SPANISH FOOTBALL | SPORTS: FC BARCELONA DEFENSIVE NUMBERS FALL BACK TO 1962 FIGURES

FC BARCELONA DEFENSIVE NUMBERS FALL BACK TO 1962 FIGURES

The post-match reactions are still strong after yesterdays "Clasico" with the 2 - 1 victory by Real Madrid over FC Barcelona. Apart from the over zealous reaction of Barça keeper Victor Valdes with referee Perez Lasa over an uncalled “penalty” in the last moments of the match, observers & commentators are analyzing the drop in form of Barcelona & there possible reasons.

The first is the absence of Coach Tito Vilanova who is in New York receiving cancer treatment, a big blow for the team that will have them worried on the progressions of their leader. The second is the obvious “slump” in form of Lionel Messi that although scored a goal yesterday was effectively neutralized. This lack of effectiveness by the Argentine was obvious also in the Spanish Cup semi against Real Madrid & in the 1º leg AC Milan loss in Champions League. Thirdly, that the opponents have studied well FC Barcelona & have put up strategies & tactics on the field that cancels out their ball possession play. The criticism put onto Barça is that they don’t have a “Plan B” when things go wrong.

Soccer Spain

These are all legitimate observations but there is another that is statistical & almost science, there are problems defensively.

FC Barcelona conceded goals again yesterday, this time two against Real Madrid, which adds up conceding goals in 13 consecutive competitive matches, something that had not happened to FC Barcelona since 1962. This in itself is an interesting observation. Barça has received 21 goals in the last 13 games, an average of 1.6 gaols, Malaga, Real Sociedad, Osasuna, Real Madrid, Valencia, Getafe, Granada, Sevilla & Milan have managed to return Barcelona to figures of 51 years ago.

Some place an eye on goalkeeper Victor Valdes & his announcement that he will leave the Club. This is not the reason I feel as the keeper is only as good as his defence allows & protects him. What we have been witnessing are repeated defensive y midfield mistakes
under counter-attacking situations & a lack of speed when tested against the opposition forwards. The Barça emphasis on attacking is leaving bear their defensive lines which cannot halt the counter-attacks,  & lately also the fixed plays were there are signals of “aerial play” inferiority.

Barcelona has some defensive work to do these days. Their next vital meeting will be in Champions League against AC Milan which has a 2 goal advantage over them & may eliminate them from the competition if these "defensive tendencies" persist.

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