Phil Ball: Barca plays anti football away

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Phil Ball: Barca plays anti football away Empty Phil Ball: Barca plays anti football away

Post by Mr Nick09 Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:43 am

Phil Ball is a pretty good writer for ESPN, spanish la liga specialist, and Real Sociedad fan boy

The problem, for me at least, resides less in the financial disparity than in the attitude of some of the bigger clubs to the game in general. At the risk of attracting a flood of abuse, I was almost tempted to leave Anoeta at half-time on Saturday. I'm eternally glad that I didn't, but Barcelona's version of tiki-taka that they sometimes export to away stadiums is really a version of anti-football, undignified in its complete disregard for the spectator and for the opposition, it has to be said. As one Basque journalist put it, the gilifutbol of Barcelona (hard to translate - ask a Spanish-speaking friend) will lose them friends, and will play into the Bernabeu's hands.

Barcelona are more likely to play their more electric version of tiki-taka in the Camp Nou, but if folks are calling you the best team in the world then you have some sort of obligation to entertain. Football's a business, okay, but playing keep-ball - technically impressive though it is - for 45 minutes of tedium is not what people have paid good money for. It's all part of the rules, sure - but it is no less tedious than the much-despised catenaccio. It also seems to be taking the p*** slightly, as if Xavi and company are engaged in some sort of playground mockery of their fellow professionals. It annoyed Real Sociedad, who for various reasons were useless in the first half, and it brought them out snarling for the second. The visitors, who had initially left Messi, Iniesta and Villa on the bench - another gesture of indifference to the paying spectator - were knocked off their stride and ended the game looking very ordinary indeed.

'The best team in the world', from another perspective, is not the one that holds the most trophies but rather the one that seeks consistently to entertain. At the moment, the two best teams to watch are Real Madrid and Manchester City. Hate them for their money, or love them because you were born into their cultural cradles, but they are playing some fantastic, vertical, speedy stuff. This is all the more ironic given the reputations of their respective managers for pragmatic caution.

It's also true that Barcelona's two quick goals in Anoeta were a result of technical and tactical brilliance, but that was the first ten minutes. Goals scored, shut up shop, tiki-taka till you drop, leave your stars on the bench and then prepare for the real thing in midweek, the Champions League match against Milan. Thank you and good night. Messi and Iniesta did appear when things were starting to get rocky, but they were too late to have any influence. Messi was actually booked for diving in the area, but I would hesitate to say whether the referee got it right.
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story/_/id/955770/phil-ball:-back-in-the-swing?cc=5901

What do you think?


Last edited by St_Nick09_of_Goal on Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by jibers Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:46 am

I agree, Barcelona play pretty boring stuff away from home sometimes, but not all the time.
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Post by Zealous Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:51 am

Phil Ball is such a La Real fan boy xD

He has a point though IMO, although it's not always the case with Barca.
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Post by The Franchise Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:54 am

Last season. Barca broke the record for most wins and with that, most goals scored away from home in La Liga history.

Sounds like more haterion to me.

This subject has been talked about time and time again with no need.

Its very easy for people to hype up Man City, but their two best performances came against 2 teams who used 442/4411...no defensive midfield at all against a team who have 3 players (Aguero, Silva and Nasri) who play in between the lines.

Comparing that task to teams who play against us, home and away, who insist on putting 4 men inside the box and 5 men 10 yards outside it. Which to you sounds the harder task?

Regardless, as I said, I am 99% sure we broke the record for away goals in La Liga last season.
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Post by Lord Awesome Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:54 am

Getting tired of this Anti Football poop.

It doesn't exist.
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Post by The Franchise Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:00 am

Reading over it a second time, he makes no sense.

We scored two goals and then simply kept the ball with no attacking intent, merly to keep possession and therefore we was boring?

How then, if we tried to do that did we make more mistakes which resulted in more Sociedad pressure and in the end us letting in two goals?

How can we "shut up shop, tiki-taka till you drop" therefore meaning taking less chances on the ball, yet still make more mistakes?
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Post by The Madrid One Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:01 am

Lord Hispano wrote:Getting tired of this Anti Football poop.

It doesn't exist.
Thumbs up smoking :bow: drinking
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Post by Jay29 Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:03 am

If Phil Ball was advocating that Barcelona's style wasn't as exciting or beautiful as people make it then I'd be more inclined to agree with him, though I do realise the neccisity in long periods of keeping the ball.

However, to call it anti-football is ignoring the fact that keeping the ball for prolonged periods of time breaks no rules. Playing a game of keep-away as a means of protecting a lead has been done for years. It is only referred to as anti-football now because of Barcelona's success.

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Post by H.A. Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:07 am

The Franchise you're looking way too deep into it. I will put it from my personal perspective. You cannot expect any team to play 'attractive football' week in week out. Keeping the ball and passing the ball way too much makes the game feel stale if you know what I mean. That's what he means. He's right, barca won't play constant attacking for the full 90 mins since it doesn't make sense for them. All teams do it. Its what you can call 'anti-football' which is a stupid term. Some fans won't accept it but yes even barca play 'anti-football' [either protecting a lead or stop the other team from scoring].
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Post by The Franchise Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:17 am

Right, so if all teams do it, what was the point of saying it?

And why single out Barca from these teams?

Other then being a hater?

He says that style of play is "disregard for the spectator and for the opposition" which makes it "anti football".

I am sorry, but how is the passing triangles of Xavi, Iniesta and Messi which they often produce boring for the spectators?


If this was, Pique and Puyol passing it between themselves and Valdes then I would agree.

But actually, what is happening is Barca playing triangles and multiple passes in the midfield. Xavi, Iniesta and Dani Alves make the most touches and passes stats wise, so this isnt my observation, its fact.

