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View Poll Results: Is it time to ditch possession football and build up something from the ground up?

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  • Yes. It's time to stop chasing after what Pep has done here

    9 12.68%
  • Maybe. But it doesn't mean only Pep can develop a playstyle around possession

    22 30.99%
  • No. Barcelona should still make use of possession football the most.

    35 49.30%
  • No. (Please share your reasons)

    5 7.04%
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Thread: Is it time to ditch possession football and build up something from the ground up?

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    Is it time to ditch possession football and build something from the ground up?

    Guys. 3 words : Barcelona, Possession Football and Pep's Legacy.

    Wanted to discuss it in the poll sub-forum so it will be easier to get an idea of what the people here want and believe without having to see this debate lost in another thread (like the thread about Lucho).

    As I see it, no one can't do better than what Pep did when he was here as far as effective possession football is concerned. I also see no coach that could do better than him when we're talking about possession and everything that it includes from tactics to philosophy etc etc.

    Actually, even Pep last year had problems with this playstyle in CL. What's the point of having 90% possession when you're unable to score any goal if you face a coach that actually can counter you?

    I'm very curious about what Pep has in mind this season in CL. I'm still not convinced that he can steamroll clubs like RM. And while Pep might resolve those problems he has, I don't think it should have any effect on what barcelona should do or become in the near future.

    -------------------------------

    All in all, It makes me wonder if Barcelona should start a new project from the ground up instead of living in the shadows of what can be called Pep's legacy.

    Would it not be ok if tomorrow Barca gets a coach that does something else than possession? Will it be seen like an insult? Too many times I read fans that are like "chained" to the idea that Barcelona is forever linked to a particular playstyle.

    So far Pep failed at bayern (yeah I consider he failed because last year, he got spanked so hard in CL that I consider it a failure, sorry Ryu), but what he's trying to do is good IMO. He cut all ties to what was previously done at Bayern, and wanted to do something new without being trapped with german ghosts from the past or any legacy. He even got bad press about it and yet he didn't care and moved forward with his plan.

    Imagine that Ancelotti moved here, would it be bad if he developed his lightning counter-attacking tactics here and be successful like he is in Madrid? I am not implying that Carlo is only good at that, but I think it's clear that he doesn't care much if his team has 30-40-50-60% or 90% possession.

    I myself was trapped too often at trying to compare Tata and Lucho with Pep. Then I hit the point when I realized I should stop to compare them to Pep all the time. I don't know if I am alone, but I really did it too often.

    Now you might think that "if barca stopped to win, it's because no one can reproduce what playstyle Pep was using" but is it really true? Could it also be because Barca weren't always able to finally cut ties with Pep's Legacy and create something new, a new successful identity, just like what Pep is trying to do at bayern without looking at Bayern's past and glory?

    In the end, in the scenario that Pep might never come back, I think that Barcelona should build a new playstyle, a new philosophy from the ground up.

    My opinion is that Pep's era in Barcelona has come to an end, and that barcelona should not try to live in its shadows, but instead do something completely new.

    All of that is also linked to Lucho. Is he really free to do what he wants to do, to try what he wants to try without angrying people that believe Barca shoudl always use a certain playstyle?

    That's of course also true to Tata who IMO sometimes really wanted to do something new and got crushed by what too many Barca fans are living on: Pep's Legacy.
    Last edited by Bertus; 21st December 2014 at 08:38 PM.

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    This totally depends on the squad that is available at the club in a given moment of time and what kind of coach that is employed.

    FCB has not played as they do now always either contrary to popular belief. There have been many playing styles but since Cruyff arrived some 25 years ago (Michels also had a stint at the club during the 1970's which also influenced the club greatly) and installed the "Ajax model" at the club pretty much every team from the prebenjamín's to the senior team has since played with a similar philosophy where possession football is the key.
    I believe that such a cohesion of systems/philosophies throughout the entire club infrastructure is a benefit rather than a hindrance most of the time.

