Ten Hag Changes Win

The protagonist

Old Trafford was silent after seeing how his team had faded after a start full of optimism. But United needed to shake up their tactical structure in such a way that he opted to play with wingers (he put in Antony after the break, then took out Alejandro Garnacho) placing Rashford in the center of attack. In other words, a pure nine and not a left-handed winger like in the first 45 minutes. The Dutch coach soon had the answer he was looking for with the equalizing goal.

Ten Haag had made three changes just at game time. But Xavi did not move anything until he decided to remove Sergi Roberto (m. 70) to place Ferran Torres on the left wing. United found life through wingers because they were decisive in turning the game around after a first half where they felt governed and even subdued.

The problem

The 1-1 came after a loss by Kessié. The 2-1 after another loss, in this case by Raphinha. In less than half an hour of the second half, and victim of their erratic control of the ball, Barça collapsed because they did not know how to deactivate or decipher the changes that Ten Hag had introduced. Changes that did change and, absolutely, the night for Barca’s misfortune.

Those losses were finally the condemnation because they left Lewandowski’s penalty goal for nothing and returned, once again, the team to the old ghosts of the past.

the tactic

Pedri (injured) and Gavi (suspended) were not there. But Xavi did not change his initial plan of four midfielders, also taking advantage of Busquets’ return to the starting eleven. With the captain, escorted by Frenkie de Jong and Kessié, it was up to Sergi Roberto to act as if he were Gavi. It seemed that he started on the left wing. Always from the outside in because that was Balde’s home and he should not occupy it without his permission.

Frenkie also moved on that side, the left-handed one; Franck did it for the right-handed. In the first half, the Dutchman offered a course to dodge the pressure, which was distressing for Barça until minute 10. Then, De Jong was lucid, just as Kessié’s work was valuable, erected as an all-rounder because he appeared from every corner of the field. Until he failed at the origin of United’s 1-1.

Marking to…

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It was side. On the blackboard. Left back. But, in reality, Alejandro Balde was a player worth three. Even for four. He played defense, that’s obvious, but he projected himself with such energy and success in attack that he became a left-footed inside until he ended up being a left winger, reaching the United area with great danger.

So much danger that it even led to a penalty from Bruno Fernandes, who grabbed him by the arm just as the young Barça player was turning. Turpin, the French referee, had no doubt that the ball had to end 11 meters from David de Gea. And that is the merit of a tenacious, daring, profound, cheeky young man who, above all, has a tremendous personality. Precisely, Bruno Fernandes slipped into his lane as soon as the game began, remaining alone before Ter Stegen. The German stopped, Balde snorted and from there he exhibited an indisputable exercise of personality. Personality and maturity.


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