Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Formation to Blame for Barca's Defensive Problems
ESPN Soccernet, March 16th, 2007 3:36PM



It's gone left unsaid for months now, but Derek Rae of ESPN Soccernet finally examines the failure of Spanish champ Barcelona to reach the same peaks as last year. Dumped out of the Champions League by Liverpool last week and making impossibly difficult work of defending its La Liga title this season, Barcelona is indeed a shadow of its former self. If it weren't for a trailing pack of similarly inconsistent title contenders, Barca might have played itself out of the La Liga race altogether.

For one thing, the Blaugrana has now gone four months without winning an away match. Sure, the beautiful passing game is still there, and so are most of the club's playmakers, but all in all it's been far too easy for opponents to get in behind Barca's defense, as evidenced by the countless breakaways wasted by Real Madrid striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy at the Nou Camp last weekend.

Rae blames it on the 3-4-3 Coach Frank Rijkaard uses in away games, a formation that puts too much pressure on the defense, he says. Indeed, Recreativo Huelva striker Florent Sinama Pongolle, whose team hosts Barca this weekend, says he hopes the Catalan team plays that formation because it would give him more space to operate. Naturally, the lack of a defensive presence out wide (Barca tends to use three central playmakers and one holding midfielder) leaves it exposed in midfield, Rae says, as the left and right forwards, usually Ronaldinho and Messi, don't track back to defend and aren't expected to. The result is a lack of defensive cover and too much work for Carles Puyol and aging Lilian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta. Rijkaard should instead stick to the 4-3-3. Read the original story...

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Section 2 Around the Net
Youth soccer fights back against 49ers    
Northern California youth soccer advocates, including Santa Clara Youth Soccer League President Tino Silva, have launched ...
Cal South TOPSoccer Program Turns 25    
"We're all soccer players, special needs or not," says Sandy Castillo, chair of the Cal South ...
How Neymar Played in Childhood     
Neyrmar: "I used to pick up the ball, set up the furniture and go around dribbling ...
Roma Partnering with U.S. Youth Clubs    
Italian Serie A club Roma, which has American ownership, aims to forge partnerships with seven U.S. ...
LVG: Falcao "Has to Prove Himself"    
Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal has responded to criticism over dropping Radamel Falcao by claiming ...
Report: Adidas to Assist Messi Move?    
According to Spanish sports daily AS, Lionel Messi's sponsor Adidas could be the key to the ...
Toure Admits Man City Future in Doubt     
Speaking ahead of the opening games of the African Nations' Cup in Equatorial Guinea this weekend, ...
Ronaldo Blasts 'Defensive' Atleti Tactics    
Cristiano Ronaldo blasted Atletico Madrid for its unattractive style after the Rojiblancos ousted Real Madrid from ...
Fabian Johnson's 'Spat' with 'Gladbach Coach Favre    
According to Bild, USA defender Fabian Johnson is in a "spat" with Borussia Monchengladbach coach Lucien ...
Serie A to Introduce Goal-Line Technology     
Serie A will introduce goal-line technology next season after the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) gave its ...
>> Section 2 Around the Net Archives