FC Barcelona: Inspired Marc Bartra Deserves Extended Run as a Starter
He has delivered.
Casting off his insecurities, the fresh-faced 22-year-old looks a new player. A player capable of marshalling Barca’s back four.
In football, success takes talent, perseverance and a hell of a lot of hard work. However, it also takes fortune, and many talented footballers never get that lucky break. Many are left eternally waiting.
That is exactly how things looked for Marc Bartra until just last week, when fate finally threw the kid a bone.
That Mascherano’s injury was caused, incredibly, by his own teammate, Sergio Busquets, makes the situation even more a twist of fate.
Despite Barcelona’s lack of defensive depth last season, Bartra started just eight of a possible 72 matches. He largely performed well, but Barca evidently want someone who commands the line without fear. If one criticism could be made of Bartra’s performances, it was that he showed hesitancy.
Stepping off the bench against Real Sociedad, however, the young man showed nothing of the sort.
He completed all of his 34 passes. A number of well-timed tackles, coupled with his team’s dominance, gave him the confidence to surge forward for a late goal. That adds up to perfect drug for self-belief.
Against Almeria, the U-21 Spanish International was even better, putting in a shift widely considered worthy of man-of-the-match accolades.
What we have seen is a new player. One who knew his career was on the line and thus gave it everything. This sort of chance might only come by once in a career, and Bartra is clearly aware of that.
Again at Celtic Park, the youngster showed what he brings to his team.
Physically, he is a far more rounded player than Martino’s other options. He is fast, strong in the air, and for a player who once appeared soft, he is now aggressively attacking the ball.
His newly found confidence is also allowing him to exhibit his fine qualities on the ball.
If his “Messi-like” dribbles against Almeria surprised you, they should not have. Bartra is not just another decent passer of the ball, but a player capable of playing as a fullback, running with the ball, beating a man and even taking a shot. He has shown it time and time again during his development at the club.
He could become a better ball-playing defender than Gerard Pique.
As a manager, it should follow that you pick your best central defensive pairing based on form. One does not drop a centre-back who is performing. Thus, Bartra deserves an extended run until his performances change, regardless of whether Mascherano or Puyol are available to play.
I am not arguing that Bartra is the solution to Barca’s defensive woes just yet, but I will not say he is not the solution either. For now, he deserves his chance to show what he can do.
All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com.
What have you made of Bartra’s recent performances? Does his future lie at the Camp Nou? Leave a comment and join me on Twitter.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?