I cannot think of a more interesting fixture in world football than that of two clubs that have employed a style of play famously known as the ‘tiki-taka’, whose managers are highly-respected for their astute nature and plenty championship wins in their relatively short careers up to so far.
Futbol Club Barcelona versus Manchester City is the fixture I’m referring to – and it is upon us in the form of a UEFA Champions League group stage matchday 3 contest. There is so much to look forward to in this fixture, not least the rivalry between the long-time friends who will be shouting instructions from the opposite dugouts.
Luis Enrique Martínez and Josep Guardiola, two former Barça players, square off against each other in the Champions League once again, two seasons after the former inflicted a semi-final knockout on Guardiola when he was still manager of German champions, Bayern Munich.
The last time Pep, as Guardiola is known in the football circles, came back to the home of Barça as a member of the visiting team, he bravely set his team to mark the Barça players man-to-man, which worked for the majority of the match until Barça’s magical striker, Lionel Messi, turned on the magic and scored two quick-fire goals before setting up Brazilian teammate, Neymar, for the third in their team’s 3-0 victory.
It will be interesting to see if ‘The Philosopher’ will try to be brave again at one of the most dreaded football arenas in the world.
It must be said though that his current team, which currently leads the English Premier League log after 8 matches, are in great form coming into this match, so much so that they’ve only tasted defeat once in all competitions so far this season.
Perhaps the most interesting factor to look forward to is the question of who will play the better tiki-taka – a style which Barça got famous for under Guardiola’s tutelage between 2008 and 2012- which involves building patient play from the back and keeping possession of the ball for long periods.
It promises to be a highly-entertaining encounter, especially if, like me, you enthuse over the above-mentioned style of play.
It all happens at the Estadio Camp Nou in Barcelona on Wednesday, 19th of October.
*Main picture by: independent.co.uk.