everyone i have heard talk about Barcelona have said that the key to beating them is constant pressure and controlling Messi,
Word. That is actually what everyone says. All this talk of messi-dependency is really non-sense. Whereas we who watch Barcelona play know that if the team is actually dependent on a player, its none other than Xavi.
Let me put it this way for those who dont know the true value of the meek little player.
An american football team can play without its star wide receiver, but can it afford to play without its star quarterback? Thought so...
Xavi is the type of fellow who runs around the midfield distributing passes left and right and is called "the pivot" or "the number 4" in Barcelona (yes fabregas is one too). Its the role that was created by Cruyff during his tenure as coach.
See, Pep (The original number 4 and current coach) was the captain of the dream team era under Cruyff, who revolutionised the way Barcelona play by introducing the triangle system (players line up in a triangle when passing the ball around).
Why am I sharing that part? Good question. See the system depends on constant motion as the third man gets to chose from two targets when passing the ball...................Xavi is the third man, involved in almost every triangle on the field.
Trust me, if Chelsea is not heavily marking xavi then you will notice a definite trend of player---player---xavi---player---player---xavi---player---player---xavi...........then a throughball or a lobbed outlet.
Almost every third pass ends up at Xavi's feet!
Sure I realized that pattern when I was watching the game in "high" definition....but seriously its true though. Watch out for that pattern next tuesday
He is the perfect epitome of the midfield maestro.
Oh and he has the most assists in the champions league too. One more than Lamblard and Fevergas
those two are arguably one of the best duos in football(offensively)
Definitely agree with you there. The ball movement has so much more fluidity when they are both in the midfield. Also if one is blocked off, the other is free to do damage.
However I dont like it when Iniesta is on the left wing. Dont get me wrong, he is amazing there but he doesnt see much of the ball (especially if the third midfielder on the left is a work-horse type like gudjohnsen or keita who isnt really great at service)
So If I were Guus Hiddink, Id tell essien to smell xavi's sweat throughout the 90 minutes and hope Iniesta is not in the midfield and playing on the left wing instead