Sunday, 3 January 2016

Are Barcelona's three draws cause for concern?

Three draws in four matches, the latest of which was the 0-0 stalemate in Cornellà, have wiped away Luis Enrique's men's advantage in La Liga. Some of the main issues at play during this run are explored below.
Why weren't Barcelona able to pin Espanyol back in their box? The 'Azulgranas' lacked freshness and legs in the latter stages, not aided by Luis Enrique's limited options on the bench, which enabled the hosts to breathe relatively easy in the final minutes.
Is Barça's squad strength really that bad? It's lopsided. There is a surfeit of defenders, meaning someone from the backline always finds himself watching on from the stands - against Espanyol, it fell to Thomas Vermaelen. In midfield, Sergi Roberto is the only option and however good a utility player he is, he alone is not enough. Up front there is only Munir and Sandro, whom the coach no longer believes can influence the big games. Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan becoming available is the best possible present Luis Enrique could have asked for from the Three Kings.
Are Barcelona's three draws cause for concern? It would be foolish to ignore them, although each match was different. They were by far the better team in Valencia, but were caught out late on. Against Deportivo they threw away a 2-0 lead after spurning several chances. Against Espanyol, meanwhile, they simply struggled to break down Constantin Galca's side. The common denominator is that their momentum has ebbed.

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