and outmuscled by much more physical opposition.
In general though, another net positive today and I didn’t miss Dembele in his usual position.
[Arthur Focus]
Now back to our youngest midfielder, let me make a bold prediction based on what I have seen so far, and it echoes much of what other people say- people who are much more qualified to talk about the game than I am.
I predict Arthur will be a deep lying 4 when he really gets integrated into our squad. If he bangs beyond this match, we have a near-guaranteed decade on our hands. Most of our regulars will be done in 2-3 years max; age catches up to everyone, even the very best.
Not to sound cliche, he has the “pausa” in spades; he knows when he has time on the ball and when he needs to pass it the first time. Questions remain whether he can “pirouette” but I jest.
As of yet however, there are still weaknesses in his game simply because he hasn’t developed yet, or because he hasn’t acclimated to our current “playbook” yet. Right now, his job needs to be less about creativity/offense (because I don’t think this is his forte,
despite popular opinion), and more about control and suffocating the opponent and being in sync with Busquets and Rakitic, and to a lesser extent, Vidal.
With that said, when Busquets is out, I’d like to see an Arthur Rakitic Vidal midfield, or when Rakitic is out, an Arthur Busquets Vidal midfield would be interesting to experiment with in my opinion.
As for the question I’ve avoided until now, “Is he a Xavi?” Well no because no one is Xavi. Even Xavi wasn’t Xavi all his career (at least not until that period between 2005-2007 when the most important footballing metamorphosis happened).
Yet, the story of Xavi is a great parallel to Arthur’s potential. It was during WC 2002 when I first started to watch him closely and then he still resembled the common remarks of “water-carrier.” A slight digression but Lucho played striker then and South Korea knocked out Spain
courtesy of a gift from a 20 year old Joaquin.

Then Xavi won La Liga player of the year in 2005 and with the aid of Aragones’ coaching in the Spanish national team of 2007, he was groomed and primed for Pep to unleash and revolutionize the popular game.
Arthur arrives here very young in a decade of Barça on the back of an unprecedented magnitude of success; his trajectory will be well documented if he bangs, and what a start today against a well-managed European side.
It's very interesting to see outside players who jump in right away and get settled- to watch their career and trajectories evolve (Dani Alves for one). Even Rakitic who is basically a staple in EV-Barça wasn't this Rakitic when he first stepped into Lucho-Barça and Sevilla prior
(though he was still in the discussion of top La Liga midfielders back then). In this sense, most great players I find are incredibly versatile. Busquets is probably the only one who has license to dig one hole and that hole only since he is undisputedly the best at it.

As for players who are antithetical to the above dynamic, one needs to look no further than our RB (and WF) position:
A friendly caveat in advance because a world-class player can have trouble fitting in here, but just because he can’t fit in at Barça does not mean he is not world-class anymore. Our football is special but it is not the only brand of football; be proud without being arrogant.
First things first, Semedo had a net-positive impact on the game. He deserves much credit for keeping Son in check and did fine with individual duels (which resulted in preventing counters by himself), at least to my expectations. He could have done better on the first goal,
but he isn’t Sergi and Sergi isn’t Semedo. Hot and cold but net warm today.
The bad: Semedo is too quick when he has time and too slow when he doesn’t have time, dribbles when he should pass and passes when he should dribble- basically he needs to improve in space
and in creating space.

When Rakitic covers for Messi on the right side, Messi doesn’t trust Semedo so in essence it becomes a 2 man attack on the right when it could be 3.
If he wants to displace Sergi in the starting XI, he needs to upgrade this “software” side of his football. Fantastic hardware but second-rate Windows XP software. At a certain level, and certainly in Barça,
we have a habit of valuing the software side of things, regardless of the player’s physicality.
It's pretty evident when buying outside players. Some players just have it and have no problem settling in to the coach's frame while others who are fantastic individuals no doubt…
cannot seem to despite all the minutes they get. Although, patience as I always preach. There is time and I expect and hope for it to click for him as well, just like it happened with Dani (although he did it much quicker).
In general I think the defensive lapses happen from our sudden transition from 442/4231 to strict 433; the defense is more burdened then what they were used to last season; it removes that cushion the back four used to have, and exacerbates any lapses in individual concentration.
Add to that our RB situation right now and CB’s injuries and form and it’s the recipe for the perfect storm. With that said, it’s not as disastrous as it could have been. Perhaps that should count for something.
Specfically, regarding second-half Spurs, they did look more dangerous compared to a measly one lone shot in the first half, but to me, looking dangerous is not the same as actually being dangerous. As I said, they had 1 shot on goal in the first half,
and it wasn't that much better in the second even though the numbers may indicate otherwise. Kane's goal came from a string of two individual errors and Lamela's was a lucky deflection that Mats had already attended to had it not been for bad luck.
Also will go unnoticed is Valverde’s lineup selection and managing in game-including the subs. I felt he read the game very well.
Lineups have been addressed in the very beginning so I’ll jump to substitutions:

