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    (Original post by CB91)
    And the vast, vast majority of them dont even watch Ronaldo/Messi apart from CL/Clasico's. :lol:
    Pretty much this.
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    (Original post by jam278)
    Yeah think we should carry the jews conversation here because this whole Messi vs Ronaldo thing is for ****ing 14 year olds.
    reply to my comment about the FBI causing dissension in hip hop, as they viewed it as too empowering for black people
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    (Original post by swarly)
    why hasnt vermalaen played a single game for Barca?

    its not even like he came cheap.
    He only cost 10 million euros. The other 10 milliom is in add ons. That is a fair price nowadays.

    He is back in training so he will probably play in 1-2 weeks

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    (Original post by swarly)
    reply to my comment about the FBI causing dissension in hip hop, as they viewed it as too empowering for black people
    Ngl I read and agreed but it was long. Will reply though dw.
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    Real beat Deportivo 8-2 today. It looks like they may have turned a corner.

    Atleti drawing 2-2 with Celta. The opener for Celta was ridiculous!

    https://mtc.cdn.vine.co/r/videos_h26...7WJyHfYXElpbfM
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    Even though Barca are winning 2-0...the real news is that Messi has missed a penalty (off target) :p:...He badly wants a goal tonight.
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    This new team is great, bar alves. Alves and matheiu had poor games.
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    Yeah you lot have the league. Thought you had it tbh.

    No goals conceded so far this season. That record puts Chelsea to ****ing shame. That's Chelsea 05 or Capello's Milan esque.
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    (Original post by Malevolent)
    This new team is great, bar alves. Alves and matheiu had poor games.
    I thought Rakitic was poor. His control and passing were not upto scratch. Alves was alves, so shocking. Montoya or Adriano are better options for me.

    Has Douglas even been in a match day squad yet?

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    (Original post by jam278)
    Yeah you lot have the league. Thought you had it tbh.

    No goals conceded so far this season. That record puts Chelsea to ****ing shame. That's Chelsea 05 or Capello's Milan esque.
    Slow down still early days but it's definitely much better defensively then the previous seasons. Matheiu still has his brain farts I see :lol:
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    (Original post by Malevolent)
    Slow down still early days but it's definitely much better defensively then the previous seasons. Matheiu still has his brain farts I see :lol:
    Enrique did say something about the balance at Barca not being right and having to be good in all avenues of the game.

    Could you tell me more on why they've improved so much on their defending? I think I watched enough football yesterday just by the united game so didn't watch Barca.
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    (Original post by jit987)
    Even though Barca are winning 2-0...the real news is that Messi has missed a penalty (off target) :p:...He badly wants a goal tonight.
    Messi looked to pass first all game, even when he easily could have scored himself (e.g. for the 0-3), so didn't look like he cared about scoring at all to me. Can't complain though, his passes/assists are almost better to watch. Nice that he got a great goal in the end though, with his right foot too.

    (Original post by Undisclosed 15)
    I thought Rakitic was poor. His control and passing were not upto scratch. Alves was alves, so shocking. Montoya or Adriano are better options for me.
    Rakitic had a pass accuracy of 91% for 140 touches, factoring in the horrible pitch and the rain that isn't not up to scratch. He got dispossesed a couple of times, but his interception in the box that kept Levante off the scoresheet (Bravo wouldn't have saved it considering he had moved to the other post) and the bomb he scored that finished them off is enough to make it a good performance for me.

    Speaking of which, his long-range shots are amazing, ridiculous power behind them, will come in very handy against other parked buses.


    (Original post by jam278)
    Enrique did say something about the balance at Barca not being right and having to be good in all avenues of the game.

