Barcelona must find the solution to deeper lying defences

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Barcelona have found out once again this season just how difficult it is to break down teams that aren't too interested in standing toe to toe with Spain's best.

APOEL Nicosia arrived at Camp Nou with one thought, and one thought only, in their minds. Don't concede.

Right from the off the visitors were more than happy to sit back behind the ball and attack in sporadic bursts.

Rarely, if ever, did they venture deep into Barca territory and that Marc-Andre ter Stegen's flying save in the 90th minute was his first of note says much.

It's not a new phenomenon of course.

When teams play Barcelona, especially at Camp Nou, the tendency to open up and play expansive football is curtailed considerably for fear of shipping goals.

Such a tactic is understandable to a degree, but as a spectacle for the paying punter it rarely provides value for money.

Thorn in Barca's side

Very definitely a case of the irresistible force meets the immovable object, deeper lying defences have become a real thorn in Barcelona's side in the recent past.

The Catalans don't have a divine right to score 3+ goals in every game of course, but watching a game where the opposition employ such tactics ends up leaving a bit of a sour taste in the mouth.

Football is entertainment, and with one team content to sit and hold it's rare to find that any entertainment is forthcoming.

So how do Barca set about finding the solution to the problem?

Width a must

Utilising the width of the pitch is an absolute must and 113 touches apiece for Dani Alves and Adriano against APOEL per is ample evidence that the Blaugrana are going about things in the right way.

The issue really manifests itself when the ball is played from the wider areas into the box. So congested are those central areas, that it's hard for anyone to find the space within which to go about their work to any successful degree.

Often, the most sensible option is to recycle possession and begin again.

Barca's attacking trident perhaps need to busy themselves by moving towards their own goal, forcing the opposition defenders out of their comfort zone and leaving space in behind to be exploited.

Easier said than done when the space between the lines is at an absolute premium.

Aerial Presence Needed

A strong aerial presence in the attacking third may also be beneficial and will ensure that the incessant crossing from the wider areas doesn't go to waste.

If the game against APOEL taught us anything, it's that Barca still really haven't got to grips with what some experts call "parking the bus."

And Luis Enrique's tenure may well come to be defined by whether he can adequately counteract such a defensive approach, which is sure to rear it's ugly head throughout this campaign.

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