Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Ramires gets past Puyol.
I’m not going to give a complete breakdown of the game – I’m sure you’ve read plenty of those articles.
I understood that Pep Guardiola wanted to save Dani Alves for the second half, thus Pep left Alves out of the starting XI. But with Gerard Pique’s injury, Alves had to come in sooner than expected.
We now see the significance of Pique’s injury. Gerard has the speed and height needed to play the lone CB for a 3-4-3 team position. With him out and having to use one of their three substitutes for such a freak injury, Barcelona’s defense was weakened and in trouble.
I have been very critical of this Barcelona defense all year and I won't change that. This defense cannot defend the counterattack at all, period. It cost us too many times this season including the Real Madrid game with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring on a counter and it cost us against Chelsea. Credit has to go to Frank Lampard and Ramires for executing the counterattack terrifically. For the second straight game, Chelsea score on a counterattack in injury time of the first half.
I still say Carles Puyol cannot be an every game defender anymore due to his lack of speed. With Eric Abidal out and Gerard Piqué being injured multiple times this season, this team was always thin in the back line. But what bothers me is that both Pep Guardiola and Sandro Rosell never made the defense a priority in 2011 in signings nor in bringing up youngsters from the B squad. Javier Mascherano has been a solid defender when called upon.
I don't know about you, but I want to see a defender or two be signed this summer. Jordi Alba would be a terrific signing. Looking to see if the club can sign Thiago Silva or Mats Hummels is needed. It'll be tough to get either Silva or Hummels, but I do want to see Rosell make an attempt to sign a CB. This current Barcelona defense is weak as well as it cannot defend the counterattack.
You want to know the crazy thing about all of this as far as the defense being the possible downfall of Barcelona, I CALLED IT MONTHS AGO. In the FRIST article that I ever wrote for Bleacher Report (October 24, 2011) entitled “La Liga: Someone Please Tell Barça Defense Wins Titles”, I talked about how the defense may become the reason Barcelona may not win the Champions League. Take a look at some of the things I said back then:
“Culés need to stop dreaming about lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy in May (although it does run through my mind at times) and consider what will ruin those thoughts of glory—Barca's defense is weak and will be their downfall.
“I don’t understand why people think that Barça doesn’t need to worry about those four (or three nowadays) defenders in the back.
“If we learned anything from the 2009-10 Champions League run, we learned Barcelona can struggle once in a hole score-wise.
“While the additions of Fàbregas and Alexis Sánchez have been great, the fact Pep Guardiola and Sandro Rosell did not sign a top defender this offseason is worrisome.
“Barcelona needs to invest in a true defender. No more Maxwells or Adrianos. No more midfielder/forward defenders.
“As a Culé and as one of those people who dreams of seeing Puyol or Xavi hoist that CL trophy, I like to think Barcelona will not buy into the smokescreen their great midfield creates and strengthen their back four.
“Some may think this is being dramatic but it's only a matter of time when the defense will no longer bend but break. Stop thinking about now and think about the future. Wins may be happening now but the future is not bright for the defense.”
Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so!
After you finish reading this article, please click on the link here and read that article from October. Take a look at the comments and read how people ripped me and my article. I wonder what those people that said “Poor article”, “Overdramatic” and “Is this serious?” are thinking right now.
There’s a reason why I’m The Voice of FC Barcelona on Bleacher Report.