Barcelona are facing tough times currently, both financially and on the field. Their poor run of results, both in the UEFA Champions League and in the La Liga, forced the board to sack Ronal Koeman, who has now been replaced by club legend Xavi Hernandez. The midfield maestro has a big task on his hands, as Barca need to improve both defensively and going forward, to become competitive again in various competitions. In this post, we will have a look at some of the defensive stats produced by Barcelona’s centre-backs in recent Champions League games.
Barcelona are currently ninth in the La Liga standings with just 17 points from the first 12 games. They are 10 points behind Real Madrid, who are second, and 11 behind leaders Real Sociedad, who have played 13 games. They are six points away from fourth-placed Atletico Madrid. After two 1-0 victories, the Spanish giants have made a comeback in the Champions League, as they have moved up to second in their group with six points, two ahead of Benfica and six behind Bayern Munich. The centre-backs’ performance has been an issue that needs to be solved, as Pique, Lenglet and Garcia, look to stake their claims on a starting place.
The above viz is the defensive dashboard for Gerard Pique of his recent Champions League games this season. He has been a major presence at centre-back for Barcelona for over a decade. He is still producing the best stats among the three players being discussed in the post. In the viz, the black line shows the average of the particular stat for all players in the UCL. It is visible that Pique has better than average stats in almost all categories.
The above viz is the defensive dashboard for Clement Lenglet. It is visible that he has not been performing at the same levels as Barcelona and their fans would expect. He has been average or a little above average in most of the stats mentioned in the viz, other than the aerial duels.
Eric Garcia’s defensive dashboard shows that he has also been mostly average or even below average in most of the stats. He has conceded a lot of fouls and taken cards. Eric Garcia and Clement Lenglet have not been performing up to the mark for Barcelona, and at this age, Gerard Pique cannot play for 90 minutes in every game. This is something Xavi will need to address to get the Catalans back on track.