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UCL: Messi, Suarez & Neymar On Target As Barcelona Demolish PSG



Another big game, another night of experiments. Luis Enrique will have left Paris Saint-Germain perplexed with his line-up for Wednesday’s Camp Nou clash but, for much of the match, his own players looked confused by the system. Luckily, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez were there to clear up the chaos.
Barca began with three at the back, with Pedro and Neymar as wing-backs and Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Javier Mascherano in a three-man midfield behind Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. But nobody seemed to know how it would work and even the press team at Camp Nou printed out two possible formations on their official team sheets.
Luis Enrique had been pondering such a system since the summer and chose a big game to baptise the formation, following recent experiments away to Real Madrid and Valencia. The idea, no doubt, was to take the opposition by surprise.
But Barca’s players looked both unsure of what to do and, with three centre-backs and two holding midfielders on the pitch, they were unable to fulfil the most basic of tasks as Zlatan Ibrahimovic was left all alone eight yards out to give PSG the lead after 14 minutes. Luis Enrique’s expression was one of disdain, but he had only himself to blame for the disorder he was witnessing.
Luckily for the Asturian coach, Barca’s forwards are among the world’s finest and, five minutes later, they were back in it as Mascherano sent a searching ball forward: Suarez centred for Messi to slot home at the far post. This time, it as PSG’s poor marking which left Leo unmarked and the Argentine gobbled up the opportunity for his 75th Champions League strike.
Neymar, running from deep, then fired home with a superb strike from long range to give Barca a half-time lead they had barely deserved. The defence had played poorly and looked vulnerable, while circulation of the ball had been sub-standard by Barca’s high standards. But two moments of individual quality from their forwards had turned the game on its head.
Ivan Rakitic then came on for Pedro midway through the second half as Barca began to lose control of the game once again and Xavi replaced Iniesta shortly afterwards. With four at the back now and Bartra switched to a right-back role, balance was restored and Suarez struck after Neymar saw a shot saved. In the end, everybody was happy at Camp Nou – despite Luis Enrique’s experimental line-up.”They are not experiments,” sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said after the game. “The coach knows the rival and he has studied them. He uses the best system he has available to him. We are a club that likes to see football in different ways and we like having a coach who is brave enough to make such tactical decisions.”
Asked what formation Barca had played, the Basque added: “It was 3-2-3-2, like we have seen in some of our youth teams and with Barca B.”
For his part, Luis Enrique said: “We just wanted to use the model that would hurt the rival as best we could. We wanted more space for Messi and Iniesta. Was it a risk? That depends on the final result.”
And it was the right result, even if the performance was far from vintage Barca. In the end, the side’s three fantastic forwards made the difference to fire the Blaugrana to top of their group, which was their only objective at the beginning of the night.
So mission accomplished – thanks to Messi, Neymar and Suarez. But back to the drawing board for Luis Enrique

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