    Could you tell me more on why they've improved so much on their defending? I think I watched enough football yesterday just by the united game so didn't watch Barca.
    A mix of a slight change in formation, improved pressing and Mathieu/Rakitic living up to the challenge. Lucho has set up the midfield differently than before, with both CMs playing much wider to cover the space behind Alba and Alves, who push high up to provide width. Before, Barça had both FBs pushing up too but relied on them getting back to their default position to defend when required and a bit of help from the forwards, which didn't always work out. Now, the stability is much better as you have Iniesta and Rakitic there to cover the space, press, chip in with tackles and interceptions (mostly in Rakitic's case) and move further back when needed. The way Rakitic got back and cleared the ball in Barça's own box was a nice example. That means you have two defensively capable players on each side both contributing to defence and build-up/attacking play PLUS the forwards tracking back/pressing high up the pitch, rather than just the high-pushing FBs and, depending on workrate, Neyar/Pedro like before. Add to that the aggressive pressing Lucho uses from front to back and the improved physicality/speed with Rakitic and Mathieu and the system proves relatively stable, with few shots even reaching the goal.

    That also helps the attack and imo paves way for when LS joins the team. Lucho has all three forwards playing centrally and not covering the wings, with Pedro/Munir/whoever starts on the "right" playing almost between the two CBs, Neymar a bit to the left of them and Messi to the right and very slightly behind them, cutting in like he loves to do. With the FBs so high up, you have two different attacking "entities" on either side, one consisting of Alba/Iniesta/Neymar and one of Messi/Rakitic/Alves, which gives the third forward who plays more in the middle (i.e. Suárez) loads of freedom to roam while at the same time making him occupying the CBs once Messi decides to cut inside do his thing. (So far it has looked like for periods of the game this whole formation changes into a classic 442, with Messi dropping deeper a bit and moving to the centre to play as a classic 10 and Pedro moving further to the right.) It's very similar to how Barça played in the 2010/11 season with Villa tbh. So far, it looks like this has helped the two non-Messi forwards as they don't have to track back/contribute to defence as much and can focus on attack, at least Neymar's, Munir's, Sandro's numbers have shown that (and Pedro's would too if he wasn't so bad).

    As I said this requires both FBs to push up and provide width and Rakitic/Iniesta to provide cover behind them; the fact that even Montoya pushed high up although he's much more defensive than Alves proves that imo. That's why I don't get the Alves hate. For this system, he's the best RB Barça have as in attack, he's still more capable than Montoya and Adriano. He still makes too many high crosses and loses the ball a bit much, but he's been much better than last season with much more low and on point crosses.

    ...

    Anyway, it's hugely flattering for Bravo to have that clean sheet record considering he did **** all to contribute to that; so far he's only really had to make one real save, Mathieu takes care of everything else. I really don't like him as GK; his distribution is sloppy, he provides very very little for the build-up play from the back (which Barça need him to do) and he treats the ball like a ticking bomb sometimes, trying to get it away from him as quick and hasty as possible. There've been a few questionable/nervous decisions as well, e.g. in the Elche game when he run away from the ball for Masche's red card :lol: Can't really complain or drop him when there's been so many clean sheets, but the gulf in class between him and MAtS is evident. It's good for him he has Mathieu playing in defence and taking care of most danger (or then Rakitic, like yday). MAtS played with a much shakier defensive line against APOEL, but looked very, very good, much calmer, astronomically better distribution and a better save than anything Bravo has shown so far. I think for now MAtS will play the CL games and perhaps, if he starts against Malaga, also rotate with Bravo for the mid-week la liga games to get consistency. Once he's fluent in castellano however there should be no debate.
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    (Original post by qua)

    Speaking of which, his long-range shots are amazing, ridiculous power behind them, will come in very handy against other parked buses.
    Yeah noticed he's pretty good at long shots, that is definitely an area that Barca were lacking, Suarez can do long shots as well. Messi can to an extent but majority of his shots from range are finessed around 18-25 yards. Sometimes you just need a guy who can hit it from 30 yards like Rakitic or Suarez.


