Let’s analyze the defensive problems of FC Barcelona in the last month of 2023. Barça was a team with more problems in attack than in defense at the start of the season, missing many scoring chances, but in the last month the defensive errors have increased, the main one being the lack of coordination of the players, making different decisions and being poorly positioned.

To see it we are going to analyze several plays, we start with Antwerp’s third goal in their Champions League match. The goalkeeper is going to throw a long ball and the Barça midfield decides to push, instead of retreat joining the defensive line, this makes the team not compact, leaving the players between the lines free, like the ones at the back of the midfielders.

Barcelona’s defense is losing many aerial duels, which means that the players between the lines can win the second ball or receive the pass from the player who is playing with his back to goal. If this happens, the midfield is too far away to support, having the opponent a dangerous attack.

This is what happens in this play, the player who wins the aerial duel turns and attacks space, no one follows him, poor positioning of the rigth-back who doesn’t press, Koundé looking at the ball, running the forward in-behind free and the other center-back too far away to support. Giving the Antwerp player the pass taking advantage of the gap between full-back and center-back.

In this goal against Girona we again see the defensive block poorly positioned, a lot of distance between the players who are pressing and the defensive line. The middle of the field not giving support to generate superiority to win the long ball from the goalkeeper and the center back on the other side leaving a large gap.

Another aerial duel lost, Cancelo does not cover his mark and Koundé, due to his poor positioning, will not be able to defend, Stuani nods the ball down with his head to create a scoring chance.

Exactly the same happened against Almería. The opponent breaks the press, poor job by the midfield and the defensive line is completely uncoordinated.

In this Almería goal you can see how the midfield doesn’t occupy the spaces well, which, added to a poor press, allows the pass, breaking 2 lines. The defense is very slow making a decision, whether or not jump to intercept the pass, while on the other side Cancelo is too high, having Barça a big weakness in the gap between right back and center back.

When Araújo decides to jump to recover the ball it’s too late, different heights in the defensive line, a lot of passivity and the Almería players are no longer offside, receiving the pass Baptistao to finish.

Many problems for FC Barcelona’s defensive line, which has not kept a clean sheet since December 3 in the match against Atlético de Madrid. Xavi will have to improve his team at the beginning of 2024, since in attack it seems difficult to improve the finishing, due to the current level of his players.

Other Analysis