Barcelona must drop Jordi Alba to shore up defence

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Jordi Alba has been a fixture on the left side of the Barcelona defence ever since his repatriation to the Catalans after a brief sojourn to Valencia.

With a mixture of speed, agility and first rate crossing ability, Alba's is an enviable skill set.

However, the one thing that occasionally lets him down is precisely the part of his game for which he is handsomely remunerated. Defending.

Like a mirror image of Dani Alves on the opposite side, Alba has an engine that allows him to function at full throttle from first minute to last and, in many respects, he is very much the modern day left-back.

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But just look at how he was exposed defensively in the Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain recently.

At this level, it was embarrassing to put it mildly. Lucas Moura took Alba back to school.

And followers of Barca can't say that this hasn't been coming.

Defending at it's best is a fine art and can be every bit as intoxicating and entertaining as the attacking part of the game. Just take a look at Jeremy Mathieu's start at Barca if proof were needed of that.

Indeed, it's Alba's former Valencia colleague that holds the key to the Blaugrana tightening up at the back, and eradicating such unbelievably amateur mistakes, similar to those we saw in Paris.

By moving the much more robust, but no less mobile Mathieu to the left side, a spot is freed up centrally for either Thomas Vermaelen or Gerard Pique to partner Javier Mascherano.

Back three?

Alternatively, Luis Enrique may prefer a switch to a back three of Pique, Vermaelen and Mathieu which provides height, pace and power right across the line.

It's noticeable that where Barca are suffering is down the flanks, and not just from set-pieces from those areas either.

The shortcomings of Alves have been noted time and again. We only need study his performances in the World Cup for Brazil to get an idea of the wanderlust that underscore his performances.

Alba is a little more disciplined, but not to any great degree.

He too can be lightweight in the position and once beaten, is rarely able to win back possession, preferring instead to rely on his pace to get him out of trouble.

Not good enough

Frankly, it's not good enough.

Luis Enrique has already shown that he is no respecter of reputations. Another catastrophic days work for Alba and an extended spell on the sidelines will be the reward.

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