    A mix of a slight change in formation, improved pressing and Mathieu/Rakitic living up to the challenge. Lucho has set up the midfield differently than before, with both CMs playing much wider to cover the space behind Alba and Alves, who push high up to provide width. Before, Barça had both FBs pushing up too but relied on them getting back to their default position to defend when required and a bit of help from the forwards, which didn't always work out. Now, the stability is much better as you have Iniesta and Rakitic there to cover the space, press, chip in with tackles and interceptions (mostly in Rakitic's case) and move further back when needed. The way Rakitic got back and cleared the ball in Barça's own box was a nice example. That means you have two defensively capable players on each side both contributing to defence and build-up/attacking play PLUS the forwards tracking back/pressing high up the pitch, rather than just the high-pushing FBs and, depending on workrate, Neyar/Pedro like before. Add to that the aggressive pressing Lucho uses from front to back and the improved physicality/speed with Rakitic and Mathieu and the system proves relatively stable, with few shots even reaching the goal.
    Oh ok, so it's a bit like a wide diamond formation. Do you think Barca will tire from the pressing even with Xavi out of the first 11 and falter near the end of the season(like the last season) or will they keep it up like in peps days?

    Do you think that Rakitic is a better option than Fabregas for Barca's current system btw if you were to compare the two?
    That also helps the attack and imo paves way for when LS joins the team. Lucho has all three forwards playing centrally and not covering the wings, with Pedro/Munir/whoever starts on the "right" playing almost between the two CBs, Neymar a bit to the left of them and Messi to the right and very slightly behind them, cutting in like he loves to do. With the FBs so high up, you have two different attacking "entities" on either side, one consisting of Alba/Iniesta/Neymar and one of Messi/Rakitic/Alves, which gives the third forward who plays more in the middle (i.e. Suárez) loads of freedom to roam while at the same time making him occupying the CBs once Messi decides to cut inside do his thing. (So far it has looked like for periods of the game this whole formation changes into a classic 442, with Messi dropping deeper a bit and moving to the centre to play as a classic 10 and Pedro moving further to the right.) It's very similar to how Barça played in the 2010/11 season with Villa tbh. So far, it looks like this has helped the two non-Messi forwards as they don't have to track back/contribute to defence as much and can focus on attack, at least Neymar's, Munir's, Sandro's numbers have shown that (and Pedro's would too if he wasn't so bad).
    Hmm, interesting. I remember last season, you used the right quite a bit with Alves being an outlet in attack with Sanchez but they're playing more narrow as you're suggesting. What you have against Pedro in his general play for Barca btw? You rate him for spain right, no idea why he wouldn't perform the same way as at barca, similar systems for the most part anyway. Also do you think that Luis Enrique is using these tactics as a default formation, or to combat the systems of other teams(i.e. Levante's parked planes?)

    As I said this requires both FBs to push up and provide width and Rakitic/Iniesta to provide cover behind them; the fact that even Montoya pushed high up although he's much more defensive than Alves proves that imo. That's why I don't get the Alves hate. For this system, he's the best RB Barça have as in attack, he's still more capable than Montoya and Adriano. He still makes too many high crosses and loses the ball a bit much, but he's been much better than last season with much more low and on point crosses.
    I like Alves tbh and tbh how many fullbacks get 10 assists a season when fit. Was arguing before that the top fullbacks in attacking are always the ones who get on the scoresheet or assist sheet via open play. People wouldn't really attribute goal and assist stats to fullbacks, but seems to be the case that the best attacking fullbacks almost get the stats of a second choice winger. Lahm e.g. got 15 assists in the treble season. The likes of Kolarov and Coleman e.g. will contribute directly to 10-15 goals a season. Alves had a poor season last time round and directly contributed to 7 goals but he missed quite a lot of games.

