This season Spartak has big problems in defense: 18 goals conceded in 11 league and cup games. On average, Guillermo Abascal’s team concedes 1.6 goals every 90 minutes, a nightmare for an ambitious team.
At the same time, what is happening is not a sensation: the red and white team was also on fire last season. Thus, in the third decade of August, the Serbian central defender Srdjan Babic, 27 years old, was acquired from Almería. According to Transfermarkt, the transfer amount was 5 million euros. It seems that the red and whites hit the target with the newcomer: with the Serbian on the field they only conceded twice in 223 minutes! On average every 90 minutes, only 0.8 goals! On Saturday we managed to keep a clean sheet against Sochi.
Spartak broke the terrible streak! But the victory over Sochi is clumsy and painful.
Babich’s main role is as a left central defender. This is the position in which Georgy Dzhikia has played for Spartak for many years! Replaced? It is very similar. So far they have not spent a single minute on the field at the same time. In the matches against Dynamo (4-1) in the Russian Cup and against Sochi (1-0) in the RPL, Babich played from whistle to whistle, while his colleague sat on the bench. It is interesting that in both matches the Serbian scored the winning goals. With Krasnodar (1-2), Dzhikia started and Babich replaced him in the second half.
Spartak lineup in the match against Sochi
It’s time to make three points clear.
What’s so good about Babich? Why did Spartak need to replace Dzhikia? Why can’t the attacking team save on defense and sacrifice it?
Babich is a potential leader: calm and productive in defense and attack
On average, Babich has 83 TTDs every 90 minutes for Spartak, the best in the team among central defenders. And his efficiency is 92%, generally the best in the team. Georgiy Dzhikia’s indicators are 82 TTD, 88% success.
When it comes to defending in our football, Babich brings great volume and excellent quality. It is interesting that he has the same number of attempts to steal the ball as Dzhikia, although the newcomer spent more than half the time on the field!
Acting effectively and calmly, the Serbian instills confidence in his partners: it was with him on the field that Spartak almost stopped losing, while with Dzhikia this could not be achieved: two goals conceded with one defender and 10 with another speak for yes alone.
Defensive indicators of Babich and Dzhikia.
In attack, Babich’s actions already demonstrate the experience of playing in La Liga with Almería in the first games. Srdjan is calm and knows how to get into other people’s areas. A couple of interesting facts: at the age of 27, Babic had scored 19 goals in 270 games at club level, including 3 goals in 34 games in the Spanish Championship.
Jikia can also show himself ahead, but the Serbian is even more specific. It manifests itself both this season, which can be understood in the following table, and throughout my career. Dzhikia is now 29 years old and has 17 goals at club level in 361 games.
Offensive indicators of Babich and Dzhikia.
The coach of the Russian national team, Valery Karpin, never tires of advising young players to go to the top leagues in Europe, if there is the opportunity and desire to develop. Why this is necessary, we can see by watching the play of the calm and confident Srdjan Babic. Having played in Spain not only for Almería, but also for the Real Sociedad second team, the Serbian stands out at a general level in the Russian championship.
Karpin’s own words are here:
Karpin: 568 thousand times he advised young people to leave the RPL. I can say it again
Dzhikiya is not reliable in a formation with two centre-backs
Georgy moved to Spartak from Amkar in January 2017. The Perm team was coached by Gadzhi Gadzhiev and played with three central defenders. It was with this formation that Spartak and Dzhikia achieved the best results in defense.
In the spring of 2017, the rojiblancos became champions. Massimo Carrera’s staff skillfully adapted to the opponent, changing the tactical formation: the defenders were three or two. The team was proclaimed champion and Dzhikia played six games from whistle to whistle.
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, “Championship”
Georgy won his second and last trophy with Spartak in the summer of 2022: under the leadership of Paolo Vanoli they won the Russian Cup. The Italian acted exclusively according to the scheme with three centre-backs, which he learned well when he was a Parma player.
Photo: Alexander Safonov, “Championship”
And Spartak and Jikia also had a good period under Domenico Tedesco: they managed to take silver at the Russian Championship. The German also played with three centre-backs.
Oleg Kononov and Rui Vitoria tried to succeed at distance exclusively with two centre-backs, one of whom is Dzhikia. As a result, the former’s obstinacy only led to his dismissal. In turn, the Portuguese quickly realized that acting like this would only be a waste of time, so they accepted an unusual formation with three central defenders and reached the round of 16 of the Europa League.
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, “Championship”
Since arriving at Spartak, Guillermo Abascal has been trying to succeed with two central defenders. So far, attacking efforts have often been thwarted by mistakes made from behind. And if the boys did not continue forward, then total horror ensued. It was necessary to change the formation or make substitutions. Babich’s transfer suggests opting for the second option.
On the one hand, with the purchase of Babich, Spartak casts doubt on Dzhikia’s status. On the other hand, throughout all the years at the Club and under different coaches, Georgiy has not shown the willingness to be a defensive leader in a scheme with two central defenders. It seems that in order to build the game around him, the Spartak bosses need to part ways with Abascal. But for now it turns out that the club is sacrificing a player, not a coach.
Babich transfer experts:
Kechinov: Babich is just great! A blessing for Spartak Demenko: Spartak was right with the transfer of Babich
Spartak understood the importance of high-quality destroyers.
To act boldly and on your own, the lineup must have players who can protect your attack against natural disasters from behind.
When Andrea Pirlo retired, he admitted that Milan’s attacking stars of the early 2000s were always grateful to Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta and their defensive teammates: the creators could play too hard, and the reliable guys behind them would clean up after them. efficient.
The great Sir Alex Fergusson also understood the importance of having quality players at the back: “The attack wins games, the defense wins titles.”
In 2019, Liverpool won the Premier League and the Champions League. The record transfer in the club’s history was the purchase of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton: he cost 84.65 million euros and played a key role in those victories. This year, Manchester City achieved the treble. To further develop, they bought defender Joschko Guardiola from Leipzig for €90 million, the second transfer in the club’s history in terms of amount spent.
Virgilio van Dijk and Josko Guardiol
Photo: Getty Images
The moral is very simple: if you want to win titles (or at least fight for them), you cannot sacrifice or skimp on defense.
With the acquisition of Babich, Spartak increased its chances of success in the pursuit of Zenit. Now the club has a defender with experience playing in the top league. By the way, in the 2017 championship year, these players were Serdar Taschi and Salvatore Bocchetti. Would you have been able to take the title if it weren’t for them? There are big doubts.
More about the RPL and transfers: