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[av_heading heading=’Tactical analysis of FC Barcelona weaknesses vs Valencia’ 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: Daniele V. Morrone

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The fact that Luis Enrique’s team is by now officially in trouble is clear to anyone who has seen at least one of the last three matches.  The trouble goes beyond the negative results.

Watching Barcelona play means watching a physically tired, not very mentally lucid team that is in a generally negative dynamic (in the first 25 minutes they had nine shots on goal without scoring and then they scored an own goal for Valencia).

What they do have is certainly the pride and determination to at least reverse the dynamic, but the desire to change without any clear strategy to do so leads, on some levels, to results other than those hoped for.

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Even with the best players in the world on the roster, the lack of lucidity cannot help but accompany the negative dynamic instead of reversing it.

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A good example can be seen in a simple play from the 1-2 result ten minutes from the end.
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Every Barcelona play really begins only when Messi has the ball. In this case he receives it from Piqué who, in his attempt to lead the team to at least take a shot on goal, races into the penalty area. There are still 10 minutes left and the Barcelona centre back moves into the penalty area in the positional attack phase, upsetting the entire line up and leaving only Mascherano at the centre of the defence.

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Piqué’s movement takes passing lines and spaces away from Messi who is then forced to leave the ball for Iniesta and then move himself to receive it again after getting open. Iniesta has room to move and has the skills to manage the possession and serve number 10 in front of the goal.

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However, exactly in the same way that Piqué was in a hurry to change things and felt the need to do it himself, Iniesta invents a forward pass into the penalty area for a header by Piqué. Definitely not an Iniesta-style play and especially not a Barcelona-style move to trust a centre back in the penalty area to send the ball home.
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The move didn’t work, Valencia recovered the ball and passed long, finding themselves facing a negative transition entrusted entirely and only to Mascherano.

Valencia found themselves in a 2-on-2 situation thanks to Barcelona’s frantic attempt to score, but they were unable to capitalise on it because of Mascherano’s incredible job stopping first Alcacer and then covering Parejo who already had Jordi Alba at his heels.

The result did not change, but the fact remains that the Catalan team not only attacked poorly, but they also conceded a huge advantage to Valencia when it was time for them to attack. Their legs don’t seem to work like they used to, but their heads are evidently also elsewhere and it will take more than pride to sort things out.

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Daniele V. Morrone
Was born in Rome in 1987. He studies economics, loves Cruyff and Guardiola “positional football” and he’s interested in the Asian football evolution. He is an author for l’Ultimo Uomo

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