Barcelona of 2015 are the greatest club side in history Watch

Poll: Who is the greatest club side of the modern era?
Barcelona 2015 (9)
16.07%
Bayern 2013 (7)
12.5%
Barcelona 2009-2011 (20)
35.71%
Other (6)
10.71%
Arsenal fans take over this poll like every other on the internet (14)
25%
iodo345
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#21
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#21
NO, Coventry city are the greatest side in history actually
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jam277
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#22
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#22
This team is better than Peps team, but the greatest side I've seen is the Bayern 2013 side. They found ways to control games like no other and adapt to any opponent. Watching them vs Arsenal at the Emirates or vs Barcelona and I knew I was witnessing something special. It was like the perfectly oiled machine. When a player is injured another comes straight in and does the job(Gomez comes in for Mandzukic, Gustavo for Martinez, Robben for Kroos when Kroos got injured).

This Barcelona side has a similar feel to it but you lose a lot from e.g. Suarez for Pedro while you didn't lose anywhere near as much when Kroos got replaced by Robben around march time 2013, similarly how Gustavo and Martinez rotated early on, however I don't think they'll match this next season. Highly doubt they'll get to this same level with this team again without a few changes(inb4 it's only Alves that needs changing and Barcelona will buy Koke), but credit due where it's due. Fantastic season from a group of fantastic players.

Would love to see this Barcelona side vs Heynckes Bayern. That would be a fantastic match of football.
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H_MO
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#23
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#23
[QUOTE=Pimped Butterfly;56681287]I said 'in history' to get your attention. I have no way of telling you if they're better than Cruyff's Ajax, Beckenbauer's Bayern, Paisley's Liverpool or Di Stefano's Madrid, because not me, nor anyone else on these boards saw them play.

But this Barca side are definitely the best side of the modern era.

They have a CB and keeper combo that conceded just 21 all season in the league, two of the best four fullbacks of the decade, and a midfield boasting the world's best DM, one of the great box-to-box players of today, and the best midfield partnership in living memory.

And up front... it's early days, but I think they could well be the greatest attack of all time. Boasting the talisman of the Brazilian national team and scorer of 39 goals this season, the best striker since Ronaldo Fenomeno at his peak, and, in Messi, the greatest player of all time, having perhaps his greatest season ever.

I think they'd wipe the floor with any other team in recent history. Man for man and on the pitch.

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World's best DM, u having a laugh mate. Busquets is nowhere near that level. IMO Matic is the best DM in the world
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jam277
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#24
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#24
Busquetts arguably has better technical ability than Matic(although I think that's more down to Matic being given simple instructions as he's a good ball player) but don't think there's too much between them. Positioning wise they're both sound, just that Busquetts is better technically while Matic is a better aggressive DM.

Matic, Busquetts, Martinez and Mascherano are the best DMs atm.
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Bubzeh
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#25
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#25
Thing is, this Barca side are just getting going. At the moment I still prefer Bayern's side under the old manager better.
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AbdulKoyes
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#26
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#26
Prefer Pep's Barca to Enrique's, though overall I love Bayern 2013 the most. They were sensational
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Dr. Django
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#27
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#27
(Original post by jam277)

Matic, Busquetts, Martinez and Mascherano are the best DMs atm.
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jam277
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#28
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#28
(Original post by Dr. Django)
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Best DM ever is Paulo Souza though.
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Bubzeh
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#29
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#29
Usually I'd be ok with somebody saying Matic, Busquetts, Martinez and Mascherano are the best DM's in the world but since Jam said it, I'm going to have to YouTube them all again just to make sure.
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tengentoppa
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#30
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#30
The original galacticos have to go down as the most entertaining team in modern history. Sure there was no balance to the team after Makelele left and the defending was embarrassing at times but the link up between Zidane, Figo, Raul, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos etc. was absolutely beautiful.

