Guardiola's challenge ahead of Copa Del Rey final

April 20, 2011 - 0:0

A draw was all Barcelona could manage against a very resilient Madrid side last Saturday. With another Clasico due to take place this Wednesday, Live Soccer TV explains on the methods that can be used to defeat the 'new' Madrid.

Last Saturday, a 5-0 score line was never going to be a realistic possibility right after Mourinho revealed his first-team sheet. The presence of Pepe, Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso on a three-man defensive midfield absolutely signaled the Special One's intention on incensing his defensive stability rather than going all out offensively.
You can criticize Mourinho all you want but he was merely doing the right job, which was to prevent another humiliation especially in front of his own set of fans. Fair enough, the Catalans did take control of the ball for a majority of time although the likes of Xavi and Iniesta were constantly shackled by th three-men wall set up in Madrid's midfield.
Pepe was a huge thorn for Guardiola's men as every time they launched an assault with high hopes, Pepe would be right there at the right time to disrupt the flow of their game style. Inevitably, a draw always seemed the right result for both teams- Madrid for their defending and Barca for their offensive efforts. And with the Copa Del Rey final set to take place at the Mestalla this Wednesday, we preview some of the tactics Guardiola can employ to overcome the tractability of Real Madrid.
Attack down the wings more frequently
One of the fundamental reasons behind the Blaugranas failed efforts of establishing themselves in the game was the imminent presence of Pepe, Alonso and Khedira blocking them. Considering how well it worked out for Los Blancos last Saturday, the Special One will no doubt be looking to continue this effective way.
Therefore it's time to get back to the basics of exploiting the flanks of opposition sides. A detailed look will show you that Marcelo isn't the best of defenders while Sergio Ramos is massive when it comes to temper. These two flaws ideally provide a good chance for Barca to exploit Madrid's flanks.
Use Lionel Messi in a free role
Guardiola is known to have the abilities to get the best out of Lionel Messi in huge matches with the 5-0 drubbing of Real Madrid last November being a significant example. The Argentinean was left in a free role to add pressure in the midfield for Madrid, which effectively suited the Catalan's playing style.
With Madrid set to employ three defensive midfielders on Wednesday, losing their marker and keeping control of the ball would be essential for Guardiola's men and if Messi can roam around looking for small openings, then the subsequent damage brought by him could me massive.
Defend with a high base of line
Keeping composure defensively is Mourinho's number one aim and counter attacks will be their only hope of catching Barca's defense. Therefore, Guardiola should ask his men to play a high defensive line which will leave the Madrid attackers facing a battle to prevent themselves from being caught offside.
While this tactic is probably very dangerous as the speed of Ronaldo and Di Maria could be detrimental to the insertion of this system. Nevertheless, it has a huge chance of suffocating Los Blancos' attacking powerness throughout the match. Pass, Pass, Pass And Keep On Passing The Ball
Once again, ball possession will be the key for the Blaugranas. Real Madrid will be playing to defend with their lives and Guardiola's men need to be patient throughout the game because when you have a team full of talent like what the Catalans have, chances will definitely present themselves in the right time.
The more Barca pass the ball around, the more frustrating it's going to get for the Madrid lads. Inability to get hold of the ball for prolonged period may even prompt some pressurized acts from them- which will effectively give Barca the upper hand.
(Source: Livesoccer)