Barcelona equalled their best-ever start to the league, on Saturday night at the Riazor stadium. They have played eight games, won seven and drawn one. They are still at the top of the table, with Messi on brilliant form, but there is still one big 'but': the defence. So far this season, in the 12 official games played, Barça have let in 17 goals. That’s a lot. Too many.
"I'm sticking with the positives, with the team's reaction to difficulties like playing the entire second half with ten men, as happened in Madrid", Tito Villanova said following the win in Coruña. He alludes to bad luck, to a shot going wide, to the fact that in football there are things that happen, to explain the high number of goals conceded. However, the numbers are indisputable. They are what they are.
The figures: in the eight league matches Barça has played, 11 goals have been conceded. This time last season Barcelona had only conceded four; that is, Barça has let in more than double. The last time anyone scored four goals against the azulgranas was four seasons back, in 08-09, when they lost 4-3 at the Vicente Calderón. There is more.
In their last three league matches, Vilanova's boys have let in eight goals, two (against Sevilla) at the Sánchez Pijuán, two in the Clásico and now four at Riazor. This had not happened since 08-09 either, when between the 23rd and 25th games of the season, Betis scored two against them, Espanyol won 2-1 at the Camp Nou, and then came the above-mentioned 4-3 by Atlético de Madrid.755091