Sport The way to improve Barcelona is by strengthening the defense
Barcelona barbecue hosted by Lionel Messi under investigation for potential COVID-19 protocol violations
A bonding barbecue for his Barcelona teammates may have backfired for Lionel Messi. The reported gathering has prompted a investigation by La Liga and local authorities into a potential breach of COVID-19 protocols. Local reports state that the party drew attention from neighbors when players were heard chanting "campeones (champions)" from Messi's Castelldefels property, according to the Associated Press. Barcelona is tied with Real Madrid for second place in La Liga and has a chance to take over first place in a Saturday matchup with league-leading Atlético Madrid.
Take a look at the team statistics in La Liga and it’s evident where’s strengths and weaknesses are.
With 84 goals in the league, the Catalans have scored 19 more thanand , the next-best attacks. But when it comes to the defense, Barça have conceded 14 more than Atléti, 11 more than Real, and even 5 more than Sevilla. The blaugrana have actually conceded as much as Real Sociedad.
It’s clear that if Barça wants to improve on this year’s league finish, they will have to do it by conceding less, especially at inopportune moments.
Barcelona vs. Atlético Madrid Live Stream: Watch La Liga Online, TV Channel, Time
Barcelona and Atlético Madrid face off at the Camp Nou with Barça trailing by only two points in the table with four games left. View the original article to see embedded media.Separated by only two points in the table, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid meet at the Camp Nou in a long-anticipated showdown with major title implications.Barcelona and Real Madrid, even on 74 points, have shaved Atlético's lead down since New Year's but have dropped points in their own right in recent weeks.
Lack of focus has been a clear problem all season long, although perhaps upgrades to the team’s choice of players are in order for the summer.
It’s all but assured that Eric García will sign from, but beyond that, how will the defense be bolstered?
Matthijs de Ligt () could perhaps be a top transfer target for Joan Laporta’s first summer back in charge, but is he too expensive? The Catalans had tried to convince him before, back when he used to play for AFC Ajax. He ultimately did not do what his then-teammate Frenkie de Jong did, choosing not to go to the Camp Nou.
Barcelona could take a look at their fullbacks as well as centerbacks, and even the goalkeeper (Marc-André ter Stegen will be out three months with an injury, and trust in Neto is relatively low).
Changing the midfield could also be a possibility for giving some cover to help the team concede less. Even improving the attack could do that, to try to pin the other team back further.
But one of the most important things would be not in terms of individuals, but improving how the team defends collectively. Of course individuals matter, but defending is often something you do as a unit. Whether it’s movements in the offside trap, or not giving the ball away in dangerous situations, or not losing your man in a set-piece.
There are no easy fixes for that, just long, gradual ones.
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