Here I’m talking only about the coach Guardiola, his first year as senior coach was a huge success, winning La Liga and Copa del Rey with style promoting sensational football displays making Barcelona a goal machine (they scored about 156 goals through the season), now being in the Champions League final is another big accomplishment for a coach in his debut season.
If you compare Barcelona XI squad by the end of 200-7-08 season and this season there is one change which is Zambrotta gone and Dani Alves come instead, here we can see the great work done by Guardiola he install back the spirit, discipline, commitment, and passion in the Catalan squad.
Guardiola kept using 4-3-3 formation but his work was on the positioning of the player and the passing abilities they acquired.
According to the statistics of Champions League Barcelona rate of pass completion is 87.2% the best for sure, this show Barcelona passing brilliance while their players positioning brilliance is how they pressure their opponents the moment they lost ball possession the likes of Eto’o, Henry…etc became the first defender. Barcelona monopolize ball possession, and terrifying their opponents with their attacking prodigy which give the opponent team one choice of two, either playing open game and be ready for the bad consequences like demolition lost (6-0 or 5-0) or playing ultra defense like Chelsea did in the Champions League or Real Madrid in the first Clasico back in December 2008.
In the both cases you can never guarantee the outcome, Real Madrid lost 2-0 while Chelsea couldn’t seize the opportunity the had and eliminated (not to mention the referring errors against Chelsea) by resistant Barcelona.
But there is an important point differentiates Manchester United from Real Madrid and Chelsea that United is stronger and they have the counter attack tools to capitalize on Barcelona weaknesses.
Another point about Pep Guardiola I might questioning his ability to make changes in tactics to change the game direction, for example in Chelsea first game in Camp Nou he didn’t or he couldn’t change their way or approach of play to crack Chelsea defense they kept attacking in the same style. On the other hand I admire Guardiola way to confuse Real Madrid and Juande Ramos in El Clasico at Madrid this May (2-6 for Barcelona, Pep change Messi position from the right flank to the middle of the park and combined well with Iniesta and Xavi to humiliate Real Madrid with master piece performance.
The bottom line even if Barcelona lose the final this season will be historical for Guardiola, also suspensions and injuries block Guardiola to have full squad maybe this is the time to depend on Hleb, Caceres, and Gudjohonsen (even it is late a bit little).
This season we saw Barcelona football brand that make the whole world talk about it and admire it, the first one to thank is Guardiola who brought it back and thanks also for the total football philosophy inherited by Dutch due Rinus Michels and Cruyff.