    Anyway, it's hugely flattering for Bravo to have that clean sheet record considering he did **** all to contribute to that; so far he's only really had to make one real save, Mathieu takes care of everything else. I really don't like him as GK; his distribution is sloppy, he provides very very little for the build-up play from the back (which Barça need him to do) and he treats the ball like a ticking bomb sometimes, trying to get it away from him as quick and hasty as possible. There've been a few questionable/nervous decisions as well, e.g. in the Elche game when he run away from the ball for Masche's red card :lol: Can't really complain or drop him when there's been so many clean sheets, but the gulf in class between him and MAtS is evident. It's good for him he has Mathieu playing in defence and taking care of most danger (or then Rakitic, like yday). MAtS played with a much shakier defensive line against APOEL, but looked very, very good, much calmer, astronomically better distribution and a better save than anything Bravo has shown so far. I think for now MAtS will play the CL games and perhaps, if he starts against Malaga, also rotate with Bravo for the mid-week la liga games to get consistency. Once he's fluent in castellano however there should be no debate.
    Yeah Bravo seems like he hasn't had much to do. Watched Villareal and your first game vs Espanyol and he didn't have much to do.

    So you think it's just part of a weaning in period for Mats due to language issues? That makes sense, once he assimilates to the culture he should be first choice, Bravo is getting on anyway, you'd expect him to switch to copa del rey keeper by the end of the season.
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    gonna put the kettle on
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    Its quite sad seeing how Pedro is playing right now. Everything he does just seems to affect the team negatively. His normally decent touch is not there and he's killing Barcelona's attacks. Wont be sticking around long if he keeps this up...

    Messi on the other hand :adore:
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    (Original post by jam278)
    Do you think that Rakitic is a better option than Fabregas for Barca's current system btw if you were to compare the two?
    No doubt he is. Rakitic adds more in terms of physicality, defensive contribution and overall presence in and impact on the build-up play; whereas Cesc's main contribution to the game was to roam from his position, move into good attacking positions, receive a pass there and deliver through balls/shots on goal. He did that excellently tbh, but it's not what is needed in Barça's midfield if you have Iniesta, who is better in the Iniesta role (duh), and desperately need someone to play in Xavi's place. Cesc was a nice attacking midfielder alternative, but not the utility player that Barça need to fill the gap that Xavi has obviously left.

    Rakitic is also a more versatile support midfielder, means he can adapt to whatever "dominant" midfielder he is playing with, whether it's Xavi or Iniesta, and compliment them, which is something Cesc can't do as well, perhaps because he relies more on his ingenuity. He can't play alongside Iniesta, for they would clash on the left side and just block each other's space. He can play with Xavi, but was always less well-rehearsed and compatible with him than Iniesta and thus left open a few gaps when roaming out of position. Not a coincidence that Cesc's best performances happened when he was added as an additional midfielder, on top of the midfield structure so to speak; that adds some good variety to the midfield but is a luxury option to have.

    Add to that the fact that Rakitic supposedly doesn't have the same expectations wrt minutes and a starting spot as Cesc and not the same pressure behind his name, so it's easier to keep him around as an understudy to Xavi (which, so far, is not the case though) and allows for more chances for the youngsters like Rafa, Samper etc.


    Hmm, interesting. I remember last season, you used the right quite a bit with Alves being
    an outlet in attack with Sanchez but they're playing more narrow as you're suggesting. [...] Also do you think that Luis Enrique is using these tactics as a default formation, or to combat the systems of other teams(i.e. Levante's parked planes?)
    Yes, Alves was involved in attack a lot last season, but it was less coordinated, as most of that consisted of useless high crosses into the box. Now, with the CMs playing much wider and the forwards much more narrow, you have two attacking triangles and one free-roaming forward in the middle, which allows for much better combinations around the box and get the best ouf of the forwards, giving Neymar and the third FW more freedom (in Neymar's case, he'll have to focus less on defence than he did last season, something which was new for him and sometimes meant wasting his attacking threat) and allowing for more space for Messi.

