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Who Will Give Way for Puyol?

March 15, 2011

With Éric Abidal’s wonderful performances at centre half and Adriano’s solid play at left back, who will have to go when Carles Puyol returns from injury?

This year the Barcelona defence has not been as dominant with Gerard Piqué and Puyol as previous years, but when our captain got injured and Abidal moved in to his place, it automatically became more sturdy. The Frenchman has produced some excellent performances and at the same time proved himself as one of the game’s finest defenders.

Éric Abidal has played great in Puyol's absence. Photo from barcelonafootballblog.com

At the time when Puyol first got injured, I was worried. I highly doubted that Abidal, or Gabriel Milito for that matter, would be anywhere near the standards we can expect from Carles. In the case of Milito I was right, in the case of Abidal, luckily, I was truly wrong.

In previous years I have criticized the Frenchman for lack of offensive contributions and sometimes shaky defending. All of a sudden he has changed my mind, but with Puyol soon to be back on track he will most likely be squeezed back to that left back position. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a player of that caliber on the left back, but as of now I would much rather see him in the middle of the defence.

Besides, Adriano has done a good job on the left back, especially offensively, which is exactly what Barcelona want. However, Puyol’s role in the team is more important than just his defending. His morale, his energised way and his role as captain lifts the team hugely. I would rather take Gerard Piqué off than Puyol. Personally I would like to have three Abidal’s and one Dani Alves in the back row at this time.

It is, however, not likely for anyone to lose his place in the back four but Adriano. Even though he’s latest performances has been solid, Guardiola will surely cut him for the experience of Piqué and Puyol. He will, on the other hand, be the number one back up in case of fatigue, suspensions or injuries to any of the regulars.

Which again means less time on the pitch for Maxwell. The Brazilian left back has not been very impressive for most of his Barcelona career, and with Puyol returning, he won’t play much, barring any injuries, even though it seems as Pep has got a soft spot for him.

Gabriel Milito is another fringe player, who really wasn’t very missed when he was injured. The youngster Andreu Fontàs covered his spot on the bench, had three well-played appearances and even scored a goal against Rubin Kazan in the Champions League. And even when he was good to play, with Puyol injured and Piqué suspended, Pep Guardiola opted for the midfielder Sergio Busquets to play at centre half. 

It may be time to leave the club for Milito, as there are several talents looming behind him, such as the named Fontàs, as well as Marc Bartra and Marc Muniesa.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bongo Mcfreschau permalink
    March 15, 2011 7:13 pm

    I agree with you. Puyol is the heart of the Barcelona-defence. Milito has been weak, when given the chance. He will not be missed, if Pep decides to sell in the summer.

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