If Barcelona play Arsenal in the final…

Last night’s match was similar to a chess game, with Arsenal making very few calculated moves and playing very conservatively waiting to capitalize on a mistake from Villarreal, which never materialized. Even though it wasn’t pretty, it was very effective.

If Barcelona can defeat AC Milan on aggregate today, it makes me wonder whether Arsenal may consider employing the same tactics that they did yesterday in the final. Arsenal, playing a 4-1-4-1 (essentialy a 4-5-1 formation) could decide to hold Barcelona at bay with those tactics to stem the Spanish team’s attacking exploits.

For the sake of entertainment, I hope they decide to play more like they did against Real Madrid and attack, attack, attack.

2 thoughts on “If Barcelona play Arsenal in the final…”

  1. Barca play essentially a 4-3-3 with Ronaldinho dropping off the front to pick up and play passes forward. The outside backs also like to get up into attack, and the midfielders are asked to make frequent and effective runs into the box. In short, they are designed to attack. The reason AC had so much trouble was not the awesome defense of Barca but the fact that they could never get their attack started cuz they were defending too much. That, and the fact that any Italian team is designed to win games by 1-0, meant that AC was not going to score loads of goals and pin Barca back in their own half. Arsenal, at least, have the potential to attack more than AC was able to.

    However, in looking back at their campaign, they appeared suprisingly Italian in their preference for 1-0 wins: in the group stage they had 1.66 goals/game; in the knockout rounds they beat Madrid 1-0/0-0, juve 2-0/0-0, and Villareal 1-0/0-0. This gives them a 1.58 goals/game overall. Barca on the other hand had a 1.83 goals/game overall.

    What does all this mean? Well, I feel that Arsenal will have to tighten up the midfield to choke any space for Deco/Ronaldinho to work. They need to exploit the attacking tendencies of the outside backs and play a wide game (especially with Henry operating on his favored left), and keep the ball away from the human vaccum cleaner, Puyol. They can count on Barca trying to open things up, and therefore leaving space on the counterattack. I think it will be either 3-0 Barca or 1-0 Arsenal.

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