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25.09.2007 17:21

Abidal and Valdés ever presents

Marc Guillén

Víctor Valdés and Éric Abidal are the two players who’ve put in most minutes for the first team so far this season. Touré Yayá is next on the list, having featured in every game, missing just 24 minutes after being subbed.

Signed over the summer, Éric Abidal is already making the left back spot his own and his performance against Seville in snuffing out the threat from Jesus Navas and Dani Alves, one of Europe’s top right sided attacking units, was an excellent display of defending. It’s not just at he back that the Frenchman has proved his worth though, he’s also shown great adventure going forward and helping out in attack.


santander12.jpgOf course, it’s not unusual for a keeper to be ever present, but Valdes continues to stay injury free and in top form and there is no doubt that he’s earned his spot as Rijkaard’s number one stopper, a position he’s made his own over the last few seasons.

Over the last three seasons, with the exception of the game he was sent off in at the Nou Camp against Valencia in the 04-05 season, Valdes has figured in every minute for the team, whilst they were still in contention for a title, only making way for another keeper in the final league game two years ago once the title was won, and when qualification from the Champions League group was already assured.

Touré Yayá

WEB_01.jpgRijkaard’s other favourite this season is another summer signing - Touré Yayá, who has figured in every starting 11 so far, although he was subbed on 69 minutes in Santander and was also taken off in the dying minutes against Seville –needless to say to a standing ovation from the Nou Camp faithful.

Touré Yayá has taken over in one of the most difficult positions, running Barca’s midfield, ensuring there’s a link between attack and defence and acting as a first line of defence for the back four and his quick adaptation to the team is especially meritorious given the key role he’s been asked to fill.
Abidal and Valdés ever presents
New signings get their chances
Gaby Milito and Thierry Henry have also figured considerably in Rijkaard’s teams so far. The Argentinean missed the first game of the season through suspension and tehn came on for the second half in the next match. After that he’s played every minute at the heart of the defence. Similarly, Thierry Henry also failed to play the full 90 minutes in the first couple of games, but has since played every minute.

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