The number one weapon a world-class team like Barcelona can have is an effective plan B. The “don’t fix it if it’s not broken” philosophy is not a reliable strategy anymore.
Every team should be able to adapt to different styles of play. When Barcelona is facing an opponent that’s willing to press and play an open game, it won’t be a problem for Iniesta, Messi or Neymar to find some space and create a scoring opportunity.
But if a team is in full defensive mode, Barcelona tends to have problems with breaking up defenses. That’s exactly why experimenting is necessary.
We’re not talking about putting Pique as a striker, but allowing offensive players to rotate and have more freedom. The formation Enrique used in the last match against Leganes was risky and extremely offensive.
Enrique put Alba as a winger just to give more space to the MSN trio. Alba poses the qualities of a winger. That means that the Leganes had to mark Alba and leave more space for the attacking trio.
On the other hand, playing with three defenders gives the opponent a better chance of turning counter attacks into goals. But Barcelona’s main tactic is to always keep possession. And that gives the opponents fewer chances to organize an attack.
Enrique on Leganes
“They were brave, daring. They came out to match us man for man and they created problems for us, but that left us with more space, too. We had to adapt to the game. I think that we were brilliant from the off. If we’d come out asleep, we would have suffered.” – Source.
The 3-4-3 formation will only work against weaker teams. Playing with 3 defenders against a team with fast and experienced wingers/strikers is a bad idea.
“In these games the possession doesn’t interest me much. What interests me is the spaces and creating situations where we can get one on ones.” – Source.
Enrique on the back three
“It was a little different because we had the line of three [in defence]. In other games we have the same situation, though, with the deep midfielder dropping in.”
“There was nothing strange about the selection. We started that way because we wanted to have the ball and take advantage of the spaces they left us. This idea had its risks but I like that the players are capable of taking it on.”
“To be successful this season we need all the players and I hope that they all [continue] at this level. We’ve got another game in four days [against Atletico]. All managers make changes, it’s normal for everyone.” – Source.
Enrique on Busquets
“I contemplated what to do. Busquets is amazing but he didn’t rest during the international break. I’ll try to manage [his] minutes because we want him to be in the best possible condition at the end of the season, although I prefer to have him on the pitch.” – Source.