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FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League (FREE)

Match Analyses: Camp Nou, Barcelona, 11.12.2013. 20:45
Referee: Sergei Karasev
Attendance: 54.000

FC BARCELONA

Coach: Gerardo Martino

Playing System: 4-3-3

CELTIC FC

Coach: Neil Lennon

Playing System: 4-4-1-1

Home Team Defence

1

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 1

Team Barcelona played its defence game in the attacking and middle zone almost all over the match. They only had to perform a set defence few times. They did counter attacks continuously. After losing the ball they attacked the player with the ball agressively and fast, they closed the passing channels excellently and they efficiently backed the players who were putting pressure on the opponent.  They did counter attacks on the guest team expressly several times. They did their counter attacks so fast, conscientiously and organizedly that the Scottish could hardly win these situations or they had to kick the ball away that the back line of Barcelona gained.

2

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 2

Alexis put pressure on Matthews. Other Barcelona teammates covered the area and tried to narrow or close the passing channels.

3

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 3

Matthews had a narrower and narrower area to play on. He was unable to play the ball forward. His teammates did a really passive play so he had nobody to pass  the ball to.

4

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 4

Matthews had to turn back but the pressure was so high on him that he made a wrong decision. He performed a too short pass. Neymar watched the acts of the Scottish player continuously and he attacked the ball passed backwords.

5

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 5

After a successful interception the teammates sprinted immediately from the depth to assist him and they created a 3 to 2 situation.

6

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 6

After losing the ball the nearest Barcelona players did immediate counter attacks and put pressure on the opponent player having the ball. These counter attacks were so quick and definite that some less skilled guest players could not react to such situations efficiently.

Away Team Defence

1

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 1

Team Celtic tried to do counter attacks in an incomprehensible way several times so Barcelona could benefit from these situations easily. The guest team placed themselves too far from the home players. What is more, as for counter attacks the 4-4-2 formation against a 4-3-3 one was not so effective. They would have needed a much more mobile midfield. The Scottish defence line could hardly do their defence forward. All things considered, counter attacks were an inconsiderate idea for the guest team to do.  Few of the counter attacks were completed successfully and their number was insignificant.  The Scottish team could hardly create a set and organized defence line. The agile Spanish attackers were always able to find empty spaces between the defence line and the midfield. When they approached the defenders at a high speed they could fiinish the action with an attempt on the goal almost all the time.  Celtic was not able to build an impassable wall in front of its goal. They did not assist each other well and lost almost all one to one situations. 4-5-1 defence in their own half of the pitch.

In case of a set defence all ten players had to work. This formation was destroyed really fast by the home team. The defence of Celtic was only organized for a very short period of time.

2

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 2

Wrong attempt of pressure by Celtic:

They attacked the goalkeeper but their midfielders were too far yet. There were huge empty spaces between the parts of the team. In this way it was impossible to perform an effective counter attack. The defending midfielder jogging backwords was not taken by any of the opponent players so the goalkeeper could play him with a pass of depth freely.

3

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 3

By the time Celtic players arrived at Busquets he had already been able to make a decision. Two of his teammates were in a position of being able to rec eive the ball.  The Scottish players were still lagging behind and they were still standing too far from the home team’s players.

4

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 4

After the wrong attempt of counter attack 3 Celtic players were beaten.  The right wing of Celtic became fully disorganised so Adriano and Pedro could start destruction there.

Home Team Attack

1

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 1

The attacks of Barcelona were totally unpredictable. They were able to react to any actions. Celtic did their defence high so Barcelona attackers running from depth were served with aerial passes. Either with or without the ball Barcelona wing attackers could approach the middle of the area in a great way. With the ball they accelerated from depth to behind the midfielders and “central” defence line through the holes. The wing defender tried to assist his teammates with a diagonal pass. When running to the middle to behind the defence line without the ball they were usually provided with a tough and low pass or an accurate aerial pass by the midfielders. The midfielders, namely Xavi and Sergi Roberto, and quite often also the three attackers placed themselves between the defence line and midfielders of Celtic. The defence line did not dare to open up so Barcelona was able to accelerate from these situations quite often. All empty spaces were played or accelerated into. When they could approach the wall with the ball there were always at least two players starting to accelerate. These players were served with the ball by Xavi excellently. Another important factor of attack building was the inner defenders’ assist. If it was possible and they had an open space in front they accelerated to it with the ball and so they created an outnumbered situation. They were very active to use the sides of the pitch. In the middle zone, the wing attackers took the wings until it was possible to open space and the wing defenders placed themselves deeper in the zone. At the moment they gained space or could change place not only the wing defenders stepped higher but also the wing attackers placed themselves nearer to the axis and tried to get the ball. When the shift between the wing attacker and the wing defender happened at the right pace it was hard to follow. All in all, we can say that Barcelona tactics included plenty of position shifts and movements but the appropriate positions and fuctions were always fulfilled. Despite the free movements the system was fixed. The number of passes completed in the attacking zone still showed unbelievable power and skills (236 successful passes- a shocking number).