If we're talking best, then Madrid 1998-2002 are the only team in the modern era to win 3 champions leagues in 6 years, but because the team changed so markedly in that time it would not be right to call that the best team. Given no alternative springs to mind, I will withhold opinion on what the best team of the modern era is.
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Pimped Butterfly
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#31
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#31
Matic has never shown the ability to control the game like Busquets is doing now. Busquets' technique is far better. Defensively they're roughly the same, but Busquets' domination of the ball (65 passes at 90 last night) has him over Matic.
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Zerforax
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#32
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#32
Like every great side, teams will eventually work out how to negate this Barca side or they themselves will lose a bit of edge (if one of MSN start to lose form or get a few injuries).
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jam277
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#33
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#33
(Original post by Pimped Butterfly)
Matic has never shown the ability to control the game like Busquets is doing now. Busquets' technique is far better. Defensively they're roughly the same, but Busquets' domination of the ball (65 passes at 90 last night) has him over Matic.
At Benfica he was controlling games very well manner(e.g. Benfica 2013 europa league run). He wasn't just your typical tough tackling DM and used to push further up too. Matic is having to make slightly more expansive passes too. While his midfield/forward line isn't as good as Barcelona's.

http://www.squawka.com/comparison-ma...ards/blocks#90
On a purely statistical level for the key stats you'd want in a defensive midfielder, they're quite equal. This is not even including the fact that Barcelona's midfield/forward line are much better than Chelsea's midfield/forward line.
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Pimped Butterfly
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#34
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#34
(Original post by jam277)
At Benfica he was controlling games very well manner(e.g. Benfica 2013 europa league run). He wasn't just your typical tough tackling DM and used to push further up too. Matic is having to make slightly more expansive passes too. While his midfield/forward line isn't as good as Barcelona's.

http://www.squawka.com/comparison-ma...ards/blocks#90
On a purely statistical level for the key stats you'd want in a defensive midfielder, they're quite equal. This is not even including the fact that Barcelona's midfield/forward line are much better than Chelsea's midfield/forward line.
The difference here, even though most stats are roughly equal (ie not the ones you've cherry picked, but defensive ones on the whole) is that Barcelona have possession for 70% of a game, meaning Busquets only has 27 minutes per game to do any defensive work in. Whereas Matic's Chelsea have 52% possession, and Matic has 43 minutes to do his defensive work in. Which means Busquets is getting equal stats in 63% of game time. So either this is a testament to Busquets recovering the ball quicker, or it's a testament to him being more effective in the little time he has. AND it's easier to get better defensive stats in PL football - there are more turnovers in the PL, teams aren't as good in possession, etc.

As I've said before anyway, defensive stats aren't the be all and end all, at all. They're misleading and deceptive. And as I've said already, I wouldn't have much between Matic and Busquets defensively, they're probably equal to my mind. Matic's physicality is a big boost. But Busquets is better on the ball. Xavi has gone from the team and his playmaking duties are shared now between Messi and Busquets, and Busquets does it brilliantly. Matic, in the same scenario, couldn't. He doesn't have the technique that Busquets does, and nor is he accustomed to Barca's style quite as well. Could Busquets do what Matic does for Chelsea? Maybe, probably. He's a bit less athletic and that'd count against him but I think his defensive output would probably remain the same.
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Vae
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#35
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#35
(Original post by jam277)
Bayern 2013 [...] When a player is injured another comes straight in and does the job(Gomez comes in for Mandzukic, Gustavo for Martinez, Robben for Kroos when Kroos got injured).

This Barcelona side has a similar feel to it but you lose a lot from e.g. Suarez for Pedro while you didn't lose anywhere near as much when Kroos got replaced by Robben around march time 2013, similarly how Gustavo and Martinez rotated early on
Until now, that's a purely hypothetical argument as we didn't get to see Barcelona needing to cope without one of the key players, so it's difficult to use that against Barcelona/in Bayern's favour when comparing the teams in their actual performance. It hasn't played any role. And in case you're referring to the time when Suárez was banned, Bayern didn't exactly look like you're describing them in the first half of the 2012/13 season either.

