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Holding Midfield: Is Barcelona’s midfield the root of their problems?

Holding Midfield Articles (BOT)
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Of all the many options in world football to bet against, the success of Barcelona’s midfield seemed one of the silliest. Xavi is one of the best tempo-setters in world football, Andres Iniesta adds dynamism that is rapidly making him the greatest player in Spain’s history, Sergio Busquets is as effective as he is nefarious, Cesc Fabregas had an extra directness from his time as one of the Premier League’s best players, while Thiago Alcantara seemed to be doing a good job of following in their footsteps before his recent move to Bayern Munich. Not only was it the world’s best midfield, it seemed to be a fairly complete one, and it couldn’t exactly be limited to those who actually played in the middle. Barcelona were reinventing the wheel, turning it into a 5ft 7 one-two-playing central midfielder – this is the club were Javier Mascherano was a centre-back and Fabregas played up front. Nevertheless, if Barcelona were obsessed with midfielders and became less successful, then surely it is that midfield to blame? They may have won La Liga and their blips in form could be heavily tied to Tito Vilanova’s ongoing heath struggles, but the way they were outplayed [...]

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