It’s a difficult task for any football enthusiast to “sober up” after witnessing one of the best comebacks in the history of the game. We got back to our day to day life, but the essence of that magical night will be recalled as the one which pulled off a vital turn-around in FC Barcelona’s philosophy.
Luis Enrique, the man who has already declared about his departure from the Catalan giants, before the astounding game was all set for a hundred-to-one comeback, as he declared in a press-conference that Barca can score six goals against their Parisian Champions League rivals.
There are a lot of opinions regarding Barcelona’s rebound, and part of them is keen on interpreting it inaccurately according to me. One of those interpretations sounds, for example like: FC Barcelona put in a brilliant showcase of their old-school traits, what I think is completely wrong. Why? That’s because Luis Enrique for the first time started the game with a whole-hog, revolutionary 3-4-3 formation that annihilated the opponent in the midfield and winded up the offensive moves and opponent’s mistakes extremely accurate.
In the previous games, when Enrique opted for formations with “three at back”, he used to start Sergi Roberto with a view to keep going with defensive balance, as the Spaniard could easily switch the game to a well-known 4-3-3 in case of a mess. In the match against Celta we witnessed a monumental triumph, sealed by the Catalan superstars with Messi and co’ being all above the opponent. Enrique’s final word was to start the game against PSG with a categorical 3-4-3 formation with three actual centre-backs.
This formation elucidated Barcelona’s two super colossal issues.
The first one was the right-back issue, which has revealed a pretty vulnerable Barcelona hit by Alves’s departure. Sergi Roberto was pushed to the wall to make for Dani’s spot, without being naturally instructed. The Spaniard kept losing the ball under pressure and being offensively weak on that flank. What a 3-4-3 formation unshakable offered Luis Enrique’s men were two overpowered flanks that positioned themselves more distant from the defensive line, adding more dynamism to attack. After each successful pressing maneuver coming from the midfield, the flanks were doomed to instantly burst out in attack. That was much more undemanding in as much as wingers acted closer to the midfield itself.
Apart from starting the last game on the bench, Sergi Roberto came on the field and scored, probably the most important goal of his career.
Another matter of contention, which Luis Enrique got rid of using the 3-4-3 diamond formation prevailed the midfield. A quite vulnerable midfield we witnessed in the first leg of the Champions League clash against PSG. Barcelona’s contenders looked choked by Veratti, Rabiot and Matuidi, and almost every time when Iniesta or Gomes went forward, Busquets didn’t manage to take on the danger mounting from PSG’s counter-attacks.
Lucho’s decision to play Rakitic in this game worked out. The Croatian showed himself as a willing runner, linking up with both flanks and giving a helping hand to Busquets when clearing up after ball losses.