A Full-Back Attack Game, but there is a crucial problem to fix!

Mallorca vs. FC Barcelona
(Photo by David Ramos / Staff/Getty Images)

It looks like we are back to see Messi and Jordi Alba best season back in 2015 and 2016, it was close enough. Last night, FC Barcelona returned to La Liga game after Covid 19 lockdown and recorded a 4-0 victory away at Mallorca. With that, it brings us to the problem Barcelona had in the game. It is ominous to point out problems when the team has won a game by four goals. 

It was a great game where FC Barcelona used their wingbacks and the space available to them to the most. But, here we go, But the central crowding remains an issue for FC Barcelona.

Packing the middle of the field will not workout

On field position map
On field position map (credit: SofaScore)

As shown by the position map on side shows, the middle of the field remains an issue for Barcelona. The FC Barceona midfielders were lacking in terms of their poitional awareness. Like we use to see in Barcelona from 2009 to 2016. The three midfielders were often get caught behind the opposition’s second pressing line. They were often caught flat-footed in attacking transitions. There wasn’t much movement between the lines.

And this was the reason that most of Barcelona’s chance creation was created by booth the Full backs. As they were playing like midfielders cum wingers. One more important thing to notice is that Barcelona doesn’t have any fast and tricky player on the wings, like Neymar and Ousmane Dembele. Ansu Fati is a still-growing kid. A quick winger is crucial because he can progress the ball and play it off from the full-backs. That has become a week point for FC Barcelona and which most of the teams are exploiting. They know the only place FC Barcelona can attack is from the middle of the field and teams just always overload their central spaces throughout the game and quickly regaining the ball once it was pushed out wide. This lead to another problem for Barca is the defensive strength. Currently, Barca got only 3 world-class defenders and one 21-year-old kid. 

Need a pacey and tricky player for Attacking Wings

Barcelona needs to understand that just by overloading the middle of the park and only targeting the wings by their full-backs will not work out with good and big football teams in Europe. Setién has to come up with a solution to make players understand their positional awareness to make them become more disciplined in their overall positioning.

The game started with the regular formation 4-3-3 with Sergio Busquets often drop into the defensive line, between Gerard Piqué and Ronald Araujo. And, Arturo Vidal on the right side and Frenkie de Jong on the left. FC Barcelona’s full-backs were at their best performance, they were maintaining width, even more so than usual. Both Alba and Roberto were pushing up high and extensive areas to take advantage of the subsequent central overloads where Martin Braithwaite, Vidal and Frenkie where maintain an      overload, along with Messi and Griezmann. 

Still on Top of the Table with 10 More Games

This did work for the most part. And the first goal came from a lovely lobbed ball from Alba to Vidal who scored in the opening minutes. Both full-backs finished with five attempted crosses, one key pass, three interceptions and six clearances.

Mallorca tired in the press, and Barcelona took advantage of space left behind with both the full-backs. Later Setién even and even added Junior Firpo and Nelson Semedo on the wide areas.

The next game will be a home game against CD Leganés. With Jordi Alba out due to suspension. And with Lenglet back from suspension, with plenty of options in midfield along with youth academy players, if Setien wants to freshen things up. Also, with five substitutes to play with, which could allow some of his youngsters to get some long-awaited game time.