    I'm quite sure this (in hybridity with the 442 formation) will be the default formation, as Lucho has used it in all games this season, even when fielding players who normally have much different tendencies (e.g. Montoya, who usually stays back and now pushed up and focused on attack). It's still a rather flexible formation in terms of style, and you could see that Lucho used different approaches to different games. Against Athletic, who usually go all out in attack against Barça, the team was keeping the ball more in their own half and focusing on long balls/counters rather than combinations to tire Athletic, whereas against Levante, Elche it was more of a classic tiki taka performance with faster and less static transitional play than e.g. last season, which allowed the busses less time to park. (This tactical flexibility alone probably plays a part in the defensive improvement as well; Tata was integrating long balls to, but not really as an adaption to the opponent but a general approach)

    Oh ok, so it's a bit like a wide diamond formation. Do you think Barca will tire from the pressing even with Xavi out of the first 11 and falter near the end of the season(like the last season) or will they keep it up like in peps days?
    Hard to predict that, but Lucho's rotations have been very consistent and sometimes blunt so far, so that will probably come in handy. He's not really scared to use all the players he has at his disposal, the youngsters included, or to drop players regardless of their name, so bar perhaps Messi nobody will be overused too much. He's also a fitness freak, so things like Messi being done after two runs shouldn't happen as much as under Tata (who I don't think had a real training plan judging from pictures/video footage).

    What you have against Pedro in his general play for Barca btw? You rate him for spain right, no idea why he wouldn't perform the same way as at barca, similar systems for the most part anyway.
    The problem with Pedro is that he hasn't performed consistently for Barça in years. The level of his performances is much too unpredictable to rely on him as a starter, and at the moment, his form seems to be worse than ever, despite the goal he got on Sunday. He's sloppy in passing and shooting, loses the ball too much, doesn't get involved. Hence why Munir has gotten the nod over him so much and didn't yesterday for rotation purposes only.

    In general, he has some undeniable qualities that I rate a lot, such as his footwork & technique, his workrate and defensive contribution, but overall, be it down to a lack of directness, too much unselfishness or his mentality or all those aspects, he's not the player to lead an attack, make things happen and create immediate danger. He's good to excellent as a sub and can do wonders to tire out teams and keep them occupied on the flanks, but has never really been much of a gamechanger. Even for Spain, most of the goals he scored in those high-scoring seasons were against relative minnows such as Panama, Belarus, Saudi-Arabia and result of good collective play rather than Pedro showing individual greatness.

    Good player but I think he would have been sold a while ago if it weren't for the la Masia status. With Sandro and Munir pushing through and looking up to the challenge, I think his time might come to an end sooner or later though.

    So you think it's just part of a weaning in period for Mats due to language issues? That makes sense, once he assimilates to the culture he should be first choice, Bravo is getting on anyway, you'd expect him to switch to copa del rey keeper by the end of the season.
    Yeah probably a mix of language, easing the pressure on him and keeping the competition stiff. I suspect he would have started in la liga if he hadn't been injured, though, but that said, Bravo hasn't done much wrong bar the clanger in preseason, so it would be unfair to drop him just like that.
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    Will reply later qua.

    Anyway who's watching Real? Interesting choice of formation. 4-2-2-2 with the forwards all roaming. Kroos goes forward from time to time, Rodriguez on the right hand side providing through balls with Isco on the other side doing the same, ronaldo drifts to the wings giving space for the others. Seems like Bale is playing as a natural striker too with everybody behind him.

    Rodriguez is very good at crossing the ball and seems like Ronaldo is playing this hybrid striker/winger role very well. Ancelotti seems to have improved his game even more.
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    Malaga v Barca is on now. It will be interesting to see how Douglas gets on.
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    Only watched final 20mins of the barca game, good save from bravo, Malaga did pretty good to nullify Barca's chances, forcing them to use plenty of early deep crosses and reducing Messi's space in advanced areas. Messi should have been a bit more on the ball though as Alba was being useless, same for Adriano. I'm not going to lie but these are the games where you just need a big no.9 in the box to just head set pieces or just provide a plan B. I know Barca's style and all but seriously that's all they're missing. Suarez will help with these games I guess as he can provide magic but an Ibra would have just given Malaga more trouble.
    (Original post by qua)
    No doubt he is. Rakitic adds more in terms of physicality, defensive contribution and overall presence in and impact on the build-up play; whereas Cesc's main contribution to the game was to roam from his position, move into good attacking positions, receive a pass there and deliver through balls/shots on goal. He did that excellently tbh, but it's not what is needed in Barça's midfield if you have Iniesta, who is better in the Iniesta role (duh), and desperately need someone to play in Xavi's place. Cesc was a nice attacking midfielder alternative, but not the utility player that Barça need to fill the gap that Xavi has obviously left.
    You'd assume that Rafinha has taken Cesc's place, but ofc he doesn't require as much playing time as a man of Cesc's quality would require.

