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Thread: Countering the Parked Bus?

  1. #1
    Noldorin
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    Countering the Parked Bus?

    This has probably been discussed before, but I want to bring it up with the current Barça team/management and get people's views on the matter.

    However much we admire Barça for their supreme style and quality of play (yes, we all know they're the best team in the world), the fact remains that several Spanish and indeed prominent European clubs have employed the "parking the bus" tactic against us to very good effect. Chelsea and Celtic FC stick out the most in my memory. There is no doubt these teams play much inferior football, even on the occasions we've faced them lately (when form on the night can play a big role); they lose to teams that Barcelona would thrash. The success rate of these teams in holding Barcelona to draws in the Camp Nou, and defeats away from home, or at the best very narrow escapes for Barça when the gap in quality and play has been enormous.

    I'm not here to bash any of these teams, even if I think it's a wretched and ignominious way to face a great team like Barça, but the fact is we may well come up against one of these teams again soon, perhaps this year in the Champion's League even. It's probably safe to say that AC Milan have too much self-respect to play this way, and little history of it anyway, but we should certainly be prepared to face the worst!

    So how would you combat this tactic, if you were Tito Vilanova? To start the ball rolling, I would suggest the following tactics:

    • Play a strong, quick defence that is capable of dealing with rapid counter-attacks well. An Alves - Pique - Puyol - Alba backline is probably the best we have for now, but it may that a Montoya - Bartra - Pique - Alba defence would be better at dealing with this, if not now, then in the near future. Having two fast, offensive fullbacks that are capable of adding width and helping penetrate the opponent's defence is very important. But Alves might not be the best choice, since he doesn't defend too well, though in the latest Clasico he did a great job.
    • Improve Barça's own counter-attacking abilities. I think we've already gotten somewhat better at this since Vilanova took over, but we're not nearly as clinical as (e.g.) Real Madrid on the counter-attack. It is too slow and falters unnecessarily too much of the time still. Fundamentally, if an opponent can punish us on the counter-attack, we need to be able to do likewise so as not to leave a weakness.
    • Play Iniesta in midfield to take advantage of his creativity in opening up crowded spaces, and moreover play fast, aggressive wingers like Tello and Deulofeu. Pedro is also a good option when he's on form, and I could still see Alexis doing this job well if he steps up a level. This will also take a good deal of pressure off Messi, and should they still decide to suffocate him constantly with 3 defenders, allow our wingers to do the damage on the scoresheet.
    • Play Fabregas and (possibly) Thiago for a more direct, incisive midfield. Xavi is great and all. But Fabregas and Thiago offer a new dynamic to the team; the former can produce some incredible through balls and carve open defences, while the latter may be considered a more direct (perhaps less predictable) version of Xavi.


    Thoughts, folks?

  2. #2
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    Sometimes Barcelona force teams to park the bus as they keep the ball 80% of the time which will naturally force teams to back off deeper & deeper, you can't press like madmen for 90 minutes also Barcelona would pick you off.

    Probably best to counter it in bigger games by switching up the line up & being less predictable, i expect AC Milan to maybe press high up for the first 20 minutes or so then back off. I don't care i appreciate how good this Barcelona side is & we're not what we were so i'd have no problems if we'd 'park the bus' it's a testament to how good Barcelona are that teams have to do it to get a result.

  3. #3
    Noldorin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ode to Django View Post
    Sometimes Barcelona force teams to park the bus as they keep the ball 80% of the time which will naturally force teams to back off deeper & deeper, you can't press like madmen for 90 minutes also Barcelona would pick you off.

    Probably best to counter it in bigger games by switching up the line up & being less predictable, i expect AC Milan to maybe press high up for the first 20 minutes or so then back off. I don't care i appreciate how good this Barcelona side is & we're not what we were so i'd have no problems if we'd 'park the bus' it's a testament to how good Barcelona are that teams have to do it to get a result.
    I agree, though if you have good defenders (just good and disciplined, not necessarily great) you can sit back around your penalty area and break somewhat on the very rare opportunity. Chelsea and Celtic both showed this is quite possible, even though Barça was playing pretty well (sure, not its best) in all of the recent matches between the teams.

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    I personally liked a lot the line up that finished our away league game against Osasuna (1-2) http://www.worldfootball.net/spielbe...-fc-barcelona/
    Basically it was Messi playing as usual as false nine, with Sanchez as a poacher.
    Of course that should be our hail mary type of system, but it is another option to consider.
    Anyway I think our best bet is the MVP frontline with iniesta as a central midfielder and cesc used as supersub for the last 25 minutes to exploit any tiredness...

