|Ter Stegen after mistake vs Celta Vigo|
Barça lost 4-3 to Celta Vigo at the Balaídos on Sunday night, something your certainly know of.. Luis Enrique had it wrong with his starting XI and found his team 3-0 down after just 33 minutes. Luis Enrique is one of the culpable parties for the loss no doubt but the one with the most fault is Barça’s goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Barça started the game well.. something quite unexpected, but they found themselves behind after Ter Stegen played a poor pass to Busquets who couldn’t control it (even though he should’ve done better) and Celta scored from a short counter. The hosts added two more goals in quick succession and Barça were stunned, going into the second half 3-0 down for the first time in years.
The first half result could be blamed on Luis Enrique despite the fact that all goals conceded were courtesy of one individual mistake or the other. However, Luis Enrique cleared himself of every mistake with his team’s second half display. Maybe engineered by the coach’s halftime team talk and the introduction of Andrés Iniesta, Barça played with great amount of energy and enthusiasm in the second half and the players all recovered from being foolish. Barça pulled two goals back and it became 3-2 with the Cataláns having 30 minutes to get at least a point.
Barça played with great momentum afterwards and created chances, one could conclude it was only a matter of time before Barça silence the Camp Nou but then tragedy struck and Ter Stegen was the architect. The goalkeeper received a back pass and despite having two players free on his right, he opted to make a chipped pass over a pressing Pablo Hernández to the left but his pass came of the Celta midfielder and the ball crawled into the net, 4-2, Barça’s hope diminished, the game became harder.
Barça kept on fighting however and they pulled one back, also came close twice to getting the equaliser. These happened despite the fact that Barça were demoralised which means it was almost a certainty that a Barça with great momentum and morale would’ve won or at least gotten a point if the game stayed at 3-2.
One thing is clear, Ter Stegen had the bigger share of faults for the loss, his mistake cost Barça more than any other, no debate, but the question now is “Should Barça goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen continue taking risks with his feet?” Trust me, there’s only one answer to this, and it’s a very big YES! At least in my opinion, and here’s why.
Barça made a deep search in the market to get a goalkeeper that will fit into the system, they ended up getting Ter Stegen, fortunately. The goalkeeper is a ball-playing goalkeeper, just the kind Barça need in between the sticks. Ter Stegen is not only great with his feet but also a magnificent shot-stopper so the idea by some that he should be benched, sold or shouldn’t have been bought is a wrong conception.
About the pass, let’s discuss. Barça had Claudio Bravo as La Liga goalkeeper for the previous two seasons and he rarely made a mistake with a pass that cost Barça a goal. Bravo played his safe. If Bravo was in Ter Stegen’s position he would’ve passed the ball to the right, to Piqué or Sergi Roberto who were both free, it would have happened that way, Barça wouldn’t have conceded, the game would have gone on normally and no one would have had a reason to criticize. But Ter Stegen is a totally different goalkeeper with a far different footballing mind.
Now, we can’t change the fact that it has happened, Barça conceded and lost, but let’s look at it from another angle, let’s assume that Ter Stegen pass went through and didn’t hit Pablo Hernández. Barça were playing with great momentum and Celta knew they were in big trouble and they believed pressing the Cataláns would help which was the right thing to do at that moment.
Celta’s press was an organised one, they were following the ball, coming from their right side, everyone including the Celta Vigo players and the fans watching the game from their homes thought Ter Stegen would pass to Piqué or Roberto but then he tried to take it back to Celta’s right in order to destroy the flow of their press. Had that pass went through, Celta Vigo’s organised press would be disorganised for at least 3 seconds as they’ll need time to readjust, giving Barça chance to pounce on their defence in a swift fashion with the help of Iniesta and Neymar. To cut the story short, that pass Ter Stegen attempted was the right one, that was why he was bought, that is what Barça need from a goalkeeper and Ter Stegen was just unlucky in that position.
The good news for Barça will be seeing Ter Stegen pulling such risky moves in their next game against Deportivo La Coruña and it’s very likely as the goalkeeper isn’t ready to drop his philosophy just because of one mistake, he shouldn’t. A hoofing goalkeeper is for teams whose name aren’t Barça. He has already apologised for his mistake but he also stated that he’ll continue playing this way and it’s certain that is what the coaches will love.
What do you think? Do you think Ter Stegen should continue playing with great risks or he should approach the safer path? Have your say. Vote and you may comment why.