To anon acquire the arch acumen Betis ashamed Barcelona this weekend at the Camp Nou, you can go aback to mid-July 2008 on a training angle in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Yes, Ernesto Valverde was deeply baffled on approach by Quique Setien.
Yes, if you analyze Pau Lopez’s superb first-half save from absolute range, aback Clement Lenglet anticipation he had scored, adjoin Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s limp-wristed accomplishment that let Betis go 3-1 up, they can acquaint one account of why the credibility went south instead of blockage with La Liga’s arresting champions. And yes, we can additionally allocution about William Carvalho giving a signature, man of the bout achievement — Ivan Rakitic’s red agenda comes into it — and it’s alike fair to accurate effective bafflement at Valverde’s best of substitutions, opting for cadre rather than appropriate changes.
But if you’re the blazon who wants to authorize a single, ascendant altercation about why a aggregation three credibility off the assignment breadth ripped the champions afar and won at the Camp Nou for the aboriginal time in added than two decades, aloof accredit to Pep Guardiola in the anemic St. Andrews sunshine of midsummer 11 years ago.
He told a accumulation of players, Gerard Pique and Leo Messi amid them, “I can absolve you a confused pass. I can absolve you a absent penalty. We’re all human. The one affair I’ll never absolve you for is if you don’t run.”
Many things were germinated that summer, not aloof that dictum. But that accent was the alpha of not abandoned a aeon of football that is arguably the best and best admirable the apple has anytime seen, but additionally the football adjoin which this group, abominably for them, will still be judged.
Wait: You anticipate because Guardiola said that 11 years ago, it adeptness not now backpack the aforementioned weight or importance? That the world’s best coach, if he’d been assuming the dissection on Barcelona’s one-paced defeat to Betis, instead of acceptable the Manchester derby, wouldn’t say the same?
You’re wrong. So wrong.
Last May, accepting baffled England in record-breaking style, the Manchester City administrator told Sky’s Monday Night football programme article still added bull and bright cut, article that should be beating through the skulls of 90 percent of the Barcelona players who took the angle Sunday adjoin Betis.
Guardiola angrily acicular out about his City squad: “I try to argue them to run like the best apprehensive aggregation in the world. If they don’t do that, they don’t play: They sit beside me on the bench. I can absolve everything, but if they don’t run, they don’t play. You acquire to run in football. That is one of our secrets: Added than tactics, spirit, you try to run.”
It’s a basic point aback allegory Barcelona’s accepted problems because irrespective of the adeptness of the after-effects on cardboard and their absolute adeptness to go into overdrive best of the time aback a “power play” is required, there are best absolutely some massive problems. What happened at home to Betis this weekend can be traced, via football’s ancestors tree, to the 4-0 defeat in Paris a brace years ago, the 3-0 beating at Juventus a few weeks afterwards and their excruciatingly bad accumulated defeat to Roma aftermost season.
Still added worryingly for Valverde, it can be traced to the improvement win at Rayo Vallecano aloof a anniversary afore this 4-3 home defeat, absolutely Barca’s aboriginal home defeat in la Liga in added than two years.
Even afore authoritative the bright point that Barcelona’s Basque drillmaster fabricated a acute absurdity prematch, at half-time and afresh aback he alien added substitutions in “reading” how to action Setien’s tactics, it’s acute to acquire that his players didn’t, at about any stage, assignment adamantine abundant in agreement of aggregate arresting responsibilities.
Take the aboriginal Betis ambition as one example. Afresh the second. At a date aback the visitors are in the action of cleverly, absolutely architecture their way advanced from their own amends box afterwards arresting a corner, Junior Firpo is not a wing-back positionally; he’s still a left-back, but he runs. Both Rakitic and Sergio Busquets acquiesce him to run off them. They are either not bothered, acceptance Junior’s agnate run and ambition aftermost anniversary adjoin Celta, or they’re conceited that “someone abroad will accord with it.”
As the offensively able but defensively accessible 22-year-old — Celta went from 2-0 bottomward to 3-2 up aftermost anniversary in no baby admeasurement acknowledgment to his apathetic arresting of the amplitude in abaft him — who was authoritative abandoned his 25th La Liga alpha sprinted, neither Arthur nor Pique alike anticipation about analogous him.
Still, he was abandoned adjoin a clamp of Blaugrana defenders, but because none of them helped out, it was finer one vs. one: Junior adjoin Sergi Roberto. The Catalan was baggy (there’s that chat again). He didn’t get bound and was asymmetric by Firpo’s cut axial so that he’d acquire time to shoot accomplished Ter Stegen.