    For instance if Ancelotti became the manager at FCB tomorrow he would be unable to play like RM for the reasons given above.

    Our squad is gifted with technically strong players of a small stature. Possession football suits them the best. They excel when they have the ball the most and struggle when they don't.

    Lucho is already trying to implement a different system from the one that Pep practiced. He is just yet to succeed and he does not have the required squad for his intended system IMO. At least he is trying.
    Last edited by Leo_Messi; 21st December 2014 at 08:08 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Messi View Post
    This totally depends on the squad that is available at the club in a given moment of time and what kind of coach that is employed.

    FCB has not played as they do now always either contrary to popular belief. There have been many styles but since Cruyff arrived some 25 years ago (Michels also had a stint at the club during the 1970's which also influenced the club greatly) and installed the "Ajax model" at the club pretty much every team from the prebenjamín's to the senior team has played with a similar philosophy where possession football is the key.
    I believe that such a cohesion of systems/philosophies throughout the entire club infrastructure is a benefit rather than a hindrance most of the time.

    For instance if Ancelotti became the manager at FCB tomorrow he would be unable to play like RM for the season given above.

    Lucho is already trying to implement a new system than the one Pep practiced. He is just yet to succeed and he does not have the required squad for his intended system IMO. At least he is trying.
    I am not sure that it is true that Carlo could not do the same here. Just looking at the squad Barca has, there are very fast players on the wings (I count our RB/LBs in that category) and on the front. If this Barca wanted to play counter attacking above anything else, they could. Only the midfield is a bit dubious, but Rakitic for example can do the exact long balls that Kroos does.

    Now about Lucho, I also thought about how he's treated, and I came with those questions:

    - Is he free to do anything?
    - Is he told to use possession football?
    - Are we too much in a rush while he's trying to actually build something new?

    When you build something new from the ground up, usually you're not successful right away. Yet it seems fans in majority want immediate results, and that's something that usually can't be paired with a new project. Usually, if you want to be immediately successful, you try to recreate what worked not too long ago, but IMO it's no good to do that in the long run.
    Last edited by Bertus; 21st December 2014 at 08:12 PM.

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    No. There is nothing wrong with possession itself, after all having possession reduces the chances of your opponents getting the ball -> launch their attack -> score. Most elite teams hold more possession, even in the case of Real Madrid. I am not sure if Ancelotti's RM actually has less possession, not my impression. And a possession-based team doesn't mean you can't counter-attack and do it well.

    Our problem is we are not doing much with our possession of the ball, we are moving too slow and our players are too static, they rather stand there and wait for the ball without good off the ball movement to create space, and once they get the ball they just pass it around.

    I'd say keep possession by all means but figure out how to maximize the use of it. Also we must improve our counter as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertus View Post
    I am not sure that it is true that Carlo could not do the same here. Just looking at the squad Barca has, there are very fast players on the wings and on the front. If this Barca wanted to play counter attacking above anything else, they could. Only the midfield is a bit dubious, but Rakitic for example can do the exact long balls that Kroos does.

    Now about Lucho, I also thought about how he's treated, and I came with those questions:

    - Is he free to do anything?
    - Is he told to use possession football?
    - Are we too much in a rush while he's trying to actually build something new?

    When you build something new from the ground up, usually you're not successful right away. Yet it seems fans in majority want immediate results, and that's something that usually can't be paired with a new project. Usually, if you want to be immediately successful, you try to recreate what worked not too long ago, but IMOn it's no good to do that.
    I have updated my post and corrected it. I posted it too quickly.

    Not to the extent that RM does. Besides RM has played this kind of counter attacking football for years. Mourinho improved it greatly and Ancelotti perfected it with the additions of Bale and Carvajal etc.

    Those are good questions that we can only guess about.

    I don't think that he has such a strong authority at the club that he is "free" to do anything. He is no Pep on this front.

