Following on from my previous SPOT ON analysis of the Spurs weakness that Chelsea exploited I now come to looking at the worlds greatest t...

Following on from my previous SPOT ON analysis of the Spurs weakness that Chelsea exploited I now come to looking at the worlds greatest team and to see if I can spot any weakness in their armour.

I think it's fair to say that most people are of the opinion that the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid have fantastic players going forward from midfield and into attack, but their defences aren't exactly water tight!.

Well after looking at Barcelona, there is plenty for Chelsea to be encouraged about and I will show you exactly why.

I've looked at some of the goals Barcelona have conceded since the turn of the year and have chosen a select few. Apologies for the quality of the screen shots but you try and get clear still images from the net!.

Barcelona weakness number 1 - Gerard Pique the ball watcher. 

The fact that Sir Alex Ferguson sold him on from United tells you something doesn't it as he isn't exactly a bad judge of character. From what I have seen, Pique isn't the best there is and maybe his performances and frailties are hidden by their attacking abilities as a team.

Here is two goals from the same game against Osasuna that Barcelona lost 3-2 away from home. Pique is at fault for two of their three goals because he gets caught twice ball watching and doesn't pick up his marker or man mark inside the box.

The ball is played over the top out wide left. Alves goes to challenge the man with the ball and Pique leaves the man he is marking is ball watching. Notice that Puyol already has a man covered behind him.

Now look above at the player Pique was marking. He has spotted that Pique has been sucked towards the ball and makes his move.

Puyol is second best as the striker he is marking has won the ball ahead of him and flicked it first time into the path of the forward Pique was marking. Pique has been caught wrong side.

The ball is played right into the forwards run, Pique can do nothing about it...

Here is their second goal and it's the same old story once again with Pique.

The the photo above, Barcelona played a pass back to Valdes and his clearance has come out wide left and the Osasuna player has beaten two Barcelona players to the ball and is about to head it forwards. Pique is behind the score graphic at the top of the page.

Look at Pique's position above now as the ball has come forward. The left back is covering the man over that side, but once again Pique is caught ball watching and has ignored the forward coming back into play from an offside position.

As the ball breaks down the left, Pique (two from the right) realises that the forward near the penalty spot is back onside and now in play and realises that he needs to try and get across to him.

As the cross comes in, Pique is two yards behind the forward who has got the run on him and has been caught out...

Valdes caught on his line tries to block the shot in addition to Pique but the forward gets to the ball first and knocks it home!. Pique at fault again.

Barcelona weakness no 2 - Dani Alves - he's lost his pace.

Dani Alves as we all know has been one of the best right backs in the world over the last few years. He is so strong going forward and the link up play between him and Messi is something to look out for but saying that, he isn't as quick as he used to be and his defending suffers because of it.

Look at the picture above. Barcelona have the ball in midfield and look comfortable.

The ball has been played wide right to Alves and he is put under pressure.

Rather than boot the ball away he panics and turns inside to play the ball back inside.

He passes straight to the Sociedad forward!. Seeing this, the Sociedad player nearest Alves spots a chance to make a run and does so. Alves is too slow to react to his error.

The forward plays in the runner from Alves and look, he has three yards on him and through on goal.

Sociedad score again and Valdes and Alves are helpless.

Barcelona weakness  number 3 - defending set plays.

Now Barcelona are not the biggest team there is and have problems defending set plays against the bigger sides. In instances of both corners and free kicks swung into the box, they like to adopt the Zonal approach to marking..

Free kicks

Now with defending this in swinging free kick, Barcelona have pushed up onto the penalty spot while zonal marking. They are defending areas they are in and not man marking. Puyol and Pique are next to each other in the middle of the crowd.

As the ball comes over look at Puyol. He is the third Barca player in the middle of the box counting from left to right. He has left Pique and is being sucked towards the ball with TWO Barca defenders already in that area. Pique is now surrounded by two forwards right in the middle.

Valdes has no interest in coming to claim the ball at all and look at now at Puyol. The ball has flown over his head and taken him out of the equation as he has misread the flight of the ball. Pique is doing his best to challenge the two forwards going for the ball...

One of them out jumps Pique and heads the ball into the net to score..

Defending corners.

Now here is an example of Barcelona's zonal marking going wrong.

Barcelona look to be set OK above as the corner comes over. Four defenders on the edge of the six yard box and 3 man marking... notice our old friend Alves again. This time he is the nearest to the near post marking the forward moving into that area.

Now look at Alves above, for some reason as the ball has come across, he has decided to leave his marker and go and challenge for the ball in an area where someone is already covering for Barcelona....

Alves jumps into Busquets who has already in that area and Busquets turns his back away from the ball. The ball hits him on his back and it turns into the perfect near post flick it does, notice how Falcao has gambled on the flick on and has left his marker for dead..

As the ball comes over Puyol realises he has been caught flat footed and ball watching along with Abidal as Fabregas does he best to come across.

It's all too late for Barcelona as Falcao volleys the ball at the back post into the net...

In summary

Barcelona have weaknesses and it's up to Chelsea to expose them. From what I have seen Barcelona are far from perfect and ARE beatable. Chelsea need to remain as tight as possible at the back and through midfield and to do the damage up front tomorrow night.

In order for Chelsea to score goals and win the game they have to do the following:
  • Capitalise on Pique's poor positional sense and make runs in behind him.
  • Force Dani Alves backwards and utilise any pace we have in the side against him.
  • Make the set pieces count from either free kicks or corners. If the delivery is right we WILL score from either of these.
  • Look for the pullback to the edge of the box for a late run.
  • Always aim for the back post with any high balls into the box. More often than not BOTH Puyol and Pique are guilty of ball watching hoping that someone is marking behind them.
  • Get right on top of Valdes. He isn't interested in challenging in the air for the ball up against big forwards or defenders.
  • To get the ball wide at every opportunity to hurt Barcelona where they are weak.
  • Juan Mata to play a free role in behind Drogba once again and look to break into space to hurt Barcelona like he did against Spurs
  • We MUST play the game at Premier League pace because they will not be able to live with us and in the second half the game will open up.
  • Barcelona at times attack with EIGHT men going forward - we have to remain compact and not lose our shape.
  • Chelsea can hurt Barcelona with the counter attack.
This game is there for the taking and if Chelsea can do the above especially as far as attacking set plays are concerned, we could score two or three goals on the night.

Invincible Barcelona? I don't think so, do you?


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