Barcelona must repeat their formula to stop PSG ace – report

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Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

FC Barcelona are now given the daunting task of keeping Paris Saint-Germain at bay for the second game in a row. The Catalan giants enter the second leg of their Champions League encounter against PSG with a slight goal advantage. However, to nullify the Parisians in consecutive games will be difficult for Barcelona.

The primary threat that Barça will want to ultimately remain wary of is PSG’s ace, Kylian Mbappe. In terms of danger and individual quality, very few players match the levels of this particular Frenchman. However, much to the surprise of everyone, Barcelona managed to suppress the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner to a great degree.

La Blaugrana will now need to repeat that performance, despite not being too sure about what the plans around Mbappe will be for PSG this time around. However, according to AS, Barcelona will likely stick to what worked best in the first leg, and suppressing Mbappe will be at the top of their priority list.

One way in which they ensured that the PSG forwards did not get to have everything go their way was through minimizing spaces between the defenders and the midfielders. Through this tactic, while Barça’s attacking options are sometimes limited as a result, Barcelona are able to call upon additional support whenever specific players get overwhelmed.

Another crucial tactical setup was avoiding playing a high line against PSG. In the past, Xavi’s insistence upon fielding a high line with his defenders has ended up costing Barcelona heavily on various occasions. However, by avoiding that same mistake against PSG, the Parisians were left frustrated by the lack of space their forwards had to run in behind the Barcelona defense.

Moreover, by ensuring that he remained isolated and covered at all times, Kylian Mbappe was left struggling with Jules Kounde. The French defender for Barcelona ensured that his compatriot from PSG did not even get to breathe without Kounde being right there to keep tabs on him every single time.

This isolation limited Mbappe to just three shots in the entire game, with none of them being on target. To ensure that this remains the case in the second leg too, Barcelona will need their defenders to be at their very best and be on the tip of their toes for every single duel.

Ultimately, Mbappe is undoubtedly among the world’s finest and he will need to be marked very carefully. His ability to endanger the Barcelona goal will be present all the time, but the Catalans must repeat a feat that they have already proven themselves to be capable of doing.

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