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31.01.2010 13:47

The facts behind the Sporting win

Jesús Carrillo

Barça’s win in the Molinon illustrated a number of interesting aspects such as the return of Pedro and Márquez to the starting line-up and yet another clean sheet for Víctor Valdés.

Rafa Márquez and Pedro Rodríguez returned to the starting line-up against Sporting. It was the Mexican defender’s first start since the 0-5 defeat of Tenerife while Pedro had had to wait since the match against Villarreal at the beginning of the year. As usual, he took his chance to add to his personal tally of goals.

Together against Sevilla

2010-01-30_PARTIDO_18.JPGThe last time Márquez and Pedro played together was against Sevilla in the Camp Nou (round 18). Márquez came on in the second half in place of the injured Carles Puyol, while Pedro replaced Henry a few minutes before the final whistle. Pedro, of course, scored his customary goal.

Forwards more fouls than defenders

2010-01-30_PARTIDO_04.JPGStrangely enough, no player in the Barça defence and midfield committed a foul during the 90 minutes of regular time. On the other hand, Ibrahimovic committed three and Pedro and Messi two apiece, both of them being shown a yellow card for their efforts.

Two fouls for the defence

2010-01-30_PARTIDO_22.JPGThe Barça defence –Puyol, Márquez, Piqué and Abidal– did not commit a single foul during the regular 90 minutes. In injury time, Abidal and Puyol committed the first fouls, which led to two free kicks. Puyol also picked up a yellow card and missed the Camp Nou clash against Getafe through suspension.

Valdés, unbeaten since 2nd January

The last goal conceded by Valdés was on the 2nd January against Villarreal. Since then he has kept a clean sheet against Tenerife, Sevilla, Valladolid and Gijon, giving the Barça keeper a huge boost in his race for the Zamora trophy – Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas has conceded 15, five more than Valdés.
The facts behind the Sporting win
Eight academy players
Once against, FC Barcelona put out a team consisting mainly of home-grown players - Valdés, Puyol, Piqué, Sergio, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Pedro. Bojan also came on for Pedro, which means that nine of the twelve players used by Guardiola came up through the Barça youth ranks. Few if any of Europe’s top teams can boost a similar record.

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