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After Two Competitive Match, I've Declared Argentina's Barca Replication Plan Has Failed
Juno (AC Milan) 5 years ago
Yes. Checho Batista has failed.

Although I am not one who likes to see coaches being sacked without given time to mould the team, in this instance, Checho managed to fail so spectacularly, he deserve to be hang if he can't rectify the situation before they are kicked out of Copa.

1. The attacks of Tevez, Messi, and Levezzi has failed.
Tevez and Levezzi playing on the either side of Messi is supposed to replicate that of Villa and Pedro of Barcelona. Yet, when this two players gets the ball, Tevez runs himself into the middle with the ball, inviting tackles. Levezzi, on the other flank, ran straight towards nowhere, even though at times, you would have thought he should apply some brakes to relieve the pressure upon him by covering fullbacks. Both play without looking for support whereas Villa and Pedro do. Messi, on his part was starved of supply. He has retreated to the middle of the pitch to get himself into play to create openings for Levezzi(two matches in a row this has been the only real combination between the 3 strikers). At no time, did I saw the support was reciprocal. The trio also do not know how to pressure collectively on the defenders.

2. The midfield trio of Mascherano, Cambiasso, and Banega does not know how to control the tempo
With two combative midfielders in the form of Cambiasso and Mascherano, you would have thought that at least Benega would be further forward to dictate play. No. All 3 was so deep that Messi has to become the fulcrum to the midfield's problem. And seriously, with Cambiasso, Mascherano around, who are they suppose to replicate in the Barca model? Benega has the skills and technique to play Iniesta's role, but Mascherano and Cambiasso as Xavi and Busquet? Failed. Both lacked the vision and first touch to provide what is needed in the respective roles.

3. The defence are slow, positioning suspected, and crack under pressure and passing
I couldn't recall there are how many clear-cut chances that Colombia has in this match. Not taking them is almost a sin. Argentina's defence is ridiculous slow at international level. The pressuring of forwards seems non-existent at times. And when they defend, they does so scrambling back. Hardly any composure or positioning. The worst thing about this "Oceanic level" defence is that they cracked under pressure from the strikers. Millito and Burdisso, centre backs that commit the worse crime in football defending. Passing the ball without measured quality(Mistakes hardly committed by Puyol or Pique). Both resulted in open clear cut situation that was only saved by Romero. And when Colombia attacks strings the passing together, they ran like headless chickens. Generally unsupported (really!) by the fullbacks and midfields(even though they sit so back). Fullback supports from Zabaleta is horrendous. Providing support on the flank up the field, yet when he got the ball, he ran the ball back towards his own goals on numerous occasion. He is not Alves we know, but still, that's not support really. Zanetti.... Pretty invisible at times.... Nowhere to be seen in attacks and defence.

4. Goalkeeper.
Romero is the only one you can't really fault much in the 2 matches so far. He has fantastic reaction and reflexes, but doesn't organised his defence well, which most probably resulted in the number of shots taken at him.

Now that the first plan failed spectacularly, Checho's plan be comes into effect. Gago, Higuain and Aguero. Fair to say that after they are substituted in, Argentina passing started to get a grip. With the exception of Aguero(he's a like-for-like replacement - dribbler), the other two are not dribble pigs. Gago and Higuain thrives on support. And it resulted in creating wider play in effect. But the play has done the same as plan A. Not bringing Messi into play, and rendering him helpless and useless at times.

Checho needs to sort out his tactics and formation soon, or they'll be kicked out of Copa in no time.

Some of the things he needs to tweak includes:
1. Allowing only one of Tevez, Levezzi, Aguero or Di Maria on the pitch. These players neglect team play and sought individual glory by dribbling all day. With Messi, its one constant dribbler(but at least he passes). With another 2 on the pitch, its too one dimension - All the forwards will dribble at you! There's no variety in attack.

2. Cambiasso and Mascherano- There can only be one.
Allowing 2 combative midfielders around limit the creativity from midfield. Both are not Vieira type of dribbler who can break up plays and create play. Allowing Benega and Gago plus one from Cam and Mas would complement the attack well.