Subs: Rafinha -> Coutinho (83”), Arthur -> Vidal (87”), Busi -> Verma (90”)
It doesn’t matter what the majority cries out for. Busi played far too long injured, Arthur was visibly tired despite his immense CL debut, and Rakitic was the only one who could barely muster a press-sprint at the end. Staff the best with what they could.
It’s not like the staff is blind to players panting on the field. And no he's not having an affair with Rakitic's nanny and no Rakitic does not have coach's nudes. If that was punishment for Bilbao, I’m okay with that- though you have to be crazy to believe that story.
I realize you won't be satisfied with this answer but to a coach it's not as simple as "subbing in profile XYZ" because in the case of many subs, this is sometimes the case, but we do play a particular way and having players play the playbook that they've memorized by heart,
even at 20% physicality, who could do just about to hold on (again, in my opinion) was no more or less of a risk than our "late" subs. In fact EV's subs show he thought in similar ways like we did, but often times there are other priorities and overlooked things.
If you’re familiar with this rather interesting 75- 85th minute dynamic you know a lot can change because the chance for individual errors skyrockets due to not everyone being in sync, precisely because of late subs. Pressing and line movement can quickly become disoriented
and unorganized and if it’s a matter of choosing between the lesser of two evils, it’s better to have a slow coordinated press than one quick player running like a headless chicken and three players panting about; remember players press not individuals!
Also, many games are won and lost in this part of the game. Changing up too much too abruptly could have negatively influenced whatever control we had left in that stage of the game. If you remember Arda Turan and El Clasicos you bloody well know what I am talking about.
Subs are not some magic pill that works every single time. It’s why they’re subs in the first place. Also, if the other motive for subs is to give players rest, just how honestly worthy is that extra 7 minutes to a starter. Even basic research is unsure of this effect.
Of course, subs in the 45 min to 60 min mark are a totally different ball game and our coaching staff has dealt with that as well. Today was not a game that required that type of early sub, had you read the game well.
In other words, there is no obvious choice considering how the game was being played at that stage; not to repeat myself again, looking dangerous is not the same as actually being dangerous.
As I said, they had 1 shot on goal in the first half, and it wasn't that much better in the second even though the numbers may indicate otherwise.
Our depleted midfield was even fine on their aerial corners with Toby A. and others towering over them only to put in weak-effort headers. Basically, it was just good enough, and at that stage, you take that with grace.
And in this context, perfectly warranted subs, if not just to waste time. Of course, this is all just my opinion, but don’t say I didn’t back it up.
People get way too irate when a usually consistent performer like Rakitic has a lackluster performance, but it's crucial we maintain him in top shape. Not all CMs are vis a vis because they're called CMs. Vidal, Arthur, Raki, Busi, etc., are all different players
and are all useful in their own ways. Some more important than others for the specific team coach wants to play.
“So why did he start again today?” everyone questioned. This is a silly question because it presumes that professional staff making a living out of watching these players cannot notice the things we can see behind our computers;
I guarantee if we can see he is tired, the coaching staff can smell it a month before we even get a whiff of it. It’s arrogant and it’s always more likely than we are in the dark compared to them.
So it’s not only about fitness but a player’s importance to team, all within reason of course. Speficially, the alternative would have been an (Arthur + Vidal + Busi midfield) which we don’t have enough data to conclude would be both stable and guarantee us results.
Considering this is against a very well-managed Spurs side, who on their day can be devastating when they click (though not this season it seems), it’s not smart to rotate 2 out of your midfield 3. That may look cool on twitter but that is tactical suicide for how this team plays
It has nothing to do with being brave or cowardly, and it’s simply a game of risk- and for pros whose lives depend on figuring out this stuff- this is usually one area in which you can blindly trust them to get right.
The takeaway is that in general, we are very close to finding our very best lineup that involves the least amount of sacrifices from each individual and consistency from each respective position.
In general, an extremely well fought game. Both hot and cold phases from each side, from each player bar Messi, who deserved a 20/10 for his performance. Even with the post denying him twice, he scored enough to guarantee the win. He is not 19 anymore
but he still has those 2-3 matches every season when he rolls back the years and presses like a madman possessed. Usually that’s Atleti on the end of the stick- today it was Poch’s Spurs. Rest before crucial UCL matches will do him wonders as it did yesterday.
Above all, enjoy him while you still can. Great goals from all our players. In all honesty, I thought the scoreline flattered them more. Time to rest up and focus on La Liga now.

@ronaldinho80ac @_Ciroph @Parsva10 @CaptnGuardiola @BamboozlingBusi @helloiniesta @mseuao @Aytwofootball @Nitigya15 @ManLiikeMessi

I made a promise and delivered, so I hope you guys find it worthwhile.

Congrats to all those who made it down to the mariana trench.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Peter C (최현규)
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!