It wasn’t too surprising when Juventus crushed Barcelona 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final last week. Many fans, as well as betters, were expecting a Juventus win. Fresh from their 2-0 defeat away at 14th placed Malaga, their second league loss in the space of a month, people were branding the poor form as a ‘crisis’. And it wasn’t just because of their poor form. Their opponents weren’t easy either. When in form, Juventus can be unstoppable. Their back line of Bonucci, Chiellini, Dani Alves and Buffon can sometimes be almost unbeatable. Their attacking duo of Dybala and Higuain is a lethal combination. Their midfield of Pjanic, Marchisio, Cuadardo and Khedira is also pretty decent. Barcelona were left in tatters that night in Turin. However, the only team in the world right now that can overturn this seemingly impossible deficit is Barcelona. They’ve already proven it against PSG. The only major problem is that Juventus aren’t PSG. It is a far superior club, in terms of talent, player roster, discipline and, above all, quality.
So with that being said, lets see how Barça can do the impossible yet again.
Confidence is the Key
Barça know that they’re the only team in the world that can do the impossible, which gives them the confidence to overturn the deficit here. Even Juve know that, and they’ll be out to shut down their efforts. If they field a front trio of Neymar, Suarez and Alcacer, with Messi as the No.10, the mere sight of their team would send shivers down Juve’s spine. Unsettling Juve is the first step.
Attack, Attack, Attack
The most sensible thing would be to go for an all-out attack. Fielding a team including the MSN along with another forward in Alcacer would be something that could increase their chances. The only thing they now want is to score at least 3 goals, and sitting back with a defensive formation would complicate things for them. It’s almost certain that Juve will get the job done if they play most of their players behind the ball, and it would require Barça’s best efforts as Juventus’ defence and discipline is unmatched. The only solution to that is to break their defense with non-stop counter attacks.
Win the Battle in the Midfield
It is evident after their tie against PSG that winning a match of this stature would be easier if the battle in the midfield is won. The first leg mauling was a consequence of Verratti and Rabiot running riot in the midfield, while the second leg victory came due to Iniesta and Rakitic giving the opposition no space in the middle of the park. So, it is pretty obvious that Barça now need to give Pjanic, Marchisio et al no space to create any menace. Lining up with Iniesta, Rakitic and Busquets in the midfield could complicate things for Juve. With Andre Gomes and Sergi Roberto on the bench, their midfield could be devastating and, ultimately, match-winning. A 3-3-1-3 formation could accommodate these players.
Time for MSN to Step Up
It’s time for the best front trio in the world to raise their form and step up in this must-win tie. They haven’t been anywhere near their best in big games recently and that is what has cost them dearly. Even in that 6-1 win at PSG, Messi and Suarez, by their standards, weren’t up to their best. Only Neymar was up to the mark. Had it been a disciplined team like Juve instead of a non-focussed PSG, that deficit would’ve been a lot more difficult for them to turn over. Messi, Suarez and Neymar need to find the same form that helped them score 90 league goals last season. It’s time for them to show the world once again why they’re the most deadly front trio ever.
Mourinho could help Juve
Mourinho? Juve? Wait, let me explain. As Mourinho showed the world this weekend, the best way to control a team can sometimes be by fierce man-marking on their star men (See: Hazard, Costa and Pedro). There’s a good enough possibility that Allegri emulates the same tactic, and it’s up to Barça to find out the solution to that in advance. Well, its easier said than done, isn’t it?
Luis Enrique’s Swansong Year
It has already been announced that this is Enrique’s final year as Barça’s manager and winning this match could yet be the biggest parting gift. There have been reports of Messi and Suarez not having the nicest of rapports with their boss, but they need to put everything aside and unite themselves. Players like Rakitic, who had once stated that he could even die for his boss, would be the ones to watch out for. With that being said, this match could prove to be Enrique’s managerial career’s biggest match. His team can manage to give him a splendid parting gift, can’t they?
Well, that’s pretty much everything that Barça can do right now. I personally feel that it’s almost impossible for them to come out as winners this time, but with Barça, you never know. They proved the world wrong against PSG last time around, and have the ability to spring a surprise once again.