The fact that there have been no serious injuries to key players isn't just good fortune but for a good part down to Lucho's man management and his fitness and rotational plan too. Of course injuries are often just bad luck and to some extent just uncontrollable, so there has been a certain amount of luck, but considering how much work he put into the collective & individual fitness management and what risks he took, he gets much too little credit for how healthy his team is. Is Barcelona's inferior squad depth to Bayern's 2013 relevant at all if they don't actually need it thanks to (for a big part) that good work? A team's healthiness is also a factor to consider.

(Original post by jam277)
however I don't think they'll match this next season. Highly doubt they'll get to this same level with this team again without a few changes(inb4 it's only Alves that needs changing and Barcelona will buy Koke), but credit due where it's due. Fantastic season from a group of fantastic players.

Would love to see this Barcelona side vs Heynckes Bayern. That would be a fantastic match of football.
Why do the changes seem so difficult to you? There is one position that needs direct working on if Alves decides to go, the other (Iniesta's) can wait a bit and isn't as tricky. Hardly impossible to do. The club can register players in the next January window, and deals for then are already being closed (Aleix Vidal seemingly as good as done, negotiations with a number of midfielders). Wihout Alves, Adriano, Bartra and Montoya are capable of doing the job until January and, with the routine they'd gain until then, probably even beyond that for however long it takes whoever comes in to blossom. Not to mention that there are a number of youngsters/returning loanees who fit into the positions in question.

If Alves stays, I don't even think any change is needed for the time being (other than some squad depth 'just in case'). This current team hasn't reached its full potential yet, and the areas that need further improvement don't require a change in personnel but for the current game plan to be rehearsed more. Lucho found his mix only sometime in the beginning of the calendar year, since then there's been constant progress, with some elements reaching perfection, e.g. the front three, but others still being on their way. Considering the constant development the team has taken since then and the direction of that development, it seems that all is needed is more time for the team to grow into the formation and some tactical adjustments here and there. I'm talking about the midfield movement. Lucho's idea has been to alter the midfield's role from being the defining factor to providing support to a dominant front three, and that has worked well, but could further improve by Rakitic and Iniesta/Rafinha becoming more rehearsed with each other and the FBs etc. Of course more depth would be better, but it's not a make or break necessity atm. All that is supposing Lucho stays, he seems to wait for elections.
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Zander01
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#36
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#36
Are there any sites taking bets for the winner of next years CL?
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Pimped Butterfly
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#37
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#37
(Original post by Vae)
Why do the changes seem so difficult to you? There is one position that needs direct working on if Alves decides to go, the other (Iniesta's) can wait a bit and isn't as tricky. Hardly impossible to do. The club can register players in the next January window, and deals for then are already being closed (Aleix Vidal seemingly as good as done, negotiations with a number of midfielders).
I said the same. Alves and Iniesta are the only possible 'threats' to the team, and Iniesta's seems to be a mental issue, coping with his wife's tragedy, so there's a good chance that he'll get back to peak levels (I think he's shown improvement in the last few months and obviously last night he was great).
Wihout Alves, Adriano, Bartra and Montoya are capable of doing the job until January and, with the routine they'd gain until then, probably even beyond that for however long it takes whoever comes in to blossom. Not to mention that there are a number of youngsters/returning loanees who fit into the positions in question.
Bartra at RB? Adriano is obviously a great squad player for Barca but I can't help but think that you're underrating Alves' contribution. Montoya has stagnated too. Alves takes more touches than any other Barca player, is obviously crucial to Messi's role in the side and has fantastic interplay with him, and this season I think we've seen a few more self-made driving runs forward from him, than when he was at his best and known for the famous runs in behind. I think he's playing near peak levels (even if he's less swashbuckling) and downgrading to Montoya for half a season or more would be a pretty big blow. Alves really showed his worth last night, that header against Llorente was magnificent. Obviously there's no guarantee that Alves will continue playing at the level he is right now.
Considering the constant development the team has taken since then and the direction of that development, it seems that all is needed is more time for the team to grow into the formation and some tactical adjustments here and there. I'm talking about the midfield movement. Lucho's idea has been to alter the midfield's role from being the defining factor to providing support to a dominant front three, and that has worked well, but could further improve by Rakitic and Iniesta/Rafinha becoming more rehearsed with each other and the FBs etc. Of course more depth would be better, but it's not a make or break necessity atm. All that is supposing Lucho stays, he seems to wait for elections.
What in midfield can really be improved? Is Rakitic capable of producing Xaviesta levels of possession skills and domination? You say 'rehearsed' but surely that comes with playing time, and there's been plenty of time for that this season. There's almost definitely a need for depth in midfield, a long term injury to Rakitic could be pretty costly, Seydou Keita would be perfect to still have, perfect squad player for Pep too. Losing Xavi is a huge blow, is Rafinha ready to play regularly?
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joey11223
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#38
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#38
(Original post by Zander01)
Are there any sites taking bets for the winner of next years CL?
Plenty I'd imagine, I know WilliamHill is, you can get Barca to win Cl next year at 3/1 and you get 1/2 odds for runner up (so in the final but lose), so decent return as long as they're in that final game, which seems pretty good IMO.

