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Tactics Board: Dani Alves can’t defend

by Staff Writer | Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Our new feature the Tactics Board takes a look at Barcelona full-back Dani Alves and his two mistakes against Real Sociedad that cost his side two goals.


It is no secret that Dani Alves is one of the best attacking full-backs in world football but his defensively frailties are often exposed and I have picked out his poor positioning that seemingly cost Barcelona three goals against Real Sociedad on Saturday night.

1) Chori Castro makes it 1-2

After a defensive clearance from Jordi Alba, Barcelona fail to deal with a high ball in which Xabi Prieto beats Gerard Pique to a header but in the replay, look at the positioning of Alves. Why is he almost hand in hand with centre-back Carles Puyol, thus neglecting his role as a full-back.


His lack of awareness that Castro is lurking on the edge of the area (circled in red) is really poor for a player who has played at the very top-level for as long as Alves has.

Why he is next to Puyol is strange but the Brazilian has had a tendency to do this during his time at Barcelona and once again on this occasion as the ball fell loose to Castro, the Uruguayan was free to fire past Victor Valdes.

2) Castro make it 2-2

Once again for Sociedad’s second goal, whilst it is not a carbon copy of Castro’s first, Dani Alves’ movements are. He begins again alongside Puyol in the middle of the 18-yard box but leaves Castro in acres of space, alone on the left hand side.


Real Sociedad went on to win the game when Imanol Agirretxe scored a late winner but once again I feel this could have been helped if Alves was in the correct position.

3) Agirretxe winner 3-2

If you watch closely during the game, Alves is once again next to the centre back, this time Javier Mascherano and the Argentine defender signals to Alves about the presence of Agirretxe but Alves then realises he should be out wide and leaves Sociedad striker free to get in behind Mascherano.


Basic defensive knowledge and awareness is needed from Alves in all three situations. Although he can be awarded for trying to help his centre backs Puyol and Mascherano, it was the wrong thing to do.

He must remember his key focus, to be a right back. One that attacks frequently and in his care, more than often but the main attribute – Defend.

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