Catenaccio. It defined an entire generation of Italian players in the 1950s and 60s, and led to the invention of the sweeper, the libero. This deep lying center back was a one man wall in the 1-3-3-3 formation that became a familiar sight on the European continent at this time, first made famous by Helenio Herrera’s Internazionale. On Wednesday evening in a chilly Glasgow it’s quite possible that Culés of a more modern generation will be treated to a similar spectacle. Why the deviation from the tried and true 4-3-3 of the past few seasons? Simple: the Catalans are out of defenders.
Barcelona travel to Scotland this Wednesday evening to face a Celtic side that can count itself unlucky to have not taken a point in the Camp Nou on matchday three. Jordi Alba’s late winner broke Glaswegian hearts, and a Celtic side out for revenge will present quite a challenge to a defensively diminished Barcelona. Tito Vilanova will be without Carles Puyol, Adriano, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, while Gerard Piqué has not played a minute of competitive football in seven weeks. Whatever formation Vilanova chooses Wednesday, it probably won’t look like anything you’ve seen before.