In recent years the outstanding right back in European football has been Daniel Alves. Since his move from Sevilla to Barcelona in 2008 he has won 14 major honours and has been an integral part of the club’s success.
However, for the majority of last season and much of this his form has been somewhat erratic. He is still an incredibly effective attacking full-back but his defensive frailties and lack of concentration have cost the club on more than one occasion.
It must be said though that his dip in form has also coincided with several injuries and the emergence of Adriano, his fellow Brazilian, who has been in scintillating form this season and has scored some wonderful goals.
Perhaps it is the injuries or the increased competition that has led to Alves’ form dropping so dramatically but it is something he must address quickly. Barcelona are such a successful club at the moment and have proved in recent years that mediocrity will not be tolerated.
The dip in form is strange when you consider how effective his link up play with Lionel Messi has been since he joined the club.
Considering the Argentine forward has been breaking records left, right and centre it comes as a surprise to see that Alves’ assists for his friend have diminished too in the last year. Their natural understanding was unbelievable for the first couple of years with unstoppable one-twos being played in the opponent’s penalty area.
There appeared to be a certain level of trust between the two which doesn’t happen as frequently this season.
Another thing which has probably had an impact on his decline in form has been the superb impact that Jordi Alba has made since joining the club. When you have a team-mate in a similar position who is in the form Alba has displayed this season it makes you notice weaknesses elsewhere. It is almost the exact impact that Alves made when he joined the club and Eric Abidal was playing as the left back.
Whilst Abidal is a very efficient defender his attacking attributes are not to the level of the Brazilian’s so it was noticeable how effective Barcelona’s right hand side became that season.
It can be difficult after a sustained period of success to remain at such a high level but that is not a valid excuse . With Barcelona fighting on several fronts this season they need all their players in optimum form and Alves will be essential in the run in.
Despite his rather lacklustre start to the season there is still plenty of time to impress and help his club in their fight for more titles.
Written by Andy Hunter
Follow Andy on Twitter @hunter67980
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