Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/21/13
Neymar Jr. The record winning streak from F.C. Barcelona came to an end this Saturday as the club tied 0-0 with Osasuna at their home field. Osasuna had only two chances to score but they managed to stop Barcelona’s offensive game with a narrow and well placed defense. Carles Puyol was a starter on Saturday’s match, after recovering from an injury to his right knee, the experienced veteran was able to maintain his well known leadership in the defensive line. The central defender played an impressive match by completing crucial tackles and keeping Osasuna from completing their counter attacks. Lionel Messi was able to make a subtle comeback replacing Xavi at the 22nd minute of the second half, and although he created some chances to score, he was far from his best form. Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas Cesc Fabregas Barcelona was the clear worthy winner when it came to the having the most scoring chances, possession and creativity. The team seemed to get more anxious and less effective than usual as time was running out.  Xavi and Iniesta were less effective on their passing game, they lacked their usual precision and they seemed disoriented without their main target players, Messi and Sanchez. Cesc Fabregas made Messi’s absence stand out even more as he missed every clear chance of scoring he had in the game. The Fabregas in Barcelona is far from the one that he was in Arsenal; he arrived at the club in 2011 and since then he hasn’t been able to completely fit into the Barcelona system of play. There have been rumors of his transfer but this move is considered doubtful because he is a product of Barcelona’s youth system. Attacking Martino’s style of play in the attack is clearly drawn for a goal scorer with power, finishing skills and heading abilities. The reason why Barcelona wasn’t able to finish any of the chances created is because they lack a tactical finisher, a striker who possesses the ability to read the plays and to put himself in the position of scoring. Although Messi has been Barcelona’s scoring option, Martino has added something that Barcelona hasn’t had in years; crossing, which is another reason why a power header, tall striker would be a great addition to the squad. This week’s transfer market rumors Eder Alvarez Balanta, born in Bogota, Colombia, is a lefty central defender who plays for Argentinean power house River Plate and Martino has officially requested him for the winter transfer window. The powerful defender not only has the speed and strength to play in a European club, but has also the personality and leadership that Barcelona will need after the 35 year-old Puyol calls it quits.  

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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