    Btw Rakitic has played in a deeper position before. Do you think he could play in place of Busquetts for rotational purposes? I have doubts over Mascherano's ability to play there, mainly his ball distribution which improved at Barca but isn't on the level of Keita there for Barca.
    Rakitic is also a more versatile support midfielder, means he can adapt to whatever "dominant" midfielder he is playing with, whether it's Xavi or Iniesta, and compliment them, which is something Cesc can't do as well, perhaps because he relies more on his ingenuity. He can't play alongside Iniesta, for they would clash on the left side and just block each other's space. He can play with Xavi, but was always less well-rehearsed and compatible with him than Iniesta and thus left open a few gaps when roaming out of position. Not a coincidence that Cesc's best performances happened when he was added as an additional midfielder, on top of the midfield structure so to speak; that adds some good variety to the midfield but is a luxury option to have.
    Do you think that Fab was partially at fault for Barca's defensive problems too? Obviously Xavi gets some blame but Fab obviously likes the free role which may clash when Barca need to defend. He's not as used to that.

    I'm sure that Iniesta and Xavi used to have the same problem back in 2008, Which was why Iniesta played on the wing early on in his career. I think that Fab was a prem player in La Liga and at Barca it's hard as the style is much less direct and slower paced.
    Add to that the fact that Rakitic supposedly doesn't have the same expectations wrt minutes and a starting spot as Cesc and not the same pressure behind his name, so it's easier to keep him around as an understudy to Xavi (which, so far, is not the case though) and allows for more chances for the youngsters like Rafa, Samper etc.

    Yes, Alves was involved in attack a lot last season, but it was less coordinated, as most of that consisted of useless high crosses into the box. Now, with the CMs playing much wider and the forwards much more narrow, you have two attacking triangles and one free-roaming forward in the middle, which allows for much better combinations around the box and get the best ouf of the forwards, giving Neymar and the third FW more freedom (in Neymar's case, he'll have to focus less on defence than he did last season, something which was new for him and sometimes meant wasting his attacking threat) and allowing for more space for Messi.
    I don't get this, considering that Xavi is no longer a starter. I would have thought they'd just try and make him work as they wean out Xavi. I guess Rakitic is cheaper and a better option tactically. I guess Fabregas was the main reason why Thiago was sold too but this could easily happen with Rafinha with this new triangle. Iniesta still has a good 3 years as an automatic starter.

    I guess making the forwards more narrow and advanced gives more options for Messi to play into, which is the whole reason for playing this system. It really makes little sense going wide like last season when you have the options barca have. Most of the non Messi/Neymar wingers are just fast versatile forwards who could easily play as an advanced forward striker at another club.
    I'm quite sure this (in hybridity with the 442 formation) will be the default formation, as Lucho has used it in all games this season, even when fielding players who normally have much different tendencies (e.g. Montoya, who usually stays back and now pushed up and focused on attack). It's still a rather flexible formation in terms of style, and you could see that Lucho used different approaches to different games. Against Athletic, who usually go all out in attack against Barça, the team was keeping the ball more in their own half and focusing on long balls/counters rather than combinations to tire Athletic, whereas against Levante, Elche it was more of a classic tiki taka performance with faster and less static transitional play than e.g. last season, which allowed the busses less time to park. (This tactical flexibility alone probably plays a part in the defensive improvement as well; Tata was integrating long balls to, but not really as an adaption to the opponent but a general approach)
    Hmm, yeah I guess there's evidence that he's a bit more adaptable. Although could easily be general adaptation to the opposition and how they force Barca to play. You lot played faster and more direct football at the start of last season as well then went back to the defensive possession game later on last season. Out of interest, if you remember the old games vs Athletic, how did you play against them?

