FC Barcelona 2011/12 Season in Review: Victor Valdés

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 29: Victor Valdes of FC Barcelona looks on during the warm up prior to the La Lliga match between FC Barcelona and RCD mallorca at Camp Nou on October 29, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. FC Barcelona won 5-0. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Report: Some people will surely disagree with me on this but Victor Valdés did not have a good season - at least by his standards. Valdés started the season in good form, not allowing many goals but as the season progressed it appeared he was losing confidence and command of the penalty area which led to more mental mistakes. Let's just remember his ill-advised clearance attempt in one of the most important games of the season, against Chelsea, where he laid out Gerard Pique and left him with a concussion.

Of course being a goalkeeper at a club like FC Barcelona, where you face a lot of one-on-one situations, is no easy task. Though, Valdés once again showed he is a good shot-stopper, however, this season he was too often caught in no mans land leaving the attacker several options to score - one example of that is the second goal he allowed in the final El Clasico of the season.

In that same game Valdés showed one more thing he is just not comfortable with - clearing crosses, one of which led to the first goal. He is often undecided on whether to charge to ball and clear it or wait in the net and allow the defenders to deal with the danger.

Combine those negatives and you get the third highest goals allowed total allowed in VV's career - 42. Though, the injuries to the defense often left Valdés very exposed and the experimenting with a three man backline certainly didn't help him so there are some mitigating circumstances.

However, dispite all that Valdés still won the Zamora Trophy for the third consecutive time and fifth time overall which ties the club and league record held by Antoni Ramallets. Valdés also set the club record for longest unbeaten run going 896 minutes without allowing a goal thus breaking Miguel Reina's long standing record of 824 minutes. In the first La Liga game of the season (against Villarreal) Valdés equaled Andoni Zubizarreta as the goalkeeper with most appearances with 410, a record he has since extended by quite some margin.

Fcbsoul's View: "Its Barça....!!! Defenders and the GK do not have any work" that is what people say. They somehow feel we survive without them. You can ask Valdés or Puyol how they felt this season. With a varying-in-form Pique and new variations in midfield I think these two were very much on their toes throughout the 90 minutes. If you don't believe me check out the Barça - Atlético Madrid match (away). Valdés took on hit after hit and saved our behinds that day and kept our title hopes alive. This season we conceded only 29 goals. Thank you Valdés for that. The only thing I feel Valdés needs to improve on is his calmness. Maybe his aggressive nature defines his personality. On an honest note I feel Valdés has fared pretty well this season.

Moment of the season: Despite all the "bad-mouthing" I did in paragraphs above Valdés did have several good game this season. The first leg off the Supercopa de España against Real Madrid, the away game against Atlético Madrid and the game played at Rosaleda against Málaga come to mind first. In my opinion his best saves came against the Andalusian club where he made three absolutely brilliant saves but in that game the attack had him covered, something that can't be said about the other two games I mentioned where he kept a positive result for the Blaugrana.

The quality of the video might not be very good but I assure you the saves are.

Top 5 Best Saves Victor Valdes 2011-2012 New* (via iartur1)

Stats:

Appearances
51
Games started
51
Started on the bench
10
Substitute in
0
Substitute out
0
Minutes played
4739
Goals conceded
42
Saves
92
Clean sheets
22
Fouls Committed
1
Fouls suffered
2
Yellow Cards
5
Red Cards
0

Record with Victor Valdés in the starting lineup: 36-11-4

2012/13 Outlook: Victor will be back as the No. 1 keeper and will be Tito Vilanova's first choice. How exactly will Tito handle the goalkeeping situation remains to be seen but at this point it is clear that Valdés will start in La Liga and the Champions League, however, it is unknown if Tito will stick to Pep Guardiola's concept of starting the backup goalkeeper in the Copa del Rey. Considering the club's focus on improving the defense I expect Valdés to allow fewer goals next season.

Next Up: José Manuel Pinto

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