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08.02.2010 13:02

Red Card Reaction

Roger Bogunyà

The Barça team seems to thrive on adversity. Whenever players are missing through injury or suspension the squad always reacts well.

Barça is the cleanest side in the Spanish league. Having won the Fair Play award last season, the team leads this season’s competition at the half way stage. But they’ve shown that they know how to react when weakened by suspensions and injuries. They’ll need all their resourcefulness this coming weekend when Piqué, Márquez, Alves and Touré will all be unavailable.

Three improvised defences

FCB-SPORTING_x12x.jpgThe first time Guardiola had serious difficulties in fielding a strong defence was against Sporting last season. Piqué and Márquez had been sent off the previous match in Santander so Guardiola choose a defensive line of Alves, Puyol, Cáceres and Abidal. The team responded well and won 3-1.

The second time Guardiola was forced to line up a completely new defence was in the Spanish Cup final against Athletic Club. With Márquez and Milito both injured and Abidal banned, Guardiola brought Touré into the back line alongside Alves, Piqué and Puyol. Barça won 4-1 and lifted the Club’s 25th Spanish Cup.

FC.BARCELONA_-_MANCHESTER_UNITED_FINAL_CHAMPIONS_27-05-09_x13x.jpgThe last time the manager had to improvise a defensive foursome was in the Champions League final. Alves and Abidal were suspended while Márquez and Milito were injured. Guardiola choose Puyol, Piqué, Touré and Sylvinho, a defence that kept a clean sheet against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. Despite missing four of their defensive regulars, Barça won their third Champions League.

Red cards followed by wins

01-03-09_ETOO_01.jpgHowever, there’s a statistic that demonstrates that the team responds well after having a player sent off. So far, Guardiola’s teams have had 11 players sent off in 9 different matches. In the 8 following matches, the team has only been beaten once, winning 6 and drawing 1.

The only defeat in these circumstances came against ….Atletico Madrid – this weekend’s opponent – in the match that ended 4-3 last season.

Seventeen years later

The last time the Camp Nou witnessed the sending off of two or more Barça players was on 13th February 1993. Barça and Atlético Madrid drew 11 (1-1) and Bakero, Amor and Koeman, plus Vizcaíno, were all sent off. Johan Cruyff’s team ended up with 8 men.
Red Card Reaction
The 11 red cards of the Guardiola era
Last season

Villarreal-Barça (1-2). Piqué (Barça appealed and one of Piqué’s yellow cards was overturned and he was able to play the next match)
Racing-Barça (1-2). Piqué and Márquez.
Barça-Espanyol (1-2). Keita.
Mallorca-Barça (1-1). Cáceres.
Chelsea-Barça (1-1). Abidal.
Barça-Villarreal (3-3). Abidal.
Barça-Osasuna (0-1). Muniesa.

This season

Barça-Madrid (1-0). Busquets.
Barça-Getafe (2-1). Piqué and Márquez.

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