Pedro dribbled towards the central area and Neymar ran from depth through the holes in the disorganized Scottish defence line. Barca performed perfect diagonal passes even in these situations. These runs from depth were hardly reacted to by the less mobile guest defenders.

2

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 2

Home players regularly placed themselves behind 2-3 Celtic players. Alexis ran to behind two Scottish players at a perfect pace. After receiving a diagonal pass Alexis dribbled the ball into the empty space. Then he found a great chance to a wall pass. Also Neymar placed himself in a way that he could receive the ball among the defenders.

3

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 3

One of the crucial points of Barcelona attacks was the joining of middle defenders the organization of the game. Piqué and Mascherano often entered the empty spaces in front.  With these accelerations they were able to create several outnumbered situations.

5

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 5

Celtic did their defence too high many times. In these cases Barcelona completed runs from depth of great pace. The cooperation between the server and the receiver was created very fast. They performed excellent lofted passes to behind the defence line of Celtic.

4

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 4

One of their aces was the movements of the wing attackers to the middle zone. These runs of great pace and unpredictable motions were hard to follow. In this situation Alexis’s run was preceded by the catastrophic positioning of the Celtic defence line. The middle defenders created depth in a wrong way and the two wing defenders followed the inner ones’ movements incorrectly.  Xavi’s  long penetrating pass was simply fascinating.

6

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 6

Again, a wrong defence situation of Celtic. Ambrose moved out of the defence line needlessly. There became a hole in the defence. There was a big gap between Van Dijk and Lustig. Neymar accelerated into the open space in front at a great pace. The deep pass was accurate and powerful enough again.

7

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 7

In the middle zone, if they did not have space the wing attacker took the wing. In this case they passed the ball round and round and tried to move forward in depth. The wing defender placed himself in depth and did not move so much forward.

8

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 8

As there was an empty space and the wing defender could place himself more forward the wing attacker could immediately move to the middle in order to provide the accelerating midfielder with the opportunity of a deep pass. It was important that the shift should be at the right pace.

Away Team Attack

1

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 1

As there was an empty space and the wing defender could place himself more forward the wing attacker could immediately move to the middle in order to provide the accelerating midfielder with the opportunity of a deep pass. It was important that the shift should be at the right pace.

In this situation Barca did a really wrong defending action. The line of their defence was unsettled. Biton was able to complete a great diagonal run to the open space between the two lines of defence. He was served with a diagonal pass by his fellow player at the right pace. Eventually, Mascherano stopped the action by a sideway shift. However, we could see that in this situation the Scottish team spotted a mistake in the defence of Barcelona and they tried to react to it.

2

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 2

The goal of Celtic was Samaras’s amazing headed goal. The defence of Barcelona forgot about Samaras at the wing free kick and they did not cover the empty space behind them well.

3

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. 3

Samaras was not taken by any defender. It was carelessness and a mistake of Barcelona and a good recognition of the situation of the Scottish team.

Home Team Set Pieces

Attacking corner of Barcelona

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. Attacking corner of Barcelona

Due to the good heading skills of Celtic defenders  it was a right decision of Barcelona not to kick the ball at any corners but to perform short passes.

Attacking corner of Barcelona 2

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. Attacking corner of Barcelona 2

They built attacks from every corner. Celtic did a mixed defence at corners.


Home Team Analysis

Statistics

FC BARCELONA-CELTIC FC, UEFA Champions League. Statistics

Statistics

Summary

About the trainers

Martino had several right decisions. Firstly, Barcelona attacked the more insecure and unskilled Scottish defence in a highly aggressive way. They gained the ball many times in the middle zone and some times in the attacking one. The second goal was also scored after an excellent counter attack. Anyway, high defence line is the trademark of Barcelona.

Secondly, although Neymar had a free space of movement he played in the centre, at the axis most of the time during this match. The agile Brazilian genius  attacked the two slower middle defenders continuously. They were unable to win these situations against him. Also this part of the defence was bombarded by the deep accelerations of Barca in which Neymar also had a key role. Martino played this match actively, he read the game and gave some young players the opportunity to prove. He continued the tradition of highlighting the involvement of young players.

Lennon’s decisions were incomprehensible to me. I did not understand his way of thinking when in a 4-4-2 formation he tried to counter attack Barcelona with these members of the team. They did not consider their opportunities correctly. These situations were benefited by Barcelona easily and in case they had an empty space in front they approached it ruthlessly and very quickly. As he made a wrong initial decision and Celtic was unsuccessful I expected him to reformulate his team later on. He did not, unfortunately.   Only the second half of the match could see Celtic a bit more closed. Watching the match I felt their two attackers were too many. Due to the skill differences between the two teams Lennon should have sent an even more closed team to the pitch.  Only that tactics could have been more efficient. Although it is a widely known fact that the above mentioned game  is not a nice one Celtic would possibly have been defeated by less goals. What is more, his gestures showed me that he was like surrendering the match and he seemed to be a bit sulky.

Key Points

Man of the match:

 

Neymar – 9 shots, 4 of them on the goal, 3 goals, 1 assist, created 15 1 to 1 situations, 11 of which were won, and 46 out of his 51 passes were successfully completed.

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