As Barcelona take on Manchester City on Wednesday night, there is no-one better than Pep Guardiola to pick apart the Catalan giants.
Sportsmail looks at what has worked for other teams and what tactics Pep might employ to end Luis Enrique’s incredible run of 12 out of 12 Champions League wins at home.
Throw a blanket over Busquets
Barcelona’s metronome midfielder, Sergio Busquets, has struggled by his own high standards this season as opposing sides look to put pressure on him when he has the ball. Both Borrusia Monchengladbach and Celta Vigo have scored from forcing his errors.
Luis Enrique had a long chat with the Barca No 5 during Tuesday’s training session and they both know he needs to move to ball quickly because Guardiola will set the dogs on him at every opportunity.
Back in the day Busquets always had Xavi alongside him but that connection is gone and the option of Dani Alves has also disappeared. He can be got at.
Remember the game lasts 90 minutes
It’s Guardiola’s style for his teams to show the maximum intensity right from the start of games but it will be worth remembering that Barca are carrying players who have just come back from injury, such as Jordi Alba, Sergio Roberto and Lionel Messi
Players such as Neymar and Luis Suarez will have plenty of air miles in the legs after the recent international breaks. If City can finish the game stronger physically they could take advantage of that.
Send them inside
That’s been a mantra throughout the last eight years of Barcelona domination in Spain and Europe – send them inside to the congested centre of the pitch where they can be squeezed out by an advancing defence and a retreating midfield.
It ought to be easier to do now that Alves has moved on, although right-back Sergi Roberto gave three assists in one game in a 5-0 win over Sporting recently. He is still no Alves and if he and Jordi Alba can be contained, Barca can sometimes be too narrow in attack for their own good.
Yeah right! One tactics piece in the Catalan press on Wednesday morning suggests Guardiola has a special plan to box Messi by having ‘several players very aware of what he is doing and where he is’. As Guardiola said before the match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich two years ago, Messi is ‘unstoppable’.
A more cynical coach in a more lenient age of refereeing might advise his team to take turns to foul him. Guardiola will not do that.
But he might make one important point pre-match – don’t get sent off! City have suffered red cards in the past against Barcelona, if it’s tough with 11 against them it’s a mountain to climb with 10.
Get in behind Barcelona’s advanced full-backs
It’s another classic from the anti-Barcelona text book, although much like ‘forcing them inside’ it’s been hard to put into practice over the years. Sergio Roberto and Jordi Alba both have a responsibility to offer width high up the pitch, so if Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane can expose the space they occasionally leave, City will cause problems.
Intensity and belief
City’s players will be entitled to look at Guardiola before the match and believe they can get something from this game. He will transmit the intensity and belief that Manuel Pellegrini could not.
Twice they have come to the Camp Nou as lambs to the slaughter. On Wednesday night, in contrast, they have the brains on the bench to pull off an inside job.
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