Barcelona have to improve their defensive woes if they want to compete with the best

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Despite their shaky start to the 2019/20 campaign, Barcelona have finally been making up the lost ground and are tallying consecutive wins.

But even though the results have been better, their defensive woes will have to be resolved if they want to be real contenders in Europe.

On the chalkboard

On the surface, things look really good back in the Catalan capital.

Barcelona have won their last four games across all competitions, including a crucial 2-1 victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League and 4-0 demolishing of Sevilla on matchday eight of La Liga.

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By all standards, the Blaugrana seem to be flying high and all is well. But looks can often deceive and so can the results.

They might’ve won all of their last four games but even in victory, Barcelona look extremely shaky at the back and that could prove costly against better opposition, especially in the Champions League.

Defensive woes

It’s easy to look at Barcelona’s clash against Sevilla and conclude the Catalans were superior and that they played an incredible game at the Camp Nou.

But if we inspect things a little more closely, we can see that the Andalusians were, somehow, even more dangerous than their hosts despite not scoring any goals.

Not only have did they tally 16 shots as opposed to Barcelona’s 15 but they also recorded an expected goals value of 3.04, meaning that on a normal night of football, they would’ve scored at least three goals.

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Barcelona, on the other hand, recorded 2.40, suggesting their four goals were a bit of a stretch when everything is said and done.

Not to mention that they have conceded ten goals in eight games played in La Liga, which is the sixth-worst record in the competition at the moment.

Even when they are victorious, they seem to struggle and have already conceded 10.5 shots per game in La Liga and 12 in just two games in the Champions League this campaign.

Seeing how Luuk de Jong missed a total of four clear-cut big chances against them at the weekend, the 4-0 result in the Catalans’ favour is flattering to say the least and a more clinical team would’ve easily punished Barca for their mistakes.

Is Valverde the right man for the job?

Yes

Yes

No

No

If Valverde wants to finally turn their Champions League fortune around, he will definitely have to find a way to make his team more defensively solid.

At the moment, they are a way off that.

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