After a massive disappointing season, I’ve taken a break from writing till Euro 12 commences. But I’ve been reading quite a bit of football related stuff these days.
Rather than how Real Madrid and Chelsea won La Liga and Champions League, last season will be remembered for how Barcelona blew it up despite having so much talent at their disposal.
I also watched a lot of Barcelona matches and rather than focussing on their tactical aspects, like million other people got mesmerised by their possession play and intricate passing. Those who stayed awake could put 1+1 = 2 and rationalize Barcelona’s tactical approach. But how many of them went a step ahead and wrote book on How to beat them is hard to find.
Although Pep Guardiola has stepped down from the helm after conquering the world, I was sure that the myths about Barca’s tactics would’ve continued even in Tito Vilanova’s tenure as well. All that would’ve turned out to be true had I not come across “Objective Barcelona: How to beat the most powerful team in the world” by Bruno Miguel Espalha.
Bruno has been a lifelong Benfica fan from Lisbon. He’s been obsessed with this project and really an immense credit should go to him for writing down such a bold topic.
Incredibly easy to understand, the book isn’t even thick as your remote control. In just 55 pages, the book gives you complete understanding of how Barca’s ‘Tiki Taka’.
Initial part tells you how Tiki Taka was evolved from Cruyff’s total football. Best part about the book is with the help of graphics and actual still’s from the matches, author has so easily illustrated Guardiola’s 4-3-3 and experiment’s with 3-4-3 system. The book also breaks down his playing model focussing on Defensive Phase, Transitions and Offensive Phase.
Although Barça’s build up play from the back has been seen on TV thousand times, it is really interesting to actually refer to diagrams and read about it. Also with the help of tactical images and actual imagery it is very interesting to know how Barca narrow down the pitch and expand it depending on the situation. We must’ve heard pundits try to break down the system and speak about it, but it really sticks in your mind once you have it in hand with a language that is easy to understand.
Bruno dedicates next chapter exclusively to Dead Balls. How Barcelona executes their set pieces and how they defend against the opponents has been illustrated wonderfully.
Later in the book, Bruno has touched the points like How to defend against Barcelona, importance of pressing Busquets and stopping Messi. Last part of the book gives you complete analysis on how and When Barça has scored and conceded the goals since Pep Guardiola has taken charge.
On the website, he has done tremendous job on illustrating the tactics with the help of video clips. Watching those videos reminded me of Championship Manager’s match engine.
I’m including table of contents from this book, so the readers will know how deep the study and thought process has gone into it.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER I – INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER II – BEGINNING OF A DREAM
CHAPTER III – THE ARCHITECT
CHAPTER IV – THE ARTISTS – 2011/2012
CHAPTER V – GUARDIOLA’S TACTICAL SYSTEM
Description of the 4-3-3 System
Playing model implemented by Pep Guardiola
The 3-4-3 Experience
Fundamental characteristics of the players
CHAPTER VI – DEFENSIVE PHASE
CHAPTER VII – TRANSITIONS
CHAPTER VIII – OFFENSIVE PHASE
Build Up From The Back
Build Up From The Midfield
Build Up On The Final Third Of The Field
Lionel Messi Movements
CHAPTER IX – DEAD-BALLS
Kick-Off from Barcelona
Goal Kicks for Barcelona
Corner Kicks Against Barcelona
Corner Kicks for Barcelona
Wide Free Kicks Against Barcelona
CHAPTER X – STRATEGY TO ADOPT
How to Defend Against Barcelona
Defending in 4-3-3
Defending in 4-4-2
Pressing Sergi Busquets
CHAPTER XI – STATISTICS
Goals Scored and Conceded By Game Period
Goals Scored By Type
CHAPTER XII – THE FUTURE WITHOUT GUARDIOLA
The amount of time and effort has gone into this project of demystifying Barcelona has been incredible and it should be duly appreciated and rewarded.
It doesn’t really matter whether you are Barcelona fan or hate them to the core, the book is must read for all football lovers to know the mechanical process that goes in so the outcome is such a beautiful poetry.
I wonder whether the Author sent the rough draft of the book to Real Madrid and Chelsea clubs for review.
You can buy the book form Amazon.com and it comes for the Kindle too.
For easier reference, I’m including few details about the book so that the readers can have a quick look and get their own copy.
Author: Bruno Miguel Espalha
Objective Barcelona: How To Beat The Best Team In The World
© 2012, Bruno Miguel Espalha (firstname.lastname@example.org)