Barcelona will face Real Zaragoza on Saturday night, who won three of their last four matches. Barcelona are looking to extend the lead at the top from the two Madrid teams, but they have to do so without Sergio Busquets who collected his 5th yellow card last week. How will Tito react to Busquets’ absence?
The missing pivot
Sergio Busquets received his fifth yellow card last week which gave him an automatic one-match ban in La Liga. Tito’s mind since then must have been fixated on a plan to achieve a good result against Zaragoza without the important pivot. If he wants to employ another player on the pivot position, Song would be the best candidate. But ever since the massive performance in the draw against Real Madrid, Song never really improved and instead looked very confused after being tried on in both the center back and the pivot position.
A natural central midfielder, Song was planned to be a ball-playing defender like Mascherano. The problem is, even Mascherano, much more experienced, has shown that as a defender, he still has a long way to go. Adriano was also tried at the heart of the defense to inject some pace, but once again a lack of coordination from him in the offside line made Ronaldo onside who then scored the leveler during the Clasico.
Vulnerability in defense seems to be the main problem so far this season, but in spite of everything Barcelona still holds a 3 point lead at the top. With Puyol and Pique already recovering, it’s better to let Song grow on the pivot position and let him contribute on the buildup play rather than force him to play center defense.
Real Zaragoza have employed the 4-2-3-1 formation quite often with Helder Postiga up front and Apoño just behind him. Their wing play is very good, which was apparent during last week’s 8 goal thriller with Deportivo and also against Real Madrid. In fact, Zaragoza looked very promising against Madrid and it was only their lack of finishing that prevented them from a totally embarrassing score line.
This is a massive warning for both of Barcelona’s full back. Alba and Mascherano’s lack of communication was the cause of Mallorca’s goal last week, meanwhile Alves has been at fault for some goals that Barcelona conceded mainly because he was far up front pressing the attack and neglected his defensive duties.