Barcelona have operated on the same footballing principles for a very long time, but that doesn't mean that managers don't make their own very subtle changes. There are plenty of different ways to play exciting, possession-based football.
Tito Vilanova takes over for Pep Guardiola this season and shouldn't be making drastic changes. The team will still play a formation that looks a lot like 4-3-3, occasionally playing with three at the back. And, as is usually the case with Barcelona, individual player performances and the cohesion of the team will matter a lot more than the actual formation. However, Vilanova has made some subtle changes.
FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes compares the subtle changes that Vilanova has made to the system utilized by former Barcelona manager Vittorio Ponzo, just about 80 years ago.
Taking Guardiola's 3-4-3 one step further, Barcelona (so far) under Tito Vilanova have often found themselves in a 2-3-2-3 formation similar to the one created by Vittorio Pozzo back in the early 1930s. In fact, comparing the style of Barcelona's performance on Sunday and Pozzo's Italy team makes for interesting reading - in Pozzo's sides, one of the two defenders would be responsible for marking the opposing centre-forward - a stopper if you will - (Mascherano/Puyol?) while the other played as a libero of sorts, covering his colleague and building the attacks (Piqué?).
Expect to see Carles Puyol sticking to Gonzalo Higuain like glue while Girard Pique plays more aggressively than he has in the past. Jordi Albi is also much more like his right-sided counterpart, Daniel Alves, than any recent Barcelona left back. With Messi in the middle and Alba on the left, the Barcelona XI looks more balanced and symmetrical than it has in the recent past. Whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen.
We'll have updates throughout the day and live coverage of the match in our Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2012 Spanish Super Cup StoryStream. For more on the Blaugrana, head over to FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. For more on Los Blancos, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more from around the world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.