The suspicion that the Premiership was fought amongst a group of 30 lb lightweights and won depending on who blinked first was borne out today.
If this does not convince football at its core is a team sport than nothing ever will. The match was over minutes into the final although Man Utd might point rightly to Rooney's superlative finish as evidence to the contrary. Other than that serendipitous event it was complete domination and the achievement of a 3-1 scoreline suggests a chasm between the best representatives of world football.
Utd not for the first time came across a system. That system believes football is not a hierarchical top down system. It is a parallel distributed model where the executor is a player privy to the best knowledge and therefore primed to set forth the next sequence of action. Nominally it is Xavi. But it could be Iniesta, Alves, Messi, or Busquets in a Medusa like conundrum for any team worth its salt. Which so far none have yet to solve.
The coming out like gangbusters for the first few minutes flattered to deceive as Barca were able to blunt back Man Utd's telegraphed intent of scoring first. Thereafter it was a thoroughly clinical Barca taking over. Like sharks smelling a wounded quarry they circled the Utd goal and under that inexorable pressure it became a matter of time when the citadel would fall. Unlike the walk the ball home stererotype Pedro, Messi, and then Villa showed no hesitation in pulling the trigger from range. In between space evacuated was as rapidly filled up in a series of seamless linkages animating Barca's game. The odd Man Utd possession when they did get the ball back was confined to a fruitless long ball.
The English version's instinctual recoiling of a collective which spurns misty eyed tropes of individual effort, bottle, and legends has run its course. This is an incomparable Barcelona team reaping the benefits of a system put into place three decades before. Everyone wants to aspire to and replicate. Even Sir Alex was forced into acknowledgment.
" No one has given us a hiding like that. It's a great moment for them. They deserve it because they play the right way and enjoy their football."