Call it abridgement of energy, lackadaisical, abundance or “taking a rest” — alarm it what you will, but it was absolutely the aggressive blemish Barca showed for bisected an hour of the Clasico, from minute 45 until minute 75, aback they went to 3-1 up and dead off a Madrid ancillary that could acquire equalised or taken the lead, and for ample genitalia of the closing win adjoin Rayo Vallecano.
More evidence, as stated, came for the additional Betis goal. From my point of view, my analysis that Barcelona showed an burning abridgement of coercion is damning.
Betis breach from their own amends breadth but are never bankrupt bottomward by an inattentive, somnambulant Barca. By the time Andres Guardado shunts a nice brawl through amplitude into the wide-open Carvalho, who’s arena as if he thinks he’s Zinedine Zidane, Barcelona are in afterwards inferiority, with three of them adverse four Betis players in the arresting third.
Lenglet, acclaim to him, challenge with 37-year-old Joaquin to accomplish abiding that it stays a afterwards arrears of aloof one: It’s afresh four vs. five. Less acclaim to Lenglet that he’s 13 years adolescent and still fabricated choices over the afterward abnormal that accustomed the admired adept to accomplish it 2-0. No matter.
Who’s missing from the picture? Malcom: Was he declared to be allotment of a 4-4-2 aback Betis had the ball? And, of course, Arthur, Busquets and Rakitic. Trotting, anniversary of them. By the time Junior’s cantankerous isn’t met, but Tello picks up the apart brawl and centres for the bare Joaquin to score, the Betis “superiority” of numbers has gone to six Betis players vs. four Barca players. It’s aloof wholly unacceptable from a best team.
Anyone who says “Barcelona are defensively vulnerable” apropos their aback four, based on that evidence, is missing the point. There’s a band of Betis players there to potentially score, and the Barca midfielders who should be allowance annihilate that blackmail access backward on the scene: They’re closing the abiding aperture already the blood horse has already bolted.
Again, it’s inarguable, I believe, that Valverde misread his team’s adeptness to cope with Setien’s 3-5-2, which could become a 2-7-1 accumulation if Joaquin alone into midfield and any of the three axial defenders stepped advanced with the ball, while application his adopted 4-3-3 Barca formation. That is abnormally so with Malcom accepting his Liga admission for a aggregation whose appropriate account he hasn’t been accustomed time to authenticate that he understands.
It’s a compound for disaster. But it’s still added anathema that Valverde, aftermost week, watched Rayo run and canyon accomplished his Barca players time afterwards time, as if it were Olympians adjoin statues. Also, did anyone on the Barcelona agents watch Betis 3-3 Celta, either alive or on tape? Firpo’s absolute abhorrence to be in the actual position aback Celta probed the acreage of amplitude bottomward their appropriate addition resembled Marcelo’s absolute aloofness in banal concepts such as “defending” and “closing space.”
Firpo is a accomplished athlete, a accomplished advancing amateur and a accomplished abetment provider. He additionally has two goals in two games, anniversary off a altered foot. But he’s ultra-vulnerable. Instead of Barcelona managing to accomplish any basic from that, Junior rampaged accomplished them, active them ragged, and with Tello on the added side, he charge acquire wondered if one of the home players had been kidnapped or active abroad by aliens continued afore Rakitic was beatific off.
It continued appeared as if Betis had 12 or 13 players and Barcelona about nine. Valverde not alteration Malcom for an accomplished fourth midfielder and not allurement Roberto and Alba to comedy higher, pinning the Betis advanced players aback with added bodies in the centre of the angle to challenge and alike “own” possession, was artlessly bewildering.
But there’s this. This was a Betis celebration built-in at the Camp Nou, not aloof accomplished there. I’ve continued admired Setien for admitting, years ago, “I abstruse my concepts of football as a midfielder for Racing Santander block the brawl and players of Johan Cruyff’s dream aggregation about the angle and cerebration to myself, ‘When I’m a coach, my aggregation won’t comedy like this … we’ll comedy like them.'”
Kudos to him. Much as Guardiola would acquire banned of how little his above club ran in defeat Sunday, he’d acquire aboveboard accustomed of how Betis acquire affiliated and auspiciously activated the Cruyff philosophy. It was, simply, beautiful.
Real Betis Balompié, SAD, more commonly referred to as Real Betis or just Betis, is a Spanish football club based in Seville, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Founded on 12 September 1907, it plays in La Liga, having won the Segunda División in the 2014–15 season. It holds home games at Estadio Benito Villamarín in the south of the city.
Real Betis won the league title in 1935 and the Copa del Rey in 1977 and 2005. Given the club’s tumultuous history and many relegations, its motto is ¡Viva el Betis manque pierda! (“Long live Betis even when they lose!”).