The first goal of Lionel Messi in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao appeared as the final proof of omnipotence from the Argentine. Also useful to scare Juventus and say once again, after an exciting season and a sumptuous Champions League semifinal, that the master of the game is always and still him. The number 10 of Barça has forced everyone to ask themselves obsessively the question: “How do you stop Messi?” perhaps putting in background players like Suarez and Neymar and an outstanding team like Barcelona.
How can Juventus be in the best conditions to beat the super favorites Catalans and win this Champions League? Some points seem inevitable.
1. Limit Lionel Messi. Not to evade the BIG questions, but the question remains of how and even of its effectiveness. The best results have had by marking Messi, when the number ten is in possession, the possible receivers and putting them in shadow through a controlled network consisting of several players. Given the usual zone of play of Messi, in charge of controlling will be Evra, the left midfielder (Pogba or Marchisio), the median (probably Vidal often gravitates there) and the central defender of that area (Chiellini). Be careful not to “provoke” Messi, preferring procrastination to over-aggressiveness that could generate avoidable successful dribbling for the Argentine, resulting positional inferiority and subsequent imbalances in the chain of the defense system.
2. Don’t concede spaces to Barcelona. The new Luis Enrique’s Barcelona is a vertical team that has given up the dogma of order and control for playing a direct football and that feeds of the spaces where they unleash the trio Messi-Neymar-Suárez. Thus limiting the number of lost balls, especially, of course, in their own half, to prevent offensive transitions for Barça and control the depth with a work of extreme attention and concentration of the defensive line.
3. Don’t think only about the defense. Barcelona is very strong, but flawed. The phase of non-possession remains lower level than the rest of the game. Consolidate the possession, open the field in amplitude and search for your game between the lines are offensive weapons that Juventus must try bravely to embarrass the Blaugrana defense. It seems paradoxical talking about Barcelona, but building from the defensive line is not always safe; aimed actions of offensive pressing may therefore dirty the balls to the trio MSN and, at best, generate balls recaptured in the forward position and favorable.
4. Use the centimeters. The team of Luis Enrique has greatly improved the efficiency in dead-ball situations in their favor, studying interesting gaming solutions, but the absence of centimeters remains a problem when the free kick is in favor of the opponents. Barcelona is vulnerable on corners and on free kicks and against Juventus, which has height and physical strength in abundance, will have to play with great determination these particular phases of the game.
5. Always keep the game alive. The imperfection of the Barça also resides in a certain discontinuity over the match. Giving up control of the game, the team of Luis Enrique, is prone to losing from hand the match and again this season threatened to reopen matches previously dominated. Even if were to go to disadvantage Juventus should not lose their cool too much and modify the game strategy: after all, if does not escape too far, Barcelona often gives a second chance.
adapted an article by Fabio Barcellona from matchpoint.it