Barcelona are coming off two disappointing games with no capture and heading into a enormous month of fixtures.
The Blaugrana will play six video games in 30 days, and all of them will be main clashes that includes properly groups. It starts this weekend as they host Athletic membership earlier than touring to Wembley to face Spurs within the Champions League.
After that they commute to the Mestalla to face Valencia in a ground the place they always have main issue.
After the international break they enter in a series of three tricky home video games. First they host hotshot Sevilla, then Inter come to town of their Champions League neighborhood of dying, and the eventually to conclude October off we’ve El Clásico, the online game of video games. It’s a brutal length of games and so the Blaugrana would have been eager to enter it in the very best form.
And before the weekend, they were doing just that. Six wins out of six in aggressive motion, including the Supercopa de España performed in Morocco. They had been buzzing along nicely, and anticipated to enter the month from hell having won eight straight. Then they drew with Girona, which became a velocity-bump however not a major one; but then got here the stunning loss to Leganés.
This has left Barça in a seriously tricky position where they now should enter this tremendous run of video games off the returned of two enormously troubling performances that have laid bare some serious considerations with the Barcelona squad. Now Ernesto Valverde has actual issues that he needs to clear up, lest this brutal dash of games see Barcelona drop so many elements that their season is all however over before the title bout against true Madrid even kicks-off.
the first thing Valverde must do and the essential unifying theme to most of the issues he needs to repair is control counter-assaults. Of the four desires Barcelona have conceded in the remaining two video games, three have come from short counter-assaults and three have come from long-balls being sent into the field. That’s it, those are exclusively the variety of desires Barcelona are conceding right now.
The Blaugrana’s offensive vogue of play and high-line defence will at all times go away them open to counter-assaults which is why making 1v1 saves is the sort of key skill for Barça goalkeepers, however the side perpetually manage and handle them lots better than they are now. It’s attending to the point where one or two smartly-placed passes can crack them in two like a walnut.
Gerard Piqué is mainly struggling. He always begins seasons slowly but 201819 has been ridiculous even by using those standards. all of it came to a head when he shaved his beard off and has considering put in two horrific displays where he is without delay dependable for 3 of the aim conceded, and he didn’t exactly shield smartly on the fourth both.
Motivating and organising his defenders Piqué in specific is one factor of it, but Valverde additionally must work on his midfield spacing. some distance too often you’re going to see the Barça midfield stretched so broad that there are huge avenues for opponents to cruise down with simply the largely motionless Sergio Busquets in their approach. Now Busquets is the ideal in his place on the earth, however each person has weaknesses and his is tempo. Asking him to cover acres of ground is absurd, it’s like making an attempt to color your apartment with a surgeon’s scalpel.
soccer is certainly a squad video game now, and with such huge video games coming up for Barça, rotation is definitely essential. Ernesto Valverde is definitely into rotation, however he’s so in abnormal and off-steadiness variety of way. He rotates, but it surely often makes no experience.
as an instance, at right-lower back he has two alternatives: the strong defender Nelson Semedo, and the intelligent attacker Sergi Roberto. What’s atypical is he looks to play Roberto when he should still play Semedo, and vice versa. At domestic against a deep-set Girona, he performed Semedo. Then away towards Leganés and all their pace on the destroy, he performed Roberto. He always seems to have it backwards.
In midfield Valverde also has difficulty making a choice on video games where he can rest Sergio Busquets retaining him in shape is fundamental, doing it away rather than at domestic. He also does weird issues like pair Arturo Vidal and Arthur, each new midfielders, collectively in the identical midfield in place of bringing one through at a time.
His rotation at left-lower back has been the worst. Jordi Alba is absolutely a key member of his aspect, with the Catalan’s pace and direct running so important to Barça’s width on the left. Now Alba has no natural again-up in the squad, so b-group participant Juan Miranda will need to be picked. however Miranda is an inexperienced toddler, so games like Girona at domestic may be a fine possibility to rest Alba and produce him via.
however Valverde didn’t do this. as a substitute he rested Alba away to Leganés, and changed with centre-back Thomas Vermaelen. now not Samuel Umtiti, who at the same time as a centre-lower back used to play left-lower back for Lyon, has the skill-set to have an impact on the attack and the athleticism crucial to rise up and down the pitch. no longer him, however the 32-year-ancient damage-prone Vermaelen.
Alba will need resting at some point in the subsequent month, and if Valverde places Vermaelen out there towards the exceptional of facet that the Blaugran are going to be dealing with? things will get very grotesque very promptly. Valverde must preserve his rotation constant; if Alba comes out it needs to be a person who can replicate his attacking function or as a minimum do a fine impact that comes in.
The subsequent element feeds into both rotation and more importantly managing counter-assaults. a part of why Barcelona appear so inaugurate on the spoil this season is that they’re once again enjoying Messi as a right-winger. Now, Messi isn’t a right-winger and spends his video game cutting in and taking part in no. eight, no. 10 and no. 9 – however at all times centrally. And he doesn’t chase returned defensively because that’d be a waste of power.
So when he diminishes infield, the side is defensively unbalanced. Luis Suárez doesn’t have the energy to cowl for Messi any more, this drags Rakitic over – which contributes to the initiate midfield concern that results in greater and extra counter-attacks chopping a swathe during the Barcelona aspect, exposing their defenders.
remaining season Ernesto Valverde’s four-four-1-1 device become derided by way of many, but it surely protected the side from being unbalanced as both wingers tracked back. Now in a 4-three-three that isn’t the case, so Valverde has to work out a way to get Messi lower back right into a critical zone. whether that involves going lower back to the 4-four-1-1, or switching to the 4-three-3 false nine he firstly deployed in his first few video games, or introducing a 4-2-3-1, whatever thing has to be completed to allow Messi to thrive even as returning a fantastic protecting form to Barcelona.
The ultimate aspect is definitely that he has to get the underperforming Luis Suárez out of the group. whether that’s on a brief or everlasting groundwork, there’s little doubt that Barcelona will play greater football if the Uruguayan isn’t in the side each three days.
The most important subject is that age is catching as much as Suárez, and he isn’t able to adjusting his video game to record for that. He nevertheless plays the same manner he did as a 29 12 months old, when he changed into bursting with athletic means, except now his size has slowed him down particularly.
When he got here on towards Leganés he changed into attempting to knock the ball by means of opponents and run onto it, the style he could in the past; but he’d at all times lose the footrace. He simply can’t dwell nonetheless, which is leaving him smartly out of breath when it involves making the decisive closing contributions of pictures and passes in the box. He isn’t beneficial as a goalscorer, which is the position Barça desperately need him to fill.
So leisure him. choose him out of the firing line. He didn’t initiate vs. Leganés, but probably don’t initiate him in opposition t Athletic both and don’t deliver him on, he’s no longer top notch off the bench – he simply ends up enjoying to his personal tempo. provide him a whole week to put together for Spurs and Valencia. possibly you supply Munir El Haddadi more minutes; he underwhelmed at Leganés bound, however he needs time to competently construct-up a rhythm first.
Or maybe you do go 4-three-three false nine, deploying two of Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé and Malcom on the wings round Messi. That approach you both get Messi off the flanks, put collectively an outstanding midfield that may give protection to itself and damage ahead also helps to control counter-attacks.
Arturo Vidal as the choicest midfielder in a three, breaking beyond a false nine Messi who’s flanked through Coutinho and Dembélé each have both begun the season in comely form may well be a superb set-up that provides stability, goalscoring, and the Suárez-on-the-bench-ness that Barcelona deserve to power through their monstrous fixture construct-as much as El Clásico.