3. Defence is hopeless. Do something. Get everyone back, or get everyone to defend from the front. Do it collectively. Not singularly harassing defenders or attackers. Do it collectively! Also, keep fullbacks from venturing up the field too much as the lack of pace all round for the 4 defenders makes fans get heart attacks for watching them defend. Try to utilise the midfield for attacks without involving the back four. They are enough problems on their own. Try not to create more by leaving them up there.

4. If Checho recognise Messi as his main man, then learn where to place Messi alongside Higuain. This is the only system that might work here. Batista needs to make sure the sideshows need to make decoy runs away from the centre so that Messi can work his magic. If not, all the opponents will just cram in the middle awaiting Messi's dribbles. Messi is fantastic, the world's best player today but he is not Maradona. In today's context, even Maradona cannot lead this mediocre team to titles. The football now needs coordination. Without that, Messi can't shine.
LumpOfCelery (Chelsea) 5 years ago
What about playing Pastore, thoughts on that?
Juno (AC Milan) 5 years ago
If I'm playing Pastore, there won't be a place for Aguero and Tevez. And the Midfield 4 has gotta' be one Benega in the centre of the park, Di Maria on the left, Messi on the right, and one of Mas or Cam or Gago to partner Benega. With Gago, it will mean the midfield lacks bite. Higuain has to start up front. Di Maria and Messi to provide the width, and Pastore dictate through centre of the midfield triangle. In essence a 4-2-3-1 formation. Problem with that is that Messi will not be in the thick of action. Instead, he'll be shifted to the side. In that case, Checho should rather build the team around Pastore's preference, as most action will pass through him then. And I'm not sure if Checho trust the lad enough to do that. Granted, being the best does not mean the team has to revolve around you, if the personnel at disposal couldn't suit Messi's play, its better to change his position around to suit the team
Sam6194 (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Nicely written an detailed analysis have to be appreciated.... !
Alanbroo (Arsenal) 5 years ago
What about playing Pastore, thoughts on that?
Tomthedon (Arsenal) 5 years ago
I completely agree with number 1! Too many cooks spoil the broth and Argentina are awash with attacking cooks.

With that said, the Aguero goal in their first match was stunning (if not abit late). Maybe just run with Ageuro?
Juno (AC Milan) 5 years ago
Yeah, agreed too. Tevez and Levezzi seems to work too hard at the moment. Not hitting any form for either
Tomthedon (Arsenal) 5 years ago
Such a strange situation they're in. They argueably have the best attack in the world, with probably 3-4 of those in the form of their life, and yet they can't score for love nor money. Who would have thought it
JulioFC (Inter Milan) 5 years ago
Higuain, Aguero & Di Maria should be replacing Tevez, Lavezzi & either Cam or Mas. I think they've been given enough chances to prove them selves. They failed so now they have to give the other guys a chance. The same goes for Banega. Give Pastore a chance. But like I've always said, with Argentina & Brazil, if you don't have many options then you can't be picky. Argentina brought a horrible defence to this tournament. They left Samuel, Heinze, Demichelis & Otamendi out for Milito, Burdisso & Zabaleta. You know, there's a reason why milito doesn't start for Barca. A 40% fit Samuel is still 10x better than Milito & Burdisso. The same goes for Brazil. Ronaldinho, Kaka & Hulk were left out for Jadson, Elias & Fred. Are you kidding me? Brazil & Argentina need to take this tournament more seriously
Juno (AC Milan) 5 years ago
They are both in different degree, preparing their team for the big one - World Cup 2014 Brazil. As such, to bring a squad of experience to win a tourney that is regarded as only the prelude warm up to the qualification route is ill-advised. To qualify for World cup is a must for Argentina, to win the world cup at home is a must for Argentina.

Granted, for Argies, they should bring more quality into the defence because they need to break the duck for failing to win any titles since the 1993 Copa.

