Let’s analyze FC Barcelona’s poor match against Porto, in which João Cancelo was the answer. We start with Barcelona’s problems out of possession, leaving many spaces between the lines, allowing several passing lanes to each Porto player who received the ball.
Here we can see the big gap that Pedri points out, with 4 Porto players who can link-up without anyone nearby to press them.
The work of the first line of press wasn’t correct . The 4-4-2 in a mid block, allowing the center back, Pepe, to drive without opposition. He runs into the final third and crosses to a teammate attacking the gap between center back and full back. The play continues and this was Barcelona’s other big problem, dropping too much into their box, allowing shoots from the edge of the box, as in the play of the first goal.
The counter-pressing wasn’t good either and this meant that in the counterattacks, as in the match played in Portugal, Barcelona suffered a lot. The team was disorganized and when a player attacked space, the Barcelona players were at different heights, totally uncoordinated, conceding scoring chances.
Barcelona’s solution to win the game was Cancelo. He played as a left back against a very narrow Porto block, in their classic 4-4-2, leaving Cancelo too much space to receive, with De Jong and Pedri understanding when to throw long balls, leaving him isolated.
This is how Cancelo scored the equalizer. Cancelo free on the left, Pedri gives the pass and none of the 3 Porto players who could provide support to play a 2v1 jump to defend the full-back, scoring Cancelo a great goal.
And the same thing happened in the play of the winning goal, De Jong with the ball in the build-up, narrow block, Cancelo pushes, the winger not chasing him and the right back covering Joao Felix. Nice combination between the 2 Portuguese players to score.
Barcelona didn’t have control of the game, but Cancelo’s performance was enough to defeat Porto.