    The fans expect him to play possession football and our current squad is also mostly suited to this kind of game.

    Probably. Unfortunately I believe that he has not had the required say in all of the transfers this summer because some of them don't make sense compared to what he told about when he got appointed in May regarding his future visions. That's just my view. I might be wrong here. For instance had the club bought Cuadrado this summer his system might have been more efficient as Alves is finished.

    That's how it is at a club of FCB's stature and especially since the club has been the most successful in Europe for the past 10 years.

    Also the reason why RM is now able to mix counter attacking football with possession football (when not playing against FCB, Bayern etc.) is due to them buying Isco and Kroos. Two players that have made a world of difference in terms of their ability to sustain possession. It's very much a deadly combination in a already immensely talented squad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luftstalag14 View Post
    No. There is nothing wrong with possession itself, after all having the possession reduces the chances of your opponents getting the ball -> launch their attack -> score. Most elite teams hold more possession, even in the case of Real Madrid. I am not sure if Ancelotti's RM actually has less possession, not my impression. And a possession-based team doesn't mean you can't counter-attack and do it well.

    Our problem is we are not doing much with our possession of the ball, we are moving too slow and our players are too static, they rather stand there and wait for the ball without good off the ball movement to create space, and once they get the ball they just pass it around.

    I'd say keep possession by all means but figure out how to maximize the use of it. Also we must improve our counter as well.
    Of course RM has possession when they meet a team that has weak midfield for example.

    But if you watch them play, it's the same playstyle PSG had under Ancelotti: Possession or not, carlo wants them to rush forward when they can, especially when they get the ball back in defense.

    Of course Carlo is not only doing that, but I think he quite evolved and now has plans B when Plan A fails.

    Carlo doesn't care if he meets Pep or Mourinho, because he's not trapped in a playstyle that can hurt his team in the end. He's not afraid to let the other team gets the ball most of the time. As he proved last year in CL against that very Pep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertus View Post
    I am not sure that it is true that Carlo could not do the same here. Just looking at the squad Barca has, there are very fast players on the wings (I count our RB/LBs in that category) and on the front. If this Barca wanted to play counter attacking above anything else, they could. Only the midfield is a bit dubious, but Rakitic for example can do the exact long balls that Kroos does.

    Now about Lucho, I also thought about how he's treated, and I came with those questions:

    - Is he free to do anything?
    - Is he told to use possession football?
    - Are we too much in a rush while he's trying to actually build something new?

    When you build something new from the ground up, usually you're not successful right away. Yet it seems fans in majority want immediate results, and that's something that usually can't be paired with a new project. Usually, if you want to be immediately successful, you try to recreate what worked not too long ago, but IMO it's no good to do that in the long run.
    Considering Lucho has bypassed the midfield I would say yes, he is getting to do what he want.
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    Just look at Bayern, a possession-based team who does it very well and makes a lot of out of it. Earlier in the 13/14 season at one point they were also accused of playing boring football, having possession for the sake of possession but they turned the page. Just look at how their players move and interchange positions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Messi View Post
    I have updated my post and corrected it. I posted it too quickly.

    Not to the extent that RM does. Besides RM has played this kind of counter attacking football for years. Mourinho improved it greatly and Ancelotti perfected it with the additions of Bale and Carvajal etc.

    Those are good questions that we can only guess about.

    I don't think that he has such a strong authority at the club that he is "free" to do anything. He is no Pep on this front.

    The fans expect him to play possession football and our current squad is also mostly suited to this kind of game.

    Probably. Unfortunately I believe that he has not had the required say in all of the transfers this summer because some of them don't make sense compared to what he told about when he got appointed in May regarding his future visions. That's just my view. I might be wrong here. For instance had the club bought Cuadrado this summer his system might have been more efficient as Alves is finished.

    That's how it is at a club of FCB's stature and especially since the club has been the most successful in Europe for the past 10 years.

