This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Even though it’s still fairly early in the 2019/20 season, alarm bells might start ringing in the Catalan capital. And even though Ernesto Valverde will have to fix multiple issues in his squad, their attacking woes should be top of their priority list.
The last two games were a really low point in Barcelona’s ongoing campaign.
Things were not exactly sunshine and rainbows before that but the 3-1 defeat to Levante last weekend and the goalless draw in the Champions League against Slavia Prague highlighted some of the major issues they have in their squad.
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And somehow, despite the Blaugrana being completely stacked in the attacking front with the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, they seem to struggle in the attacking phase immensely.
It seems that chance creation and the disconnection of their forward line is what is causing the Catalans most of their issues at the moment.
Even though Barcelona created more chances than Slavia Prague last Tuesday, tallying 14 shots compared to the opposition’s five, the number of touches in the team was quite alarming, to say the least.
Just the fact that their attackers were totally disconnected from the game with Frenkie de Jong, Arturo Vidal, Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi having only 243 touches between them, while their centre-back pairing of Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique had 240 is worrying enough.
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It signals that the Blaugrana have a real problem with actually involving their forward players in the game in the first place.
But it’s also not the only worrying instance when those problems in their attacking phase were apparent.
Throughout the season, Barcelona often get outgunned and outperformed by the opposition.
In La Liga, this disparity is not as emphasised as much as the Catalans’ tally of 12.1 shots per game as opposed to conceding 9.7, but the Champions League is more alarming with 12.8 shots per game vs 13.3 conceded per game.
Some of the better examples of this were apparent in their defeat to Levante when both teams managed nine shots, in the first game against Slavia Prague when they were outgunned 24 vs 13, the clash against Borussia Dortmund (13 vs seven) and Osasuna (15 vs eight).
Needless to say, for a team that has so many attacking talent, including that little Argentine fella, these are quite disappointing statistics to have under their belt.
If Valverde wants his team to start improving, he will have to somehow solve this huge issue within his squad.