“Barcelona weren’t at their best, but were fairly comfortable after scoring their third. Pep Guardiola brought in Isaac Cuenca to stretch the play on the flank and used Cesc Fabregas in a free role, with Seydou Keita and Alexis Sanchez dropping out. Max Allegri recalled Ignazio Abate at right-back, but otherwise kept the same team from last week. This was an odd game – Barcelona predictably dominated possession but struggled to create chances in open play…yet still scored goals and weren’t particularly troubled after the third goal, in the 53rd minute.” Zonal Marking
The Question: what marks Pep Guardiola out as a great coach?
“There is a strangely persistent idea that Pep Guardiola is not a great coach, that a great side somehow fell together beneath him for which he bears about as much responsibility for it as, say, the man who turns the lights on at the Louvre does for the Mona Lisa. He has fine players of course, but you wonder how many of them would truly prosper away from the Camp Nou. Even the greatest of them, Lionel Messi, looks a different player when he turns out for Argentina.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson
Champions League review: FC Barcelona 3 – 1 AC Milan: round two! *ding ding*
“Round two of the quarter-finals and plenty of drama in this leg too. This wasn’t Barça’s best performance of the season by any means, but they got the job done and yet more haters crawled out of the woodwork. Hi, guys. Barça’s starting XI was: VV, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Puyol – Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta – Messi, Cesc and Cuenca. I’m sure there were a few eyebrows raised, but this was a welcome relief compared to the lineup for the first leg against Milan.” The Offside