The defensive problems for Barcelona aren’t going away, and it’s not only on the head of Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano at the heart of the defense, although they certainly are the easiest players to blame for the goals they concede.
Once again letting the match become a lot more complicated than it should (Beating Sevilla 3-2) cast more negative light on Barcelona’s problem on defense, as Carles Puyol, still not fit after an injury filled season and being 35 isn’t helping, is looked upon as someone who might be able to help.
But it’s also about the midfield and front three not bringing the pressure like Barcelona successfully did in the past. It’s about their lack of size all over the pitch, which is easy to spot in set pieces, where Pique seems like the only player Barcelona have to rely on when it comes to beating players in the air.
We’ve had problems at dead-ball situations, it’s a question of size and we have to find a way to defend them the best we can. It’s difficult to change the central defenders; we need to sort things out first and then look at our options.
Pique is always the man the press and the fans love to focus on. They’ve also been able to come up with plenty of reasons for his decline: From Shakira influencing his focus and for not playing next to Puyol or Sergio Ramos, making him better than he really is. But a defensive game is more than four defenders and a goalkeeper.
If Barcelona refuse to play a more possession style football to finish off games, it’s no surprise that the wing backs neglect their defensive assignments and leave the back too exposed while opponents throw everything they have at scoring an equalizer.
We can’t seem to get to the end of games, our problem is sometimes we want to attack too much and we forget that there are only a few minutes left and we have the game won; let’s hope we learn from it and it does not happen again.
Teams ask for patience early on in the season. Despite winning their first four matches, it feels like Barcelona have a long way too go before they’re playing the kind of football that leaves everyone convinced.
Years of neglecting the need for another centre back is one of the causes for the problems they’re having now, but it’s also about style and being able to cover for each other on the pitch. Barcelona haven’t been able to play in a way that creates dependency between players when it comes to filling in a defensive role while some players are attacking. The last couple of seasons have taught us that it might not happen at all, but there’s no sense in claiming their attempts at fixing their problems will fail at this stage of the season.
We need a bit more time, it’s been like this in recent seasons and Tata needs time to make changes, we’re looking for a balance between direct play and different ways of playing the game. After only one month it is going well, but we can get better.