Barcelona and their defence crises (Part 2)

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lorenzo bernardi

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  • Barcelona and their defence crises (Part 2)

Barcelona and their defence crises (Part 2)

The first team defenders are Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves. However, the Catalan Giants are now suffering from a lot of injury issues. The first team centre back Carles Puyol is suffering from a left knee tendonitis. The French full back Eric Abidal had a tumour in his liver and the club has not revealed the deadline for the Frenchman to make his return.

With Carles Puyol out of the Barcelona back four, the Spanish Champions suffered a lot. It was Eric Abidal who filled in the space for the club’s captain. However, now Eric Abidal is injured as well and Gerard Pique has to partner up with either Gabriel Milito or the Spanish holding midfielder Sergio Busquets.

The defensive combination between Eric Abidal and Gerard Pique started to work out for Barcelona but the Brazilian full back Maxwell, who replaced Abidal on the left back position, did not really work well for the Catalans. The former Inter Milan man usually gave the ball away in crucial positions and was not as big a threat as Abidal was on the left flank.

When Josep Guardiola saw Maxwell’s horrific performance against Arsenal during the first leg of the UEFA Champions League, the Catalan coach decided to change him with Adriano – the former Sevilla midfielder. Adriano now looks to be better than Maxwell in terms of attack; however, defensively he often gets caught and needs help from the holding midfielder to outnumber his man down.

Now with Eric Abidal out of picture, Barcelona definitely need a new centre back. The young Spaniard Andreu Fontas looks to be a good option but playing him in bigger games like the El Classico is a huge risk. At such a young age, Fontas performed well against Rubin Kazan during the group stages of the UEFA Champions League; however, now is not the time to give away such an important role to such an inexperienced defender. Gabriel Milito is the best option available for Barcelona right now but he is not the same speedy and strong centre back that he used to be.

The Argentinean centre back used to be an extraordinary centre back last season. When Barcelona were to play Arsenal last season in the European competition, Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique were both suspended for the fixture. It was the Mexican captain Rafael Marquez who teamed up with Gabriel Milito in the centre back position to help Barcelona in defence.

The Catalan Giants won the fixture 4-1 with all four goals coming from Lionel Messi as the second leg took place at the Nou Camp. The Spanish Champions met Arsenal in the quarter finals of the competition and as Puyol got a straight red for a tackle on Cesc Fabregas in the first leg, Gerard Pique received a yellow and was suspended for the second leg. The Catalans still managed to keep a good defensive record and conceded only a single goal during the game.

This season Barcelona are not the same defensively. With even a single centre back out, the Catalan Giants feel miserable at the back. Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique acted like a wall and with Puyol out, it was relatively easier to score goals against Barcelona. During the El Clasico that took place this season, it was Puyol who singlehandedly took care of the threat known as Cristiano Ronaldo. On the other hand, Gerard Pique easily avoided Angel Di Maria.

 

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