Barcelona beat Valladolid in the match that brought them together in the third round of the Spanish League at Spotify Camp Nou with four clean goals.
The victory was very important for the Catalan club’s fans and for the team to enhance self-confidence and pave the way towards competing for the Spanish League title, which has been absent from the team’s coffers for years.
It is true that Barcelona scores a lot of goals and shows its stars more than wonderfully in all lines, but this is also not the most important.
The victory of the Catalan club came with a very great performance, which has become somewhat accustomed to the presence of Xavi Hernandez, but most importantly the victory is the way to achieve it.
ferocity in cutting the ball
Barcelona has emerged as a club that always wants to have the ball in their possession, this is the philosophy that Johan Cruyff put forward many years ago and before him Rinhos Michels.
Every time Barcelona lost the ball, its stars would come back to get it again in the shortest possible time, something that continued from the first minute until the last.
Nothing could stand in the way of the stars of the Catalan club in order to recover the balls, even in the most moments of their control of the match, Xavi appeared on television, asking them to press more and stronger.
The only exception throughout the 90 minutes may have been in the last five minutes of the first half, when the guests forced their word a bit.
The numbers will judge you
Some see the use of numbers and statistics to flatten things and misuse the tools that have become available to everyone who is interested in football at the present time, as they may not accurately reflect reality.
But he promised us that the statistic that we will use in the coming lines expresses very much about reality, and approaches it accurately in some aspects.
About seven years ago, understat began calculating a unique statistic, which basically measures how well each team is pressing opponents, and how successful that pressure is.
In the case of Barcelona, we will find that the best numbers of the Catalan team in that statistic were at the beginning of its monitoring in 2014/15 when Luis Enrique was technical director of the club.
At that time, Barcelona won the historic treble for the second time, and swept all the available tournaments, achieving its best results since the departure of Pep Guardiola.
The series of winning four continues with Xavi in the new season 👀
Real Sociedad 4-1 ✅
Valladolid 4-0 ✅ pic.twitter.com/AIlF7GLRsB
How does this statistic measure the pressure process and its success?!
The statistic is called PPDA and stands for Passes Allowed Per Defensive Action or the opponent’s completed passes for the number of defensive actions taken.
The number of passes completed for the opponent is divided by the number of defensive actions the team has, which are ball cuts, unsuccessful cut attempts and confrontations, and fouls committed.
The higher the score, the worse the team applied pressure, and the lower it was, a measure of the success of pressing opponents and retrieving balls.
In Barcelona, the numbers were lower in the era of Enrique, but since then they are rising relentlessly and relentlessly, and given the available numbers, the Catalan club never returned to the 2015 numbers.
Unfortunately for Pep Guardiola, this statistic was not applicable in his presence in the ranks of Barcelona, but his famous “six seconds” rule, which requires the need to recover the ball before six seconds pass at the feet of opponents, had an amazing and incomparable effect in pressure and recovery operations.
Barcelona numbers in that statistic over the past years
A clear relationship to the state of defense
The “understat” statistic also shows that the best percentage of receiving goals for Barcelona compared to the expected goals was in 2015 as well, when the PPDA statistic was at its best.
Gradually, the rate of receiving goals worsens, the defense becomes weaker with the passage of time, and the “PPDA” statistical value in the ranks of Barcelona increases, so that it remains at its peak in 2019 and gradually decreases in 2020.
Expected goals against Barcelona compared to the actual goals received
Where is Xavi standing?!
The numbers available at the moment do not show the Xavi site from the expression amid that statistic, but we do not need accurate calculations to know that the situation in Barcelona is definitely better than it was before 2020.
The Catalan club against Valladolid and Real Sociedad appeared with real fangs that refuse to lose the ball.
At the end of the year, the numbers may be better available, and Barcelona will certainly be at the forefront of the La Liga teams in that statistic if it continues in this way, not as it was in 2020 when it finished fifth.
Barcelona’s ranking among La Liga teams in the PPDA statistics in recent years
The real legacy of the Catalan club is not in tournaments, goals or individual and collective awards, but in the way in which a limited number of men have been devoted over half a century, achieving unparalleled success.
Xavi is on his way to follow in their footsteps, he just has to keep memorizing his superstars for pressing and closing corners of passing and making those tasks normal for them.
In the end, it may be that the Catalan club to return to the podiums or not lead them to it, but that will not matter at the time, because Xavi will have been loyal to the philosophy and style that drew the club’s modern history.