Barcelona’s players had an eventful international break but now return to La Liga action with an away match against bottom of the table Leganes.
Javier Aguirre’s side have collected a mere six points from 13 games and have managed just one win, while Barcelona head into the match top of the table courtesy of goal difference.
Barcelona’s away form has been suspect this season, but it’s imperative we win this one so let’s look at the three things the team need to do to pick up all three points.
Attack down the wings
Leganes have conceded 22 goals already this season and have struggled against head-on attacks. In particular they have suffered from attacks down the wings, and this is the area Barcelona must target. With proficient, quick wingers like Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati and Carles Perez all available, the visitors have the talent to create all sorts of problems down the flanks.
Leganes started the league with a three-man defence but are slowly transitioning to a more defensive 5-4-1, as seen in their last match against Real Sociedad. It will be interesting to see how one of the league’s leakiest backlines defends against one of the world’s best attacks.
Take risks in the Leganes penalty area
Leganes have conceded a lot of fouls and average 3.2 yellow cards per game, the second highest in the league. It’s also worth highlighting that out of the 22 goals they have conceded, five of them have come from the penalty spot, which also happens to be the second highest in the league. These stats indicate that Barcelona need to pile on the pressure in the final third, as it’s likely Leganes may concede a penalty, or better, a direct free kick. And we all know who’s going to take that.
Pass, pass, pass
Leganes have averaged a possession stat of 45.9% which is the third lowest in the league, while Barcelona lead the charts with a mammoth 61.3%. Also, Leganes have been clumsy doing anything with the ball - they have recorded a passing accuracy of 74% compared to Barcelona’s 87.7%. All of which means Barcelona should look to control possession and pass with their usual flair. Taking control of the ball will allow chances to be created, while Leganes are likely to commit errors when they have the ball. Barcelona must keep possession and tire out the hosts which will ultimately open up critical spaces. If Barcelona play their usual game, they should have enough quality to cruise to victory but they may have to be patient.