Tony (footytube staff) 5 years ago
You just can't start playing the barca way, a lot of these barca players know what each other had for breakfast, the nucleus of the team have been brought up to play in this fashion since they were teenagers, so I don't expect you can just hand pick a lot of good passing midfielders from around the world, nevermind argentina and expect to play like barca, it just won't happen, I think a lot of people in football are getting hung up on the way barca play, my advice is.... Play your own game, your never gonna' replicate barcelona overnight, you need to start at your clubs academy, even then, theres no gaurantee
Juno (AC Milan) 5 years ago
That's where Checho fails. He announced his plan for replication on the hope that Messi's form can be replicated on the international level, and got egged for it
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Cheers Tone the nail just got knocked out it's head was hit so hard
Tony (footytube staff) 5 years ago
Although barca are nice on the eye, wouldnt it be boring if everyone played like that?  It would no longer be the novelty it is now
Juno (AC Milan) 5 years ago
Sometimes I rather see team attempt the cavalier style of 1999 Man United if they couldn't replicate Barca. At least you win beautiful, even though without possession...
Kimaway17 (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Well trying to play like Barcelona won't just happen over night. These guys have been playing with each other ever since they were like 10 years old. So they know their every move. Argentina need to change their midfield and attack and more importantly the formation. Batista should change from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1. He should drop Cambiasso and Play Mascherano and Banega as the two central mids. Then He should shift Messi out to the right and Di Maria to the left and instruct them to keep switching through out the match. Then Pastore should play as the Trequitista in behind either Tevez or Huigain. I'm pretty sure that that team will be Costa Rica at least 3-1
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Man I miss the Argentina of the 2006 WC, they were exciting to watch. The talent level is similar on this team, no Riquelme but Tevez and Aguero are near the same level of Crespo. And Di Maria I would think should play better than Maxi, though that strike against Mexico is still legend. Messi looked inspired in that tournament, skipping around players, making them look sad, and he was 17 than haha. I think he only started one match. It's not like Argentina is horrible, they won the 2008 olympics, granted a very different tournament, still you just feel like the attitude in camp is terrible. Gus Hiddink go and manage Argentina

This video I still love watching

I just wish people would stop criticising the guy he's the man. Clearly the problem lies with the whole team and the coach there is no trust or chemistry. I guess being an alien on a football pitch is a blessing and a curse though haha
Juno (AC Milan) 5 years ago
Yes, I love the 2006 Argentina with Riquelme. Classic playmaker controlled pacing kind of football. Thing is they got counter-attacked to doom when faced with Brazil
Sam6194 (Liverpool) 5 years ago
I loved how mourinho's techniques with cambiasso and zenettti worked....

Cos their efforts to defend barca in last season's champions league were appreciable.... And Argentina have loads of talent if utilized properly.... Maria, have to say he is good but have seen hint of selfishness in him, and when you are part of a team selflessness if the most important thing.... Masch was roaming around and literally clueless....

Somehow due to individual skill of messi and some others, argentina did managed to get forward but as soon as they lost the ball recovery actions where null. And how many times argentina got penetrated so easily.... Central midfielder where useless.... Everything came to centre backs....

Juno (AC Milan) 5 years ago
Seems like Checho heeded my advice. Look at the line up today.

Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Burdisso, Gabriel Milito, Zanetti; Gago, Mascherano; Aguero, Messi, Di Maria; Higuain

. Argentina still needs fine tuning but they already starts playing like they should. I don't know if they can score more than the 3 goals now because I'm leaving for work now.

But as I mentioned before, since Argentina can't play like Barca because there's not a Xavi in there, then they have to play like Argentina. With Messi filling the Maradona slot - creating, occasional scoring, but mainly to draw the defence out. Can Messi leads Argentina to glory? Only if Higuain is permanently there. There is no place for Tevez now.

Tomthedon (Arsenal) 5 years ago
I think you can class your tactics as a complete sucess lol. Aguero and Higuain look a menacing partnership, Tevez is the team gooseberry

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