  5. #5
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    Barca haven't faced a parked bus since Celtic tbh. It's not much of an issue (Granada will park the bus though in the next game).

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    Tbh, I don't think it was (entirely) Chelsea's or Celtic's tactics that beat us, but our finishing. Those were definitely not our nights, in terms of finishing at least. Especially the Chelsea game. We created some great chances despite the bus, but, again, it was a bad game for us in terms of finishing. All 4 of your suggestions are nice though.
    I say go with our usual starting lineup in the CL, but take Fabregas off for Villa consistently, especially when things aren't working out.
    Last edited by darthvader7888; 12th February 2013 at 05:03 PM.

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    It is our defense, that is the main problem in those games. If we don't concede a goal, the opponents with bus will be forced to attack.

    Remember how easy they can score against us in just 1 counter-attack? on the Chelsea game, imagine if we didn't concede that goal from Drogba? the 2nd leg could be more open play in the final minutes.

    I mean, what's the point of scoring 2-3 goals if we concede the same amount of goals against these parked-bus teams. The best thing to do is... Let us just relax and do not be so attack-minded. let's not push all of our players forward so that we don't get caught off guard on counter-attack. Sometimes Pique & Alves are so close to opponents half that we only have 1-2 players in defense.

  8. #8
    Noldorin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursegor View Post
    Barca haven't faced a parked bus since Celtic tbh. It's not much of an issue (Granada will park the bus though in the next game).
    That's true; they've faced pretty defensive teams since, but nothing nearly as bad. The thing is, it really is an issue simply because it tends to happen in the big (often European games) like in the UCL. Sure, maybe < 5% of the time, but a damn important 5%!

    Quote Originally Posted by darthvader7888 View Post
    Tbh, I don't think it was (entirely) Chelsea's or Celtic's tactics that beat us, but our finishing. Those were definitely not our nights, in terms of finishing at least. Especially the Chelsea game. We created some great chances despite the bus, but, again, it was a bad game for us in terms of finishing. All 4 of your suggestions are nice though.
    I say go with our usual starting lineup in the CL, but take Fabregas off for Villa consistently, especially when things aren't working out.
    Thanks. And yes, I agree our finishing was below par on these occasions, though it should be noted we didn't create too many chances anyway (especially in the Celtic game) and that's a bit worrying.

    Yeah, the I think Villa and even Tello could be very good as power subs in the CL. We need to have top concentration, especially in defence, and then things should be alright (fingers crossed).

    Quote Originally Posted by aaron101 View Post
    It is our defense, that is the main problem in those games. If we don't concede a goal, the opponents with bus will be forced to attack.

    Remember how easy they can score against us in just 1 counter-attack? on the Chelsea game, imagine if we didn't concede that goal from Drogba? the 2nd leg could be more open play in the final minutes.

    I mean, what's the point of scoring 2-3 goals if we concede the same amount of goals against these parked-bus teams. The best thing to do is... Let us just relax and do not be so attack-minded. let's not push all of our players forward so that we don't get caught off guard on counter-attack. Sometimes Pique & Alves are so close to opponents half that we only have 1-2 players in defense.
    You make a fair point there. I'd like to see a slightly less offensive back line too, and see how it copes with the bus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noldorin View Post
    Thanks. And yes, I agree our finishing was below par on these occasions, though it should be noted we didn't create too many chances anyway (especially in the Celtic game) and that's a bit worrying.
    We actually created a shitload of great chances, especially against Chelsea. It's just that it was a bad night for us in terms of finishing.

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    There are 2 things to consider when looking at both the Chelsea matches and the Celtic match. Against Chelsea; we were missing Abidal, Villa, and Pedro was benched. That left the burden of scoring on Messi, Alexis , and a terribly out of form Cesc. Pair that with the fact that Pique was playing poorly and got injured in the 2nd leg after just 26 minutes and it's easy to see why Chelsea were able to pull off the victory.

    As for Celtic; you have to remember that Busquets was suspended and BOTH Puyol and Pique were injured. That's a HUGE blow.

    If the squad stays healthy and can finish their chances, I don't see who can knock out Barcelona in the Champions League this season.

