the two big holes in Xavi’s Barça (that the egarenc hopes to fill)

BarcelonaBarça is in a hole from which it will be difficult to get out. The lost final and the humiliation of Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup made Xavi Hernández wobble on the Blaugrana bench. But it wasn’t until the match against Villarreal, after conceding two goals against and letting the fourteenth-placed team in the League recover, that the coach from Egarón announced that at the end of the season he will leave the club to “relax the atmosphere” in the fight to try to revalidate the League title and get as far as possible in the Champions League.

Injuries have also played a role in the defeat of a team that lifted the League and the Super Cup last season. There have been many casualties in the Barça infirmary: from Pedri’s endless medical reports to the serious damage to the hamstring tendon in Alejandro Balde’s thigh.

But there is one that stands out more than the others: Ter Stegen’s disc protrusion, for which he underwent surgery in Strasbourg. The German has missed the last 15 games and the consequences for Barça’s goal have been dire. The Barcelona team had never conceded so many goals as in the most recent sequence of this season.

Barça’s worst goal since 1930

January 2024, as journalist Oriol Jové pointed out on RAC1, is already the worst month in Barça’s 124-year history. In just 31 days, the Catalan club has conceded 19 goals, surpassing the 18 in March 1930. And as a result, a new record has been set in the 1,489 months that have passed since its foundation.

Iñaki Peña has collected more balls from the bottom of the net. The player from Alicante, who completed his transfer to Galatasaray after a remarkable season at the Turkish club, has been Ter Stegen’s replacement. Their individual performance has gone from more to less in a framework of collective defeat.

With Peña under the posts, Xavi’s side have conceded 2.06 goals per game across the four competitions. In the League, the rivals have pierced their net 16 times in eight contested matches. He only kept a clean sheet against Atlético de Madrid (1-0), in a duel where he received three shots, one of which was a free kick that he saved with great credit. All this materializes in a rather bad statistic: according to the specialized portal State bombBarça’s substitute goalkeeper has avoided 3.4 fewer goals than expected, which makes him the worst in this last stretch of the season.

On the other hand, in Europe, Peña has conceded four goals in the two games played (2 per game), although he showed off a decisive performance on Porto’s day. In the Super Cup he closed the tap with Osasuna (2-0), but was beaten by Madrid (4-1), and in the Cup he has conceded seven goals in three games: Barbastre, Unionistes and Athletic Club.

The longing for the Zamora prize

In short, Ter Stegen’s absence has been felt in goal and Xavi has lost Zamora’s champion of last season, a trophy that the German won for the 26 clean sheets and the 18 goals conceded in 37 games played. With the lower back injury, the goalkeeper left Barça in the thirteenth matchday with 13 goals conceded. Among all competitions they have scored only 0.88 goals per game.

In La Liga, there have been six clean sheets and only one loss: against Real Madrid (1-2) in Montjuïc. Meanwhile, in the Champions League, he has better numbers than his teammate. Of the four duels played, he only had to collect the ball from the back of the net twice. In addition, he has also protected the goal against Antwerp and Porto.

But it’s not all about the goaltending factor or the huge leadership void that hangs from Gavi’s absence. Because with Iñigo Martínez as the starter in the axis of the defense, Barça has conceded only one goal per game. The plague of casualties have also ravaged him. The last was when it fell to Barbastre, the day he reappeared on the lawn. The Biscay has twice injured the biceps femoris in each thigh and has missed 11 of the last 12 matches.

He has only been seen eight times in Xavi’s starting eleven, six in La Liga and two in the Champions League. In the state competition, with him at the start, Barça have conceded six goals and have been able to score two goals to zero, and have only conceded defeat in the classic. The same thing has happened to him in Europe: he has won two games, but has conceded two goals, shared in Montjuïc between Xakhtar and Porto. The absence of Iñigo, who will play again this weekend against Alabès, has coincided with the worst defensive moment of the whole team. No other center – not even Araujo – has performed better than him. Now Barça will recover him and pray that he does not fall again. The same with Ter Stegen, who left the team alive in all the trophies and will now be reunited with his arms hanging.

2024-01-31 06:15:28
#big #holes #Xavis #Barça #egarenc #hopes #fill


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