How does Joao Cancelo fit for FC Barcelona and where can he play? – Everything Barca

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – JUNE 20: Joao Cancelo of Portugal, portrait before during the UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifying Round Group J match between Iceland and Portugal at Laugardalsvollur on June 20, 2023 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Will Palmer/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)
FC Barcelona have finally found their right back and his name is Joao Cancelo. The Portuguese full-back has joined Barcelona on a simple loan deal after falling out of favor at Manchester City. Cancelo has seen his best form come under Pep Guardiola at City but how can he further elevate Xavi’s Barcelona to a new level?
It’s difficult to imagine that Cancelo’s versatility wasn’t an incredible allure to the Barcelona staff. He can play left and right back at a high level and this is something that Barcelona needed.
As a left back, Cancelo likes to invert from the left side and play at the base of a defensive double pivot. However, he also will roam from the pivot to be another creative threat in the final third as well. This can be both a blessing and a curse as his creativity in attack is lethal but also leaves Barcelona very thin at the back if you lose possession.
In this position, Cancelo had his best run of form at Manchester City. For Barcelona, he could do the same albeit with one big problem. The main issue is that the right side would suffer as a result, since the players on that side also like to invert and unbalance the attack. Xavi currently prefers one full-back to overlap and the other to invert so Cancelo on the left would force the Spanish manager to adjust some of his team dynamics.
On the right side, Cancelo profiles as an overlapping fullback. He brings a dynamic that Barcelona have not had since Dani Alves. He fits well with Raphinha, Ferran Torres and Lamine Yamal, as all three prefer to invert onto the left foot and vacate the right-hand side. This, in turn,  would allow Cancelo to push up and provide the necessary width for Barcelona on the right. He has done this at both Juventus and City and found success playing wide alongside delivering crosses into the box.
However, this would also mean that Xavi would have to change the ideals of the team since the right backs on that side (Kounde or Roberto) inverted into either the midfield or the center backs. Having a fullback on the right side that can overlap means Xavi would have to move away from the tactics that won Barcelona the league last year. Yet, this could also provide a new dimension in attack since Cancelo fits well with our wingers.
Defensively, Cancelo is not an apt defender. He doesn’t win the ball and his tendency to roam can destabilize the shape of the team, in addition to leaving Barcelona vulnerable to counterattacks. It is one of the trade-offs you receive when you play Cancelo as a left or right back. He will have an incredible offensive output but also be a non-factor on the defensive side.
Since Balde has become an important player, Cancelo would likely only feature as a backup left back for when the former needs to rest. When fully fit, he is likely to become the starting right-back for Barcelona. It is the side that best fits the dynamics for the team and himself.
Regardless of where he plays, Cancelo is going to cause a few good problems since he fits into almost every formation Barcelona could play. Furthermore, despite the defensive concerns, the Portuguese fullback should help bring Barcelona’s attack to another level. Overall, even if it is just a simple loan, Cancelo fills a massive need for Barcelona and should be an important player for them this upcoming season.
Build your custom FanSided Daily email newsletter with news and analysis on FC Barcelona and all your favorite sports teams, TV shows, and more.
Your favorite teams, topics, and players all on your favorite mobile devices.
© 2023 Minute Media – All Rights Reserved. The content on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. All betting content is intended for an audience ages 21+. All advice, including picks and predictions, is based on individual commentators’ opinions and not that of Minute Media or its related brands. All picks and predictions are suggestions only. No one should expect to make money from the picks and predictions discussed on this website. For more information, please read our Legal Disclaimer. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.


Leave a Comment