Time For Alex Song To Step Up At Barcelona
September 27, 2012 2 Comments
Transfer Fee: 16.5 million pounds
2011-2012(Arsenal) 2.9 tackles, 1.9 interceptions, 84.3% pass success
2012-2013(Barcelona) 3.5 tackles, 2 interceptions, 94.2% pass success
The sample size is small, but so far so good with Alex Song at Barcelona. The 25 year old Cameroon international is adapting well to his new surroundings, but this week against Sevilla he will be heavily relied on with Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol both out with injuries.
Song was brought in to stop the top playmaker of every La Liga opponent. Song brings more tackles to Barcelona’s team-low 19.9 tackles per game in 2011-2012, but will that also lead to more fouls committed? Rather than focus on a high-rate of tackles, Barcelona uses a system of zone marking and pressure that forces teams to make mistakes, and avoids the potential for fouls. Song averaged 2.1 fouls per game for Arsenal last year, higher than the .8 and .7 fouls per game that Puyol and Pique respectively give away. So the concern for Barcelona fans is that Song could give away dangerous fouls against a Sevilla team with 3 attacking players in the top 20 of fouls suffered.
On the ball, Song seems to be adjusting well to the Spanish game. He is boasting a very high pass success rate at 94.2%, and only has 1 turnover in his first two appearances. Of course we can expect his pass success rate to regress, but given the high-passing Barcelona style Song will need to hover around the 88% success rate that Barcelona has as a team. Look for him to sit deeper in the midfield this week to help out in central defense.