    Hard to predict that, but Lucho's rotations have been very consistent and sometimes blunt so far, so that will probably come in handy. He's not really scared to use all the players he has at his disposal, the youngsters included, or to drop players regardless of their name, so bar perhaps Messi nobody will be overused too much. He's also a fitness freak, so things like Messi being done after two runs shouldn't happen as much as under Tata (who I don't think had a real training plan judging from pictures/video footage).
    Yeah, Lucho does seem like he's not scared to use the youngsters, think this may come back to bite him, he'll probably switch to a more consistent starting 11 when results start waning a bit.

    The problem with Pedro is that he hasn't performed consistently for Barça in years. The level of his performances is much too unpredictable to rely on him as a starter, and at the moment, his form seems to be worse than ever, despite the goal he got on Sunday. He's sloppy in passing and shooting, loses the ball too much, doesn't get involved. Hence why Munir has gotten the nod over him so much and didn't yesterday for rotation purposes only.
    Hmm, as an indicator of Pedro's level, if you don't believe current Pedro is good enough to warrant being at Barca(bar for a super sub) where do you think he'd do well at? An Atlético or a Dortmund type side?
    In general, he has some undeniable qualities that I rate a lot, such as his footwork & technique, his workrate and defensive contribution, but overall, be it down to a lack of directness, too much unselfishness or his mentality or all those aspects, he's not the player to lead an attack, make things happen and create immediate danger. He's good to excellent as a sub and can do wonders to tire out teams and keep them occupied on the flanks, but has never really been much of a gamechanger. Even for Spain, most of the goals he scored in those high-scoring seasons were against relative minnows such as Panama, Belarus, Saudi-Arabia and result of good collective play rather than Pedro showing individual greatness.

    Good player but I think he would have been sold a while ago if it weren't for the la Masia status. With Sandro and Munir pushing through and looking up to the challenge, I think his time might come to an end sooner or later though.
    Hmm, so basically an Andre Schurrle type player? Yeah I get what you mean. Pedro is a guy who gets into positions and gets goals as a result of him being fast, hardworking and a good finisher but not really good enough to start, he's at an age where he should be coming to the fore but just isn't good enough to start.

    With the two pushing through, it's unlikely they'll make it as starters for a good 4 or 5 years. Best thing for their career would be to do a Fabregas and go on "loan" for a few years somewhere. Although I guess Barca B is a good place for development, they'd surely want to experience regular first team football, which in my honest I think will end the second Luis Suarez is brought into the team. Neymar while a top player doesn't have the profile of Luis Suarez in world football, while he's obviously not as good as Messi, I'd say he's another player who's undroppable when on form, it all depends on how he does.

    Also why has Vermaelen not played a minute of first team football? Is that just him assimilating to the culture too? I know he was mainly meant as a backup but you'd think at his age he'd want to be at least in with a shout for a first team place. There's a lot of depth and balance in the Barca squad now though.

    Yeah probably a mix of language, easing the pressure on him and keeping the competition stiff. I suspect he would have started in la liga if he hadn't been injured, though, but that said, Bravo hasn't done much wrong bar the clanger in preseason, so it would be unfair to drop him just like that.
    Bravo had a good game today. Good save from the freekick as he didn't have much time to see that. Bravo is old so I guess he'll be dropped sooner or later. You think he'll get the Casillas/Lopez style rotation or it'll be Ter Stegen just playing bar for Copa Del Rey? Defo a great backup keeper to have in Bravo regardless.
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