    Also the reason why RM is now able to mix counter attacking football with possession football (when not playing against FCB, Bayern etc.) is due to them buying Isco and Kroos. Two players that have made a world of difference in terms of their ability to sustain possession. It's very much a deadly combination in a already immensely talented squad.
    I actually think it's a choice. Instead of trying to battle with people like Pep on the same ground, he tries to counter them.

    I really think that last year he knew what he wanted to do against Pep. And I don't think having Kroos last year would have made a difference. Sometimes, instead of trying to compete in the same front, it's better to use another tactic to reach your goal.

    I see no difference in this mindset if you compare it with military battle. It's not because your opponent uses a certain tactic that you have to try to do the same as him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luftstalag14 View Post
    Just look at Bayern, a possession-based team who does it very well and makes a lot of out of it. Earlier in the 13/14 season at one point they were also accused of playing boring football, having possession for the sake of possession but they turned the page. Just look at how their players move and interchange positions.
    Bayern didn't prove anything yet in CL. Actually, last time he got crushed hard, harder than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertus View Post
    I actually think it's a choice. Instead of trying to battle with people like Pep, he tries to counter them.

    I really think that last year he knew what he wanted to do against Pep. And I don't think having Kroos last year would have made a difference. Sometimes, instead of trying to compete in the same front, it's better to use another tactic to reach your goal.

    I see no difference in this mindset if you compare it with military battle. It's not because your opponent uses a certain tactic that you have to try to do the same as him.
    Well, I was never surprised by Ancelotti's choice of tactics against Bayern as the Bavarians were a vastly superior team when it came to keeping possession back then. RM had no other option basically.

    Besides Bale's and Ronaldo's strengths are best utilized when their team is playing counter attacking football while they struggle when in possession. What happens when you have most of the possession? Your opponent tracks back and makes the rooms smaller.

    To me it all comes down to the squad and what I wrote in my first post.

    When it comes to Lucho then I am pretty sure that he would not be afraid to play on the counter but hardly any opponent is given the team that opportunity in the first place.

    For instance when RM played against Almería away 10 days ago or so the home team was not afraid to attack them with many players despite the obvious dangers of doing that. Similarly when they played against Málaga away.

    But when Málaga played against FCB back in September they played very differently and took almost no risks offensively speaking. This was the case with Getafe too last week aside from sporadic attacks here and there.

    RM are better at employing different playing styles as they currently have a better and more diverse squad. If their opponents sit deep they can surprise you with shots from the outside or set pieces. FCB? Not so much.
    Last edited by Leo_Messi; 21st December 2014 at 08:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Messi View Post
    Well, I was never surprised by Ancelotti's choice of tactics against Bayern as the Bavarians were a vastly superior team when it came to keeping possession back then.

    Besides Bale's and Ronaldo's strengths are best utilized when their team is playing counter attacking football while they struggle when in possession. What happens when you have most of the possession? Your opponent tracks back and makes the rooms smaller.

    To me it all comes down to the squad and what I wrote in my first post.

    When it comes to Lucho then I am pretty sure that he would not be afraid to play on the counter but hardly any opponent is given the team that opportunity in the first place.

    For instance when RM played against Almería away 10 days ago or so the home team was not afraid to attack them with many players despite the obvious dangers of doing that. Similarly when they played against Málaga away.

    But when Málaga played against FCB back in September they played very differently and took almost no risks offensively speaking. This was the case with Getafe too last week aside from sporadic attacks here and there.

    RM are better at employing different playing styles as they currently have a better and more diverse squad. If their opponents sit deep they can surprise you with shots from the outside or set pieces. FCB? Not so much.
    As I see it, it will always be the case against Pep.

    I might be wrong, but I don't see any coach that can do better than him at possession. But it also has flaws as we saw it last year in CL. Pep had no plan B if countered.

    As I see it, modern football should be all about being able to change your tactic and playstyle at will instead of trying to use the same one against any team.

