An hour and a half ahead of kick-off, Xavi announced his Barcelona lineup that would take on Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Nine out of the 11 cogs in the team were rather predictable. Perhaps, some would have expected Ansu Fati to start over Raphinha, but that was neither here nor there.
Eventually, though, the two changes made to the XI were in defence. Eric Garcia had picked up an injury last weekend against Sevilla, and was rested for the Cadiz encounter the following weekend.
He was expected to return to the lineup yesternight, but Andreas Christensen started in his place, instead. While Garcia has been in great form, this was not a drastic or concerning switch. The Dane has started life in Barcelona colours very well, and was unsurprisingly solid vs Bayern, too.
The bigger change, however, came as neither Alejandro Balde nor Jordi Alba started the game. In their place, at left-back, Marcos Alonso was given the keys for his first official start.
Barcelona fans did not receive this news in good taste. Alonso, by popular opinion, is not a reliable defender, and pitting him against Leroy Sane sounded like a recipe for disaster.
Shockingly, though, Alonso came out of the tie as one of the best performers. He started the game by preventing two very likely goals through superbly-timed blocks. And ended the game with by far the most recoveries – 13.
Not only that, he completed by far the most passes of any Barcelona player – 60, at a success rate of 89.6%. One of those passes was a superb cross for Robert Lewandowski, right outside the six-yard box, eventually parried away by Manuel Neuer.
Sane managed to ‘cook’ him a couple of times, but the Bayern pressure did not get to him even once.
That said, he definitely should have done better for the corner that Barcelona conceded. In a chaotic box, Alonso was unable to track Lucas Hernandez, and in a flurry, ter Stegen could not clear the cross in time, eventually leading to a goal.
If Alonso can replicate…
Source link : https://barcauniversal.com/marcos-alonso-shuts-down-critics-with-great-performance-against-bayern-munich/
Author : Udhav Arora
Publish date : 2022-09-14 14:52:08
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