I think anyone could find many examples of great passing moves and great passages of play after Barca have a lead. I think actually when we have a big lead, we tend to "taunt" but not in a bad way, the opponant by trying difficult combinations.

So, I dont get his point. You cant make quite a bold statement like he has and not expect people to actually sit and think about it with detail.

edit: as for disregard to the opponant, thats a even bigger crock. When teams "park the bus" the other team dont have a say in the matter. They cant force them to not park the bus, its entirely up the team doing it.

Our passing, other teams have an option. They could come out and pressure us and not allow us to get out of our half.

So I dont see that angle either.


Last edited by The Franchise on Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Jay29 Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:20 am

I also don't understand the concept that the best team in the world is one that consistently seeks to entertain. That just contradicts his point about Barcelona playing so-called "anti-football" away from home.

The fans that travel to watch their team away from home are generally more devoted, more "hardcore" than other fans and travel great distances and pay vast sums of money to watch their team win, not to entertain. An away fan would be more understanding of neccisity to win, as opposed to home fans who demmand a performance alongside victory.

So Barcelona satisfy both types of support on a frequent basis. What's the problem?

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Post by H.A. Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:21 am

Well it is logical for any reporter to jump on Barca as they are the best team now. Its barca so they should play their best XI against any team and score 6 goals each game.
When that happens though we'll just here the league is unbalanced.

I think you know that already though. Its a never ending argument.
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Post by Lord Awesome Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:22 am

I call it Strategy.

If Barca can keep possesion to keep a scoreline that's fine by me.

It's still Football.
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:29 am

How do you differentiate between complacency and "anti-football" though? The players probably did think "2-0 up in the 10th minute, let's rest for the big game against Milan" but I'm not sure how much of that can be attributed to a tactical decision to play boring football as opposed to just the players being complacent.
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Post by Omniscient Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:31 am

The Franchise wrote:Right, so if all teams do it, what was the point of saying it?

And why single out Barca from these teams?

Because Barcelona pride themselves on playing "beautiful football", when in reality their style is unexciting, repetitive, and the most consistent display of anti-football since the 1990s. (Or at least that's how it's perceived by anyone not a Barcelona fan)


Last edited by Omniscient on Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:32 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by The Franchise Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:32 am

Omniscient wrote:
The Franchise wrote:Right, so if all teams do it, what was the point of saying it?

And why single out Barca from these teams?

Because Barcelona pride themselves on playing "beautiful football", when in reality their style is unexciting, repetitive, and the most consistent display of anti-football since the 1990s.

Your sir, are simply clueless.

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Post by Omniscient Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:33 am

The Franchise wrote:
Omniscient wrote:
The Franchise wrote:Right, so if all teams do it, what was the point of saying it?

And why single out Barca from these teams?

Because Barcelona pride themselves on playing "beautiful football", when in reality their style is unexciting, repetitive, and the most consistent display of anti-football since the 1990s.

Your sir

Stopped reading there.

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Post by leemhuis Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:33 am

I say that Barcelona has very entertaning way to play. The players all can control the ball and it is very special. But strong physically strong team with talent players can beat them. Old Inter Milan and Chelsea with Mourinho were stronger than Barcelona. Chelsea had bad luck unable to overcome. Inter Milan overcamed with some bad luck. maybe this year Mourinho and Madrid will overcome Barcelona.
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Post by Lord Awesome Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:38 am

leemhuis wrote:I say that Barcelona has very entertaning way to play. The players all can control the ball and it is very special. But strong physically strong team with talent players can beat them. Old Inter Milan and Chelsea with Mourinho were stronger than Barcelona. Chelsea had bad luck unable to overcome. Inter Milan overcamed with some bad luck. maybe this year Mourinho and Madrid will overcome Barcelona.

Non physcal teams have beaten them before.

IMO, anyone can beat anyone.
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Post by leemhuis Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:44 am

Lord Hispano wrote:
leemhuis wrote:I say that Barcelona has very entertaning way to play. The players all can control the ball and it is very special. But strong physically strong team with talent players can beat them. Old Inter Milan and Chelsea with Mourinho were stronger than Barcelona. Chelsea had bad luck unable to overcome. Inter Milan overcamed with some bad luck. maybe this year Mourinho and Madrid will overcome Barcelona.

Non physcal teams have beaten them before.

IMO, anyone can beat anyone.

Which one teams non physical in important game beat them?
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Post by Lord Awesome Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:47 am

leemhuis wrote:Which one teams non physical in important game beat them?

Over two legs? Or any?
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:48 am

Barca can only lose against themselves :coffee:
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Post by Omniscient Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:48 am

leemhuis wrote:
Lord Hispano wrote:
leemhuis wrote:I say that Barcelona has very entertaning way to play. The players all can control the ball and it is very special. But strong physically strong team with talent players can beat them. Old Inter Milan and Chelsea with Mourinho were stronger than Barcelona. Chelsea had bad luck unable to overcome. Inter Milan overcamed with some bad luck. maybe this year Mourinho and Madrid will overcome Barcelona.

Non physcal teams have beaten them before.

IMO, anyone can beat anyone.

Which one teams non physical in important game beat them?

Against Barca, just about every team from Hercules to Arsenal look "physical" in comparison.

However, if Madrid faces Chelsea or something, nobody in their right mind would be commenting on how physically imposing Di Maria, Ozil, Alonso, etc. are.

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Post by Lord Awesome Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:52 am

BarrileteCosmico wrote:Barca can only lose against themselves :coffee:

Or Madrid. Maybe Valencia might do it this time around.

Alraedy it's been 3 years since we haven't been able to do so.
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Post by chinomaster182 Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:20 am

Lord Hispano wrote:Getting tired of this Anti Football poop.

It doesn't exist.

+1
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