    I really think that last year Pep failed because he refused to "adapt". I might be wrong, but I think he would see it as a failure if he had to change his plans.

    But I admit there's improvement. When Benatia got a red card and despite them losing the game against City, he adapted his team to the situation. He lost, but that game was great (I watched it fully a few days later, and was impressed by what this year Bayern could do at 10vs11).

    As for Barcelona, I don't know, it might just me, but I feel like the club is living too much surrounded by ghosts of pep's era, and currently unable to completely cut ties with it.
    Last edited by Bertus; 21st December 2014 at 08:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertus View Post
    As I see it, it will always be the case against Pep.

    I might be wrong, but I don't see any coach that can do better than him at possession. But it also has flaws as we saw it last year in CL. Pep had no plan B if countered.

    As I see it, modern football should be all about being able to change your tactic and playstyle at will instead of trying to use the same one against any team.

    I really think that last year Pep failed because he refused to "adapt". I might be wrong, but I think he would see it as a failure if he had to change his plans.

    But I admit there's improvement. When Benatia got a red card and despite them losing the game against City, he adapted his team to the situation. He lost, but that game was great (I watched it fully a few days later, and was impressed to what this year Bayern could do at 10vs11).

    As for Barcelona, I don't know, it might just me, but I feel like the club is living too much surrounded by ghosts of pep's era, and currently unable to completely cut ties with it.
    That is very true. However, I still don't see the need to get rid of possession football.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertus View Post
    As I see it, it will always be the case against Pep.

    I might be wrong, but I don't see any coach that can do better than him at possession. But it also has flaws as we saw it last year in CL. Pep had no plan B if countered.

    As I see it, modern football should be all about being able to change your tactic and playstyle at will instead of trying to use the same one against any team.

    I really think that last year Pep failed because he refused to "adapt". I might be wrong, but I think he would see it as a failure if he had to change his plans.

    But I admit there's improvement. When Benatia got a red card and despite them losing the game against City, he adapted his team to the situation. He lost, but that game was great (I watched it fully a few days later, and was impressed to what this year Bayern could do at 10vs11).

    As for Barcelona, I don't know, it might just me, but I feel like the club is living too much surrounded by ghosts of pep's era, and currently unable to completely cut ties with it.
    I am not sure and to be frank then I don't care about what Pep is doing at Bayern. FCB and Bayern are not comparable currently IMO. Pep would be unable to repeat his possession game at FCB currently due to the rapid decline of Xavi and Iniesta.

    I don't know. How should Bayern have played otherwise? From what I recall Bayern should have won at the Bernabéu. At least they had the chances to score that vital away goal. In the return leg Ramos scored two headers. Both from set piecers. Nothing to do with Bayern playing possession football or not. During that period they had a tendency of giving set piece goals away to their opponents.

    Hard not to when the spine of the team is the same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luftstalag14 View Post
    That is very true. However, I still don't see the need to get rid of possession football.
    As I see it, I don't see us winning against Pep's team if we face Bayern if Barca stays the same.

    As Leo_messi pointed it out, I don't mean to not play possession football from time to time. Even RM does it sometimes when an opponent just parks the bus.

    What I mean is that Barcelona should be able to adapt instead of relying too much on the same playstyle.

    I think that to win against Pep, you have to counter his possession based playstyle. If you try to outdo him, I am pretty sure that 99% of the time it will be your loss.

    Yet Barca, IMO, right now, is unable to counter somebody that does the same kind of playstyle that barca is doing but way better. And Barca is also unable to beat RM that uses a tactic to counter possession football.

    What I am saying is also true when you face RM. Instead of going against them just like you would go against any team, I think it would be better to have a tactic in mind to counter them.

    I think Carlo doesn't only have a plan A when he faces a dangerous opponent. And that's one of his qualities imo.
    Last edited by Bertus; 21st December 2014 at 09:02 PM.