Might do a few for a laugh, you can get Chelsea 9/1, City 12/1, Arsenal 16/1.
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jam277
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#39
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(Original post by Vae)
Until now, that's a purely hypothetical argument as we didn't get to see Barcelona needing to cope without one of the key players, so it's difficult to use that against Barcelona/in Bayern's favour when comparing the teams in their actual performance. It hasn't played any role. And in case you're referring to the time when Suárez was banned, Bayern didn't exactly look like you're describing them in the first half of the 2012/13 season either.
Yeah I was talking about the time Suarez was banned with that comment.

I guess Barcelona dealt with fitness issues very well. Enrique with Messi e.g. and him getting Suarez to peak physical fitness levels.

The fact that there have been no serious injuries to key players isn't just good fortune but for a good part down to Lucho's man management and his fitness and rotational plan too. Of course injuries are often just bad luck and to some extent just uncontrollable, so there has been a certain amount of luck, but considering how much work he put into the collective & individual fitness management and what risks he took, he gets much too little credit for how healthy his team is. Is Barcelona's inferior squad depth to Bayern's 2013 relevant at all if they don't actually need it thanks to (for a big part) that good work? A team's healthiness is also a factor to consider.
Yeah, credit to Lucho for that. Tbh the injuries part was more why I liked the Bayern team more, it didn't feel like the team was reliant on any individual(while MSN there's a fair amount of reliance on them). How they seemed to deal with injury issues quite well. But how you deal with injuries wouldn't really affect who would win in a hypothetical game anyway.

Why do the changes seem so difficult to you? There is one position that needs direct working on if Alves decides to go, the other (Iniesta's) can wait a bit and isn't as tricky. Hardly impossible to do. The club can register players in the next January window, and deals for then are already being closed (Aleix Vidal seemingly as good as done, negotiations with a number of midfielders). Wihout Alves, Adriano, Bartra and Montoya are capable of doing the job until January and, with the routine they'd gain until then, probably even beyond that for however long it takes whoever comes in to blossom. Not to mention that there are a number of youngsters/returning loanees who fit into the positions in question.
By maintaining the levels of this season, I mean emulating the treble, not as in their performance levels will drop.

In all honesty I think in 2 years time there may be a few problems, the CBs would be (30, 32, 31(Vermaelen) and 33), may be tough to play a high line and keeping up pressure with attacking play with the physicality of the CBs possibly declining. Also if Alves stays he'll be 34 then. For next season may not be too many problems. I'm more talking about the comments on here assuming Barcelona will just win treble after treble until the end of the decade.

