Barcelona-Girona: visitors take a point at Camp Nou after congesting central areas defensively and encouraging Portu to stretch his legs (2-2)

Eusebio Sacristán knows Barcelona both as an opponent and from within, having spent part of his own coaching journey with the club’s B team. While managing Real Sociedad, he had plenty of success against the Barça, especially at Anoeta, with his high press and technical midfield always a combination that caused Barça plenty of problems.

Eusebio’s approach stole more points from the Catalan giants on LaLiga’s fifth match day, as Girona scraped a 2-2 scoreline at Camp Nou against an Ernesto Valverde side that had to battle for the best part of an hour with ten men.

Barcelona's positioning when they had the ball and Girona's pressing movements

Girona staying narrow and congesting the edge of the box to frustrate
Girona set up to frustrate, deploying their usual central defensive three of Juanpe, Pedro Alcalà and Bernardo Espinosa. All three can be combative, go man-for-man and hold their own in the air, as the away side made the usual presumption of trying to funnel Barcelona wide to encourage crosses into a penalty area that they were confident protecting aerially against the likes of Luis Suárez. Their only aerial concern in open play could have been a roaming Arturo Vidal.

Marc Muniesa and Aday Benítez lined up at wing back, with 19-year-old Pedro Porro not flung in at the deep end after a strong start to the campaign. Instead, Eusebio opted for more experience and options that were better versed on the defensive side of things.

Right wingback Aday remained fairly narrow, while still keeping an eye on Jordi Alba’s movements, but did offer the quality required to swing in a cross for Cristhian Stuani . . .

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Simon Harrison (23) is a freelance football journalist. Writes for FourFourTwo, WhoScored and Tifo Football. Specializes in Spanish football. Also host of Talking La Liga podcast. [ View all posts ]


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