BarcelonaRobert Lewandowski started the season with a different mood. He is one of the pillars of the dressing room, but things in the pre-season had not gone as he wanted. And the start of the League, neither. In the first two games, the Pole went virtually unnoticed against two teams that faced Barça with a low block, very low. They were Getafe (0-0) and Cadiz (2-0). This did not improve his mood, sulking because he needed more crosses and complaining that he was not getting enough balls in an optimal position for the shot.
Playing against two teams that defend with a lot of troops in and near their area always makes it difficult for the centre-forward, who sees how little he touches the ball and has the instinct to get away from the centre-backs. This is the solutionor that Lewandowski tried to put into practice: to move away from the position of we to go for more balls in the midfield position. There is no reason why this is always a bad thing for the team, because it allows for movements to be made for the arrival of the insides or also the sides (especially in the case of Balde). But the truth is that the former Bayern player is more profitable in the position of centre-forward, despite making less contact with the ball.
There is also a temporary factor: at the age of 35, he has not lost his goal-scoring flair, but it is true that both in the second part of last season and in the first games of this season, he was seen to be less agile in the controls and the pass . Some losses that conditioned the team’s defensive structure in the offensive phase. All this led Xavi Hernández to say after the game against Cadiz that Lewandowski had to be patient and not lose his position. It’s not that the ram can’t score away from the box – in fact, he’s always been a footballer with a great understanding of the game – but right now he can help the team more by performing the functions of a we classic
A different ecosystem for Robert Lewandowski
At Barça, Lewandowski has not been able to replicate the assistant ecosystem with which he had shone at Bayern Munich. Having Thomas Müller as a second striker helped him, both to condition the vigilance of the rival defense and to occupy the spaces that he freed up. In the Bavarian team, he also had a rich roster of quality wingers – Coman, Gnabry, Sané… – who fed him with crosses, one of the Pole’s main problems – and, in fact, many forwards in the center of the area as they lose speed over the years-. The rhythm of German football, more prone to counter-attacks, is also different from that of the Spanish League.
In an interview in June with the delegation of Canal+ in Poland, Lewandowski also asked for more footballers in the area: “I encourage my teammates to look for the area or the unmarked behind the defensive line. This is where it is easier to finish or pass the ball […]. Sometimes it feels like we’re playing handball, everything revolves around the perimeter.” It’s easy to read between the lines that what he was asking for was to have a second striker nearby. And that figure has been found in the last two games with the entry of João Félix, the apple of Joan Laporta’s eyes and the main advocate of his signing.
The Portuguese attacker has had a direct impact on Lewandowski’s goalscoring box in two matches in which they have agreed on the starting eleven. Against Betis, with a great gesture of quality that made the Olímpico crowd stand up: Félix let the ball pass between his legs, which confused his defender (Marc Bartra) and allowed the ball to reach in perfect conditions at the unmarked we blaugrana Against Antwerp, the player on loan from Atlético de Madrid made a cross to the second post that Lewandowski sent plastically into the back of the net. The Pole also assisted Gavi against the Flemish.
No changes in the organizational structure
From the coaching staff, the change of Lewandowski’s chip is not focused on an exclusive issue of the players with more offensive responsibilities, but they synthesize it as a matter of having added talent in a more global way throughout the team with the arrivals of Félix, Cancelo and Gündogan, the latter defined as “a gift from heaven” by Xavi after the thrashing against Antwerp. “Robert has been very good in the last two games. But not only him, but the whole team. The sum of talent is showing. We already had the organizational structure, but now the individual quality has risen and that makes that more balls arrive and better conditions in the offensive positions,” sources from the dressing room comment to the ARA.
“This is the line to follow, but we know that not all games will be easy and we will find that we will generate fewer chances”, they add. Xavi has given up a fourth midfielder to make way for João Félix, a bet that has worked out well for him so far. Celta’s visit to Montjuïc this Saturday (6.30 p.m., Movistar LaLiga) will be a new test to continue seeing how the team evolves and how Lewandowski flows, who between Barça and Poland accumulates eight games in a row playing everything.
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