If Alves stays, I don't even think any change is needed for the time being (other than some squad depth 'just in case'. This current team hasn't reached its full potential yet, and the areas that need further improvement don't require a change in personnel but for the current game plan to be rehearsed more. Lucho found his mix only sometime in the beginning of the calendar year, since then there's been constant progress, with some elements reaching perfection, e.g. the front three, but others still being on their way. Considering the constant development the team has taken since then and the direction of that development, it seems that all is needed is more time for the team to grow into the formation and some tactical adjustments here and there. I'm talking about the midfield movement. Lucho's idea has been to alter the midfield's role from being the defining factor to providing support to a dominant front three, and that has worked well, but could further improve by Rakitic and Iniesta/Rafinha becoming more rehearsed with each other and the FBs etc. Of course more depth would be better, but it's not a make or break necessity atm. All that is supposing Lucho stays, he seems to wait for elections.
I had the feeling that the rotation and keeping fitness for the business end of the season was Lucho's plan? With the transfer ban it may be a bit more risky to try the same rotation policy even though it worked this season. If Aleix is coming in Jan e.g. I'd assume that Lucho may not be too up for that level of rotation so early on.

Also while Rakitic has had a great season, where do you feel he can improve? Do you think he has the potential to get to the level Xavi was e.g.
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Vae
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#40
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(Original post by Pimped Butterfly)
I said the same. Alves and Iniesta are the only possible 'threats' to the team, and Iniesta's seems to be a mental issue, coping with his wife's tragedy, so there's a good chance that he'll get back to peak levels (I think he's shown improvement in the last few months and obviously last night he was great).
His only getting into form for the crucial part of the season has become a pattern in the last few seasons, so I'm not sure he'll consistently return to his peak form. The current set up doesn't get the best out of him either. When he does get into the flow, he's still amazing though and probably worth relying on for that. Sooner or later this will be the main issue to solve. Until then I suppose Rafinha and Denis can help ease the buden on him a bit, and in an ideal world a fully-developed Halilovic would be the ideal replacement on the longer term, not to mention some players who could be realistic transfers at some point. If it's just mental, even better.

(Original post by Pimped Butterfly)
Bartra at RB? Adriano is obviously a great squad player for Barca but I can't help but think that you're underrating Alves' contribution. Montoya has stagnated too. Alves takes more touches than any other Barca player, is obviously crucial to Messi's role in the side and has fantastic interplay with him, and this season I think we've seen a few more self-made driving runs forward from him, than when he was at his best and known for the famous runs in behind. I think he's playing near peak levels (even if he's less swashbuckling) and downgrading to Montoya for half a season or more would be a pretty big blow. Alves really showed his worth last night, that header against Llorente was magnificent. Obviously there's no guarantee that Alves will continue playing at the level he is right now.
"Doing the job" doesn't mean they "adequately replace Alves" or "make Alves forgotten", let alone be a preferrable alternative to him, so there's no underrating here. Alves' chemistry with Messi, his overall link up ability in attack and his role as a character within the team are unique and irreplacable. What I did say was that those players are capable of filling in at RB until January without causing bigger damage.

Bartra has played as a RB for the youth teams (incl. under Lucho) and occasionally for the first team, and he has the attributes to play that position well. He'd resemble Abidal more than Alves but would have a good counterpart in Alba; his understanding with Messi is one thing that looked promising about him too. It's the least likely and preferrable option, but with 5 CBs available something that isn't entirely unrealistic. Montoya's "stagnation" coincided with less and less playing time, so there's nothing to suggest he couldn't regain form when actually given the chance consistently. Guess he'll be off eventually though. Adriano is a squad player like you say, but not horrible enough to actually blow the team's hopes until the winter break.

