5 Positive Things We Learned from FC Barcelona's 2-2 Tie Against Real Sociedad
FC Barcelona tied 2-2 away at Real Sociedad's Anoeta Stadium and dropped two important points in what seemed like a won game in the first half. We've all heard what went wrong, but what about the good things shown Saturday?
You've all heard about overconfidence and Villa's mistake. What I'm giving you are the good things Barcelona showed in the first and how they will continue to develop for Barca into the 2011/12 season.
Also, last time I checked titles are won in May, not mid-September.
And there was definitely some positive stuff going on at Anoeta for Pep Guardiola's team.
Let's All Stop Guessing: There Will Be No Vintage XI
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Remember the Valdés-Alves-Piqué-Puyol-Abidal/Busquets-Xavi-Iniesta/Pedro-Messi-Villa we all knew from memory last season?
Well, you might as well erase that for good.
Newcomers Cesc, Alexis and Thiago are playing good enough to be starting already, and so are Adriano and Mascherano.
So who do you pick?
It'll be easy: Pep will just pick the ones that are more fit.
That means Alexis' (or somebody else's) injury won't be felt at all if there's not a SEVERE injury crisis at a a position.
But what about fans? Well we just won't be able to know who'll play until a few minutes before a match, which will translate to Fantasy Football hell and Bleacher Report previews for all of us.
The good part? Pep must be delighted to have this "problem."
No Messi, No Problem
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Messi started on the bench at Anoeta.
It should be a problem when you have the world's best on the bench, right?
Well, apparently wrong.
Cesc started in his role again and he put up Messi-like numbers, setting up a goal and scoring another.
With 2-0 on the scoreboard, Alexis, Pedro and Thiago also got their chance at the "False Nine" Messi role and enjoyed some success at it.
It wasn't Messi's absence that sunk Barça, it was overconfidence.
The confidence you get when you can still beat anybody easily without the world's best on the field
Fact is, this season Messi can finally rest and Barça won't suffer without him.
What they can't do is rest it out after scoring two on an away match.
4-3-3? 3-4-3? 2-1-6-1? 2-1-7? Do They Even Have a Formation Anymore?
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I consider myself to know a lot about tactics.
I have no clue where each player played at Anoeta.
There were four roles that were fixed: Busquets and Fontás as central defenders and Keita as a holding midfielders with Fábregas as a false nine. So a 2-1-6-1 it is, then?
But then even Fábregas started moving around, turning into an amazingly fluid 2-1-7.
It's no surprise either, given that even full backs can play as wingers, wingers can do it as midfielders and midfielders as wingers.
Barça's positional fluidity up front is amazing to watch, but will be a nightmare for tacticians like myself to figure out.
It will also bring some uneasy nights for every manager the night before he plays Barcelona.
Cesc Has Become the World's Second Best in Under a Month at Barça
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First, he put the "we don't need Cesc if we have Thiago" issues to rest in his first three appearances.
Under a month in, he's now already treading idol status at the Camp Nou.
Fabregas is also in the run for the world's best player, too. And it will be that way all season long.
So much for the "Cesc will fail too."
It was about time a signing from Arsenal paid off, really.
If Last Year's Was Best Ever...Now They're Even Better...
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Was Barcelona the best team ever last season?
I'll answer that for you: who cares.
This season they're even better. And if there was talk about putting this team among the historic teams in football, I can assure you it'll be back this season for sure.
I don't know if they'll win it all, as there are many factors that can end up in defeat. But I do know this: Barça will be in the running for every single title out there to be sure.
And it's not because of the salary disparity in Spain.
They're just better.
And we should be glad we're getting a chance to see them do it week in and week out.
At least when they don't stop playing in the first 45 minutes, right?
Follow Andrés Ehrli on Twitter! @ehrli