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10.01.2008 19:11

Márquez and Milito, strong in the middle

Sergi Nogueras

In recent matches, Frank Rijkaard has opted to play Márquez and Milito in the centre of defence, and both players have performed exceptionally well.

Milito and Márquez are becoming Barcelona’s two regular centre backs. They have teamed up for the last eight games, with the only exception being the second leg of the cup match against Alcoyano and the Champions league game with Stuttgart, less important matches in which they were both rested. With these two in the middle, Barça have only conceded 6 goals, 3 in the league, 2 in Europe and one in Wednesday's cup match with Sevilla.

Adding to the attack

mall-fcb4.jpgBoth players have also scored league goals this season, three between them, all of which have been scored from the head from dead ball situations, showing just what strength in the air these players have. Márquez has scored twice, once against Zaragoza from a cleared free kick and the other from a corner last weekend in Mallorca. Milito’s goal was also from a corner, against Recreativo.

Puyol, full back

llevant-fcb-puyol.jpgWith Márquez and Milito playing as centre backs, Carles Puyol has gone back to playing at right back, where he played when he first joined the first team. The player that has filled in most regularly on the left has been Eric Abidal.


With Edmílson injured and Touré Yaya away in Africa, there could be some changes in defence in future games. When the Brazilian was substituted against Sevilla on Wednesday and replaced by Thuram, Márquez moved into the front of the defensive line. This has been a fairly common practice in Rijkaard’s plans for the Mexican in recent seasons.
Márquez and Milito, strong in the middle
Strong at the back
Barça have a great defensive record both in the Liga and the Champions league this season. In fact, they are among the best defensive sides in both tournaments. In Europe, where Barça have conceded just 3 goals, only Chelsea, who have let in 2, have a better record, while in the domestic championship, Barça’s 13 goals against in 18 games is the best record in the competition.

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