A change in formation is on the cards due to the unavailability of our best defensive duo and to counter the opponent’s specific playing style. As per reports, Marcos Alonso is expected to start alongside Eric Garcia and Andreas Christensen in a 3 at the back system.
Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2022
Competition: Uefa Champions League
Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro)
Time: 09:00 pm Central European Time
Referee: Slavko Vincic (Slovenia)
A switch in the formation?
As Inter Milan usually play in a 3-at-the-back system with wingbacks, it will be interesting to see how Xavi lines up his team to face the Black and Blues. When transitioning from defending to attacking, primarily the fullbacks are tasked to push high up the field to support the two attackers upfront and provide the width, which can be a key point in this game.
As presumably, the Catalans will possess the ball more, the question will be how effectively they close down those outside channels while trying to maximize the attacking potential from those positions too.
Therefore, it will be crucial for Xavi to decide whom to put in the starting XI, knowing the sensible absences of Koundé, Araújo, and Bellerín from the defense.
Alex Baldé was the one to fill the right-back spot against Mallorca, but his performance left mixed feelings, and knowing that Sergi Roberto has already got minutes against Mallorca, he might start the game from the get-go. On the other flank, Baldé will face competition back in his natural position as Marcos Alonso is ready to step in and offer more defensive solidity against an explosive Dumfries on the left.
Just like Mallorca, Inter is playing a 3-at-the-back, which can effectively become 5 with the retracted wingbacks. As we know, Barcelona struggled to break through the strong shield of Mallorca, given the attacking shape utilized by Xavi’s team.
Starting from a traditional 4-3-3, the fullbacks usually tuck into the midfield alongside Busquets to ensure defensive cover against counters, while it enables the interiors to push high to basically create a fluid, 5-man frontline with constant rotations.
Thus, if a team utilizes a 5-man defensive line properly – which Inter does – it can easily neutralize our primary outlets in the attack. However, their structure does have some differences from Mallorca’s setup as they utilize just 3 midfielders, but 2 forwards as well. While the latter can be more dangerous as they will be 2v2 against our center-backs at a counterattack, we can benefit from the former element.
Potential Role of Marcos Alonso:
Marcos Alonso will be staying back with the two center-backs when we start buildup, while Sergio Roberto will become an inverted fullback to join in an offensive transition and to also counter the Nerazzuri’s Midfield superiority. This will ensure that Barca play with their familiar system mostly while also negating any disadvantages it might face due to The opposition’s setup in Midfield. Hopefully, Xavi gets it right on the pitch as well and the Blaugrana come on top at the Giuseppe Meazza.
As we are 3v3 in the midfield, we can easily create a central overload either with Lewandowski dropping deep (which he often likes to do) or involving a fullback, which would ease retaining the ball and creating space by drawing the opposition out of position, and we are already in a chance.
So, plenty of decisions are still left to take, and plenty of opportunities to seize the advantage in Milano. Hopefully, we will be the ones to return to Camp Nou with the comfortable lead in our hands, and in the end, win the right to advance through the knockouts of the Champions League. Visca El Barca.