Guardiola’s cosmetic changes at Barca not necessarily for the better

“It didn’t start with ‘an exciting interpretation of the 3-4-3 formation,’ but Barcelona admitted a move from pop to pretension with that teaser. As brilliant as Pep Guardiola’s team has been at times this season — last Saturday’s 5-0 win over Atletico shimmered in the floodlights, as did Wednesday’s 5-0 win over Bate in the Champions League — its winks at the pantheon have left it the kind of self-conscious that can be crippling. Three draws from seven games so far are the result: it’s far too good for any of that nonsense. The club is riddled with third album syndrome. Two European Cups down, the search for a third has come with a nasty awareness of what great is and what great should be. The tick-list on what’s required for history-making has been drawn up and handed out to players and coaching staff.” SI

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