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NOTES FROM THE GAME VS FC BARCELONA

14 Mar 2017
Depor won a game in which it had the lowest percentage of ball possession on the season, and it did it having almost the double of chances than Barca. Álex and Joselu shone in a team that grazed the perfection.

The ten notes from the game Vs. FC Barcelona

1- Football is not only ball possession: Deportivo only had the 29% of the ball possession and still managed to win the game. A new lesson that the fact of having the ball isn’t a guarantee for the victory and not even to have more chances than the rival, because Depor almost doubled the shots on target compared to the Catalans (9 against 5). What happened is that the game of Barca was so thick that the player with more touches was Jordi Alba (115), while men like André Gomes only made 33 touches to the ball.

Pepe Mel said before the encounter that his team would surely lose if they were going to give up the ball one second after regaining it, and it happened at times in this game, but the key was that the defence was well placed and didn’t concede any space to an offensive line that was unexpectedly thick, it also helped the aids at the back.

2- Picnic at Barca’s back zone:In recent games FC Barcelona switched the draw into a 3-4-3, the figure was saw again at the Riazor with Mascherano, Piqué and Jordi Alba composing the trio at the back. The figure works if the defenders are fast and if they receive the help of the midfielders, and the latter was what failed as André Gomes and Sergi Roberto were not retreating in order to help, which opened the space to Depor’s attack.

The situation was more dramatic as Barca were trailing and only the lack of accuracy by Depor avoided a bigger score. The cracks were so big that the locals didn’t have problems to create ten scoring chances despite only having the 29% of the ball possession.

3- The B squad: Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the result is the fact that Deportivo defeated a team that was unbeaten for a full round despite the several patches at the starting eleven. And it’s that the best defender, Sidnei, was injured, the most in-form midfielder, Pedro Mosquera, was suspended, same thing that the top-scorer at the team, Andone. In the end the rotations worked out and the constant aids were key for the result.

4- The return of Álex Bergantiños The Galician was a starter as Pedro Mosquera was suspended, it was his first appearance at the starting eleven in ten months (the previous time was against Atlético Madrid, March 12, 2016), and he shone, but not only by scoring the winning goal, but also by been a third centre-back helping to mark dangerous players like Messi and Luis Suárez, thus he ended the game with seven clearances and four tackles.

5- The centre-backs: It was promising to be a busy night to Arribas and Albentosa, the latter pointed out after errors committed in the last games with Garitano, and surprisingly they were among the players with less touches in the game. Albentosa was the starter with less touches in the game (25, less than Lux with 38), while Arribas only made 34 (almost the half of them, 15, to clear the ball from inside the area).

What happened is that the aids were key to keep the result. Álex Bergantiños, Borges and Fajr were constantly retreating and helping the defenders, so the centre-backs never felt exhausted as the rotation system helped to keep the marks and close the spaces. It explains the low number of touches, because the global number was distributed among the collective.

6- Messi was off: The first thing to look after a defeat by Barcelona is to see what Messi did, because a defeat for the Catalans is almost always a consequence of a discrete game by the Argentine star, and it was like that against Depor. Messi was coming after scoring seven goal plus providing three assists in his last six games, but on here he was constantly touching the ball in zones where he wasn’t dangerous, his only shot on target came until minute 81 and it was an easy catch for Lux. Messi also showed that this wasn’t his day after missing the target in the last opportunity for his team, a direct free-kick at the last minute.

7- Joselu, a giant killer: Big game for Joselu, the striker completed four of the nine shots on target made by Deportivo and was always a real menace for the Catalans. This was his third goal with Depor on the season, the other two were scored against Real Madrid at the Bernabeú, which makes him a real giant killer, a player that grows in the biggest challenges.

8- Set-pieces: Depor scored twice in corner-kick actions, now the Galicians have netted eleven goals in set-pieces (three penalties, five corner-kicks and three plays in free-kicks), only Real Madrid (14), FC Barcelona (12) and Málaga (12) have scored more in this kind of plays. Barcelona were terrible defending the corners in this game, but before they have only conceded once in a corner-kick. 

9- The referee: There were complaints in the second goal as Fernández Borbalán whistled a corner-kick after a header of Arribas hit the post instead of been deflected by Ter Stegen, but the referee had more errors against the Galicians than against the Catalans. There was a shot of Fajr in the second half that should was a corner-kick, but instead the goal-kick was whistled (52’), later he didn’t whistle the clear offside of Luis Suárez and only Lux saved a second equalizer (79’). Borbalán also showed a double criterion with the yellow cards as Depor saw two yellows in soft fouls, while he didn’t do the same with the tackle of Andre Gomes and neither the protests of Mascherano

10- Breaking marks: This was the first victory over FC Barcelona in nine years, the previous success was a 2-0 for the campaign 2007/08 (April 28, 2008). It’s also the same number of years that have passed since Depor defeated a leader at Primera División, this since a month before the Galicians beat Real Madrid at the Riazor (1-0, March 15, 2008).

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