The always insightful and articulate Javier Mascherano gave Argentinian magazine El Gráfico a brief interview where the main subject of conversation was the debate around FC Barcelona’s style of play. The converted defender was pretty clear with his opinion, as the title suggests.
Mascherano was forceful with his opinion and effectively felt the debate was a bit pointless. “Against Rayo [Vallecano] we won 0-4, but Rayo had more possession than us. I believe it was 51% to 49%, it’s a somewhat absurd debate. We are playing the same way. Now, if you have a chance to reach their goal with three passes, you’re not going to take 20 touches and allow your rival to settle in, are you?”
He has a point. Here are the average possession statistics in recent years, courtesy of the official website:
2009/10 – Pep Guardiola – 68%
2010/11 – Pep Guardiola – 75%
2012/13 – Tito Vilanova – 66%
2013/14 – Gerardo Martino – 65.8%
Basic maths shows a 0.2% difference thus far to last season, where many say Vilanova took the tiki-taka possession to it’s extreme. Heck, so far with Martino the posession is just 2.2% away from Pep Guardiola’s treble season.
“You cannot say that we are changing everything because of a 0.2% difference.” Can’t really argue with Masch there.
Finally, he spoke briefly on Lionel Messi and the observation he is sitting more minutes than ever before. “Messi is conscious about the injuries that happened last season and therefore what he is trying to do is arrive at the World Cup in good shape.” El Jefecito said last season’s major injury has made Messi a bit more “docile” and that he is trying to learn how to conserve his energy during matches and then explode in key moments.
Source: FC Barcelona, Sport / Image: Image: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)
EnriqueSDS is a senior writer, translator and editor for totalBarça, he can also be found in the Twittersphere under @enriqueschoch