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01.12.2008 13:53

Teams begin at the back

Marc Guillén

Pep Guardiola’s Barça is outstanding in the defensive pressure it exerts in all areas of the pitch, and as a result it has the best defensive record in the League and Cup. Solid defence is thus one of the keys to the team’s success this season.

This season Barça has played with a 3 or 4-man defence, but all 10 outfield players have defended in all the team’s games. This commitment of the entire side is creating a secure basis for attack.

2 goals in 7 games

valdxs-fcb-getafee_x7x.jpgBarça has conceded fewest goals in the First Division, having let in 9 in 13 matches. Next come Seville with 11 conceded, while Deportivo and Valencia have let in 14.

Barça is increasingly solid at the back and in the last 7 League fixtures has only let in 2 goals; one at Malaga and another at home against Getafe. That means Víctor Valdés has the best goalkeeping record in the League.

Pressure up front

sev-fcb01_x4x.jpgBarça starts pressuring the other team as soon as it loses the ball. The strikers make it hard for opponents to build attacks and help out their colleagues in defence.

An indication of the effort being made by the attack is that in the 20 competitive games played so far, Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi have committed more fouls together than Rafa Márquez, Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué, the three most-used central defenders. Indeed, Eto’o has been cautioned five times whereas Márquez has picked up three yellow cards, Puyol two and Piqué only one.
Teams begin at the back
Not one chance in the second half
Barça’s great second half against Seville produced two goals by Messi, but the team was just as good if not better at the back. Seville did not have a single goal attempt in the whole of the second forty-five minutes.

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