  11. #11
    Noldorin
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    Quote Originally Posted by darthvader7888 View Post
    We actually created a shitload of great chances, especially against Chelsea. It's just that it was a bad night for us in terms of finishing.
    I still think not that much should be left to chance. But yes, it's true there were several very good chances missed. Poor game all-round.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paganinisrvnge View Post
    There are 2 things to consider when looking at both the Chelsea matches and the Celtic match. Against Chelsea; we were missing Abidal, Villa, and Pedro was benched. That left the burden of scoring on Messi, Alexis , and a terribly out of form Cesc. Pair that with the fact that Pique was playing poorly and got injured in the 2nd leg after just 26 minutes and it's easy to see why Chelsea were able to pull off the victory.

    As for Celtic; you have to remember that Busquets was suspended and BOTH Puyol and Pique were injured. That's a HUGE blow.

    If the squad stays healthy and can finish their chances, I don't see who can knock out Barcelona in the Champions League this season.
    This, pretty much.

  13. #13
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    There is no real way to counter a parked bus, Specially with our current team, That's just a cold hard fact that everyone should swallow.
    The reasons for this are numerous:

    It's the perfect anti false 9 tactic: An anti-messi tactic, They no longer need to be afraid of messi dragging away the defenders and creating spaces for his team mates, They no longer have to afraid of his runs, Because there is no space to run in, You completely shut down messi, And when you shut him down, You shut barcelona down.

    No true 'Center forward': We don't have someone that can cause havoc in the heart of the defenders, Waiting for the crosses and converting them into goals, And because of that they don't need to let themselves being dragged away from the sides, They know we'll eventually need to come to them, Because crosses are mostly wasted and we'll try to rely on short passes to wiggle our way through.

    Height problems: It means we generally suck at corners, And that's a deal breaker really.

    Lack of long range shooters: Which i talk about it a bit below.

    The most logical idea is to try to un-park the bus, By getting on the lead at the end of the 1st half at all costs, I cannot emphasize more on this point, If we came into the 2nd half without a lead, Then there is a 70% that the match won't end with a win, The players should treat such matches as if it's just 45 minutes long, Yeah i know, It's not fancy tactic or a tactic at all, But like i said, This is the tough truth that we should accept.
    Another potential solution is to make use of players that have a good long range shots, Which we don't have, Villa is the only potential real threat, Bus parking doesn't work against teams like real madrid because of their numerous players with great shooting abilities, Manchester city tried this tactic with them, And ended up getting ***** from their far shots.
    Last edited by Garrus; 13th February 2013 at 11:08 PM.

  14. #14
    messi_xavi_iniesta
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    The problem is not the buses, barça faces them in almost all matches. The problem is conceding a goal in 1 shot like against chelsea.

    And no team is perfect. I would prefer the 2008/2009 trio: messi , a henry/villa type of player, and a etoo kind of player. But with Messi in the middle it´s not possible...

    It´s barça style and they will not change. It´s useless. Made them a very powerfull team.

  15. #15
    Noldorin
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    Quote Originally Posted by no80s View Post
    There is no real way to counter a parked bus, Specially with our current team, That's just a cold hard fact that everyone should swallow.
    The reasons for this are numerous:

    It's the perfect anti false 9 tactic: An anti-messi tactic, They no longer need to be afraid of messi dragging away the defenders and creating spaces for his team mates, They no longer have to afraid of his runs, Because there is no space to run in, You completely shut down messi, And when you shut him down, You shut barcelona down.

    No true 'Center forward': We don't have someone that can cause havoc in the heart of the defenders, Waiting for the crosses and converting them into goals, And because of that they don't need to let themselves being dragged away from the sides, They know we'll eventually need to come to them, Because crosses are mostly wasted and we'll try to rely on short passes to wiggle our way through.

    Height problems: It means we generally suck at corners, And that's a deal breaker really.

    Lack of long range shooters: Which i talk about it a bit below.

    The most logical idea is to try to un-park the bus, By getting on the lead at the end of the 1st half at all costs, I cannot emphasize more on this point, If we came into the 2nd half without a lead, Then there is a 70% that the match won't end with a win, The players should treat such matches as if it's just 45 minutes long, Yeah i know, It's not fancy tactic or a tactic at all, But like i said, This is the tough truth that we should accept.
    Another potential solution is to make use of players that have a good long range shots, Which we don't have, Villa is the only potential real threat, Bus parking doesn't work against teams like real madrid because of their numerous players with great shooting abilities, Manchester city tried this tactic with them, And ended up getting ***** from their far shots.
    Messi has a good long-range shot, he just rarely uses it. Villa and Tello both have one, as does Adriano. Heck, even Xavi and Thiago aren't bad from distance. We have the players, we just need to encourage it more!