Barcelona’s defence appears to be more stable without the ball in 2022/23 than in previous seasons. Let’s discuss how they improved from UCL humiliations, trophyless and seasons.
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2021/22 vs 2022/23
FC Barcelona had a season to forget in 2021/22. Not only did we fail on defene, but we also failed in almost every other department, resulting in a trophyless season. That was, unarguably, the darkest season in the club’s recent history.
Last season, our defence was much older and out of shape in comparison to this season. There, our defenders had an average age of 27 years and a total market value of €166m. As a result, we conceded 62 goals in 53 games, at an average of 1.17 goals per game, while only keeping 14 clean sheets, accounting for 26.4% of the total games.
So far, we have significantly improved our stats from last season. We have a defensive lineup with an average age of 26 years and a total market value of €231m in 2022/23, which is considerably better than our previous one. As a result, we have kept the Conceded Goals column down to 24 in 25 games (0.96 per game), while keeping clean sheets in nearly half of the total games (12 clean sheets).
This has been the most eagerly awaited upgrade of our game. Versatility that Araújo – Koundé – Christensen brings to the lineup gives the manager the luxury to control our lineup focusing on opponent tactics. Recruiting proper backups will only improve this setup.
Ronald Araújo (CB/RB)
The 23-year-old Uruguayan is currently one of the world’s top talents. He joined Barcelona B from Bosten River in 2018 for a fee of €4.70m. He made his senior debut for Barcelona against Sevilla in 2019 and was registered as a first team player on August 5, 2020. 2021/22 can be denoted as his breakthrough season where he was the lone warrior in our messed up defensive line. He currently has a market value of €60m. (Highest in his career). His current contract is set to expire in 2026.
Jules Koundé (CB/RB)
Last summer, the 24-year-old Frenchman was a top transfer target for many big clubs across Europe. However, Barcelona’s €50 million bid was the one that accepted by Sevilla. He has been used more as an RB than a CB, as a solution to Barcelona’s troubles in that position. He has been one of our most consistent performers this season. His current market value is €60 million, and his contract expires in 2027.
The 26-year-old Danish defender left Chelsea as a free agent last summer to join the Catalan club. He’s been fairly consistent since 2018, but has received little recognition thus far. He’s much more composed and calm than the rest of our defenders. His ball-playing abilities have fit in perfectly with our system. His contract expires in 2026 and his current market value is €30m.
After the retirement of Gerard Piqué, Eric García remains the only backup CB option for Xavi. The 22-year-old Spaniard has shown few glimpses of promises since his arrival from Manchester City but has yet to prove his worth. Aside from that Chadi Riad and Álex Zalaya from Barcelona Athletic might stand a chance.
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The 2nd Part of this article coming tomorrow and it will include,
- What to expect in 2023/2024
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