Defending a team like FC Barcelona is one arduous job. A lot of players are brought to the club, inaugurated into the system, but very few of them are able to pull through. Good ones – conquer, others go home. That’s how the greatest team is established.
When FC Barcelona play, there are “two different sides” to gape at: the offensive one, which gained it’s fame through the likes of Cruyff, Messi or Ronaldinho; and the defensive side – a fragment of the pitch where dirty, but necessary work is dealt with. During the last few seasons, defense has been the most problematic component of Blaugrana’s display. Pique, Mascherano, Jordi Alba and Dani Alves were the last contenders to play there, and as long as they played, they seemed irreplaceable. But now that Alves left, Mascherano is ageing and our second alternative (Bartra) is gone, a completly new, yet to make a name for himself, 22 years old, French central defender – Samuel Umtiti joined the team as a knight in shining armor. Interesting!
So who’s Umtiti, and is he really good enough for Barcelona? Let’s cast an eye over the statistics:
His number of appearances for Lyon in the last season (30) is on a par with the rest of young, world-class defenders, which automatically speaks about Sam’s quality and noteworthiness for his team. Please note that the Frenchman has more match appearances than Eric Bailly – youngster who signed for Manchester United.
“In football there’s only one ball, so you need to have it” – Johan Cruyff
Barcelona’s philosophy is well-known through the years. Players try to have the ball, and when they lose it, they strive to win it back. That’s how system works, and who am I to change it? When a player loses possession, a further two, three more try to get it back by pressing, leaving their own positions. There may be just two outcomes: pressing was resultative, and the ball is again carried up and down the pitch by Barca players, or the opponent got out of it. If second one is the result, then Barcelona has problems, usually big problems. Considering the fact that chances of a successful pressing move are 50-50, it’s better not to risk and lose the ball, that’s why a defender at Barca must pass the ball, and pass it well. Let’s see how good is Umtiti at moving the ball:
After Thiago Silva, Sam was the second best passer (centre-back) in Ligue 1. This surely is a Barcelona quality. His pass accuracy is 87%, which according to his enormous number of passes, is pretty good. Not to mention that his average pass lenght is 21m. I’m not going to lie, Umtiti is a very exciting prospect in terms of ball control and vision. Something that draws to a close of our first argument.
Samuel Umtiti is a wonderful passer, that’s how he instantly becomes a good choice for Barcelona, but how secure is he in defense?
As you can notice, Sam was amongst the defenders with most aerial aerial duels won in League 1 last season. This makes him even a better signing, considering the fact that Barca’s been looking for a sturdy man in air for quiet a long time. He’s a fine tackler also, with more than one tackle sewn up per. game.
In conclusion, after analysing the statistics, Samuel Umtiti seems to be a very solid defender, with a bright future ahead. FC Barcelona made a well-thought judgment to buy the youngster, as he will surely add a lot to the team: starting from aerial display and ending with ball control. Now everyone is waiting to see Sam in action, because that’s a good chance to contemplate a new legacy inaugurated.
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