Report: Promoted to the first team before the 2012-13 season Marc Bartra became the fourth man on a four man deep depth chart at center-back. One would expect that a player in that spot would play about 1500 minutes in the season, but for some reason Bartra was often supplanted at his natural position by players like Adriano Correia and Alex Song.
Bartra went the first two months of the season without making a single appearance, despite spending nearly ten games on the bench. He then played in seven consecutive games, four starts, before going two and a half months without breaking back into the first team.
Then, in April, when injuries and suspensions forced Tito Vilanova's hand Bartra made five starts in one month, including starting both legs of the forgettable Champions League semi final against Bayern Munich. But when May came along Bartra was once again relegated to the bench, often even to the stands, and only made one substitute appearance in the remainder of the season, even though a large majority of the games in that stretch were meaningless.
On those rare occasions when Bartra made his way on the pitch he didn't look over-matched. Understandably, he was rusty, but he was consistently in good position to stop opposing attacks. Bartra was most often paired with Gerard Pique, not an ideal partner for him, because they are very similar players. If Bartra was paired with Carles Puyol or Javier Mascherano the young man would've played his natural game where he could've impressed more.
Surprisingly Bartra struggled with the ball at his feet this season, completing only 88% of his pass attempts. He also had a few chances to help his team on offense, but most of his attempts weren't even on target. Bartra was, however, very strong in the air game, especially in his own penalty area, something that can't be said about many of his teammates.
Bartra made seven appearances with the Spain U-21 team, all starts, where he was arguably the most impressive defender on the team. He was a key member of the La Rojita team that won the U-21 European Championship that allowed only two goals in the entire tournament.
Moment of the season: It saddens me to say this but this season Bartra really didn't have a whole lot of moments he could be very proud of. Barcelona won only four games he started, and in just three of them he was able to help his team record a clean sheet. However, he was much more impressive at the U-21 European Championship where he was strong defensively and even helped his team with an assist - for the first goal in the semi-final against Norway.
Spain (U-21) 3:0 Norway (U-21). All the goals. Highlights.(15.06.13) 720 HD! (via faster2k14)
|Started on the Bench
|Shots on Goal
|BB Community Rating*||6.32|
*BB Community Rating represents the average rating (out of 10) Barca Blaugranes community members gave to the player for his performances throughout the season
Record with Marc Bartra in the starting lineup: 4-1-3
2013-14 Outlook: Bartra's status is at this point largely unknown. If Barcelona buy a center-back to reinforce the heart of the defense there is a good possibility the young defender will leave on loan. But if Bartra stays in Barcelona, with or without a new central defender, the young man will remain the low man on the depth chart and will probably again struggle to get playing time.
Next Up: Eric Abidal