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[av_heading heading=’Analysis of FC Barcelona’s defence’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author: Mattia Fontana

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Barcelona got back on the pitch after the break with a slightly less confident step and one might wonder if Luis Enrique‘s team isn’t risking thwarting everything good they have built thus far. The problems seem to be mainly in defence. FC Barcelona has not only conceded 6 goals in the last 4 matches, but also 46 goals this season as opposed to the 38 conceded in 2014-2015 (with 8 fewer matches). This is an average that is up from 0.62 to 0.86 and it is not compensated even by the extraordinary scoring stats (down from 2.75 to 2.86 on average). The warning signs are double if you consider the statistics of the last two Liga seasons. Now Barcelona concedes 2-3 shot more per match. Why is that?
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BENZEMA’S GOAL AT EL CLASICO

The 1-1 goal in the Clasico was the result of a counter-attack by Marcelo who, after a 40 metre sprint, was challenged in a one-on-one against Piqué. The centre wisely came out to mark the Brazilian, since he was covered by Mascherano (on Benzema) and Jordi Alba. But there were two problems. Piqué didn’t stop Marcelo‘s advancement and Mascherano left Benzema open to go toward the ball. At this point, Kroos is open and can serve the Frenchman. Too much confidence in a one-on-one situation is not always positive.
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CRISTIANO RONALDO’S GOAL AT EL CLASICO

The play began with a ball lost by Neymar. Carvajal recovered and began a counter-attack, with the Brazilian chasing him only for a few metres. The most serious mistake, however, occurred when Jordi Alba, in a burst of overconfidence, tried to recover the ball from Jesé, neglecting the fact that Mascherano couldn’t return on the movement in Bale‘s area. Who receives the ball and sends it to the centre, where Cristiano Ronaldo is not marked closely enough by Dani Alves.
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ELNENY’S GOAL (ARSENAL)

The overconfidence of FC Barcelona defenders translates into incorrectly reading the play, which is also the case for Elneny‘s goal. Everything started with Jordi Alba, who immediately tried to recover the ball in a one-on-one situation, forgetting all about Alexis Sanchez who had gotten away behind him.
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TORRES GOAL (ATLETICO MADRID)

Torres‘ goal confirms what has already been pointed out, with the added problem that it came with Barcelona‘s entire team lined up on defence. The play began with ball play by Atletico Madrid that launched Koke into the finishing area. At that point a situation was created with the ball free where the defensive line responded correctly by moving in to cover the space. However, Piqué placed too much confidence in his own skills and left Torres unmarked, trying to intercept the ball. He was unsuccessful in his endeavour and that left the “colchonero” free to shoot.
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STATISTICS

FC Barcelona 2014-15

61 matches: 175 goals scored (2.86 average per match), 38 conceded (0.62)
ball possession %: 65.3
completed passes %: 88.2
Aerial duels won: 10.3
Tackles: 21.1
Interceptions: 13.1
Fouls: 9.8
Offsides: 3.2
Shots conceded: 8

FC Barcelona 2015-16

53 matches: 146 goals scored (2.75 average per match), 46 conceded (0.86)
ball possession % 62.4
completed passes % 86.6
Aerial duels won 9.7
Tackles: 17.8
Interceptions: 15.4
Fouls: 9.8
Offsides: 3.2
Shots conceded: 10.3
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Mattia Fontana
Mattia Fontana, Eurosport Italia editor.
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