Barcelona have really struggled with injuries to its first-choice defenders this season and the result is that they have conceded an unusually high number of goals this season; 14 goals in 11 league games.
Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova accepts how easy his side is conceding goals saying after the Mallorca match.
“Teams are not creating a lot of chances against us but it is true that we are conceding goals despite this”.
But has Barcelona’s defensive frailties exposed the weakness of Victor Valdes? Valdes has put together some gaudy statistics because Barcelona’s tiki-taka style of play means that opponents usually create very chances per game. But are those statistics due to his play, or the 80+% possession that his teammates seem to have in every game?
This year teams have been creating more chances against Barcelona and Valdes is not doing a good job of saving them.
This season Barcelona’s La Liga opponents are scoring at a rate of 1 in 7. So for every seven shots on the Barcelona goal, one of them (14%) is going in. In La Liga that is the fourth worst record. Only Rayo Vallecano, Deportivo and Zaragoza have worse records.
Leading the league on this category are Valladolid and Madrid, as opponents are scoring at a rate of only 1 in 12 against them.
So Iker Casillas save percentage this season is around 91.6% while Valdes’s is 85.7%. That is a huge difference.
What has to worry Tito is that in Europe, these numbers are actually worse! In the Champions League Vilanova’s side concedes a goal for every 5 shots against them (an 80% save percentage).
On two occasions in Europe this season, Barcelona have let in two goals after only five shots against them, against Celtic and Spartak Moscow in the Nou Camp.
Barca cannot continue to depend on Messi to bail them out of these high scoring games. At some point Valdes has to start making some big saves or Barcelona will be in the market for a new goalkeeper this summer.