Also, Alves's return to form isn't coincidential. He's profited from Lucho 'sacrificing' Rakitic and altering the set up to help Alves profit more from his strengths and hide his (still existent) weaknesses. So the flipside of replacing him with an RB who provides less in attack and more defensive awareness might be that the CMs' roles change again, which would make up for it to some extent. If Lucho has shown one thing, it is the ability to make the best with the tools at his disposal rather than implementing his very own preferred style.

That Alves should stay is not in question (and not out of question if we're believing this morning's MD), it isn't for the club either. Too bad they went about this in the most inconsiderate manner.


(Original post by Pimped Butterfly)
What in midfield can really be improved? Is Rakitic capable of producing Xaviesta levels of possession skills and domination? You say 'rehearsed' but surely that comes with playing time, and there's been plenty of time for that this season.
I'm talking about the (micro)tactical level and not individual improvement, so it's not about playing time, but consistency. And the midfield set up has only had consistency from January or so onwards. Before, the CMs' roles changed every few months with Lucho trying to find the right balance between defensive stability on the wings, a good amount of link-up in the middle and putting just the right amount of work on Messi's shoulders. Rakitic himself has said how demanding he has found it to not only work on his technical ability but to adapt completely to whoever it is who is playing alongside him in his utility role (while also having to babysit Alves), as opposed to the play being built around him as an attacking player at Sevilla. That confusedness showed until the dynamics clicked. Iniesta struggled even longer (not just on an individual level) and has only recently found the right balance between his don play and the support role. On top of that, there are dynamics that involve the adapted movement of defenders and Busquets. All of those processes would be even more automated and thus less error-prone & more consistent if they are rearsed even more than just 4-5 months.

(Original post by Pimped Butterfly)
There's almost definitely a need for depth in midfield, a long term injury to Rakitic could be pretty costly, Seydou Keita would be perfect to still have, perfect squad player for Pep too.
Of course there is a need for depth, which is why I said: "other than squad depth just in case"; a Rakitic long-term injury would be such a case. That doesn't mean that the starting XI for the crucial matches need changes like Gündogan, Koke or Pogba for now and that the transfer ban is thus a major problem in that context, which was my point.

(Original post by Pimped Butterfly)
Losing Xavi is a huge blow, is Rafinha ready to play regularly?
Well, was Xavi really still capable of playing regularly to the required level? He wasn't. There clearly is the need for another top midfielder, but that was the case before his exit as well, so losing him at his current level doesn't have to be a huge blow in that context if the other current players can fulfill a similar rotational role to him this season. So the question is more whether the current squad players like Rafinha are ready to do that. I'd say probably yes, when actually getting the minutes. Of course Xavi isn't comparable to the current squad players, but that gap in quality potentially might be reduced a bit by whoever gets Xavi's minutes improving from the increased playing time and would only be noticable once Rakitic does get injured before January anyway. Obviously it means 1 player less, but most likely others will be recalled/integrated (Denis, Samper).

The name that should be mentioned in this context is Roberto though. He's grown to be a decent and quite reliable squad & rotational player. Unlike Rafa, he's versatile enough to chip in at all 3 midfield positions, has the loyalty and motivation to be happy in such a rotational role and seems to be the most suitable back-up to Busquets. He isn't as talented as Rafinha or Thiago but has found a place in the squad with Lucho, and I can see him growing into that role even more if he gets the time that Xavi did this season. Rafinha's future will likely be decided next season; he's more talented than Roberto but also a lot more limited; he can chip in at AM and for the attacking positions à la Cesc though. Denis might be returning early and Samper will hopefully/probably be integrated into the first team more now that the B team got relegated, and he, while unproven, comes as close to Xavi in terms of style and skillset as it gets. None of those is long-term starter material, but they are (to varying extent) capable of providing some depth until January/on the long term in Roberto's case.

As for that extra midfielder that needs to come in, the club has been working on that since last summer and the rumoured targets are all decent enough/not out of reach, so it's not unsolvable. Question is whether those deals could be finalised this summer as the board is resigning today/soon and the new board (:crossedf:) might be looking at different players altogether.
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