FC Barcelona secured a crucial victory against Porto in the midweek UEFA Champions League fixture. One of the most important factors of this victory was the defensive line for the Catalans.
Jules Kounde and Inigo Martinez were the center-back pairing, with the Captain Ronald Araujo on the right flank and Joao Cancelo starting ahead of Alejandro Balde on the left – where the Portuguese has been the most successful while he played for his previous teams.
Jules Kounde was caught out a few times by the Porto forwards with their precise deliveries to the forwards but an experiment to start this defensive line eventually did pay off and further damage wasn’t done.
The risk to start Cancelo on the left paid off, as he had his best game in a Barcelona shirt by equalizing and then providing Joao Felix an assist for the second goal.
Furthermore, even defensively, the Portuguese had a solid game. Both the Joaos ended up being the men to ensure a victory for La Blaugrana.
As reported by Mundo Deportivo, Cancelo’s performances on the left flank have added some fuel to the competition with Balde, who has blown hot and cold this season – evidently as the Spanish full-back wasn’t called up by Spain during the last international break.
But, this may be a good headache for Xavi as he can choose either of Cancelo or Balde for their upcoming games based on form and what the team requires.
After the match ended, speaking on the left flank dilemma, the Portuguese fullback said: “I don’t mind playing on the left, but Balde deserves it too.”
As thin with options they are in the midfield, on the contrary, they are spoiled for choices in the defensive line. Inigo Martinez’s signing has bolstered their defence and at the same time, Andreas Christensen has shown that he deserves more minutes than he played last season.
Moreover, the return of the veteran captain, Sergi Roberto has given Xavi a lot of options to choose from for the upcoming fixtures. However, having too many options may turn out to be problematic, as too many cooks spoil the broth.
For now, Xavi would be satisfied with the performance from this defensive line and La Blaugrana must be thinking about how to contain the in-form duo of Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata in the all-important fixture against Atletico Madrid on Sunday.