Pep Guardiola surprised the world of football by choosing a 3-4-3 formation against Villarreal in Barca's debut in La Liga 2011/12.
In what seemed to be a return to Johan Cruyff's Dream Team days, Pep used Busquets, Mascherano and Abidal at the back - Please note how only the French Bull is a pure defender here!
Further up the pitch, Keita served his duty as Barca's defensive midfielder and kept his position throughout the match. Thiago and Iniesta opened the pitch up by playing on the sides but were mainly free to join Cesc and Messi as 'False strikers', interchanging positions to further confuse the rival's defense.
Pedro and Alexis Sanchez attacked from the wings, forcing Villarreal's fullbacks to stay open, generating more spaces for Messi, Cesc and friends through the middle.
I felt Villarreal didn't performed to the best of their abilities, somehow looking confused due to Guardiola's new formation. Having said that, Barca was effectively attacking with a 3-1-6 formation during 90 minutes - Not many teams in the world could defend us for that long!
I love how Pep keeps reinventing our team year after year. When he took over, Ronaldinho and Deco left the club as the coach didn't want their bad influence to affect team morale. The result? Messi, Xavi and Iniesta stepped up their game, achieving success from La Masia rather than La Cartera (which means 'The Wallet', Real Madrid style)
After winning the 2009 Champions League, Guardiola swapped Eto'o plus an insane amount of money for Ibrahimovic, looking for a tall striker who could give our attack a new dimension. Many fans disagreed with that decision at the time and, in fact, still do today.
The result? Well, Zlatan 'La Diva' was a failure, mostly because he lacked the professionalism needed to adapt to Pep's work ethic. But it was when Messi replaced him as a 'false striker' that FC Barcelona's attacking power sky-rocketed. Guardiola's decision was probably caused by necessity but nobody can deny it was another genius move: La Pulga's goalscoring record speaks for itself.
Returning to Cruyff's 3-4-3 formation may sound risky but it could prove a hidden, deadly weapon when facing ultradefensive teams at the Camp Nou this season.
IN PEP WE TRUST, PROUD TO BE BLAUGRANA!!!!!