The match yesterday was not fun to watch. Salzburg looked in a better shape (The Austrian league is underway), and it was hard for Barcelona to keep up the pace. Moreover, the heavy rain didn’t help the players do their thing. However, it was nice to see Barcelona play against a full stadium in Salzburg. Missed that.
There are some interesting talking points that I think we can get out of this preseason game. I don’t really care about the loss, but it’s important to learn from it. After 3 good wins, we had to see that we’re far from perfect.
The Tactical Aspect
Overall, I think that our squad is a lot better than the one we had last year. But Koeman should play them right. Last year the 3 at-the-back formation did wonders, until it became predictable for the opponents. Against Salzburg, Koeman returned to that 3-5-2 formation, and Barcelona looked very bad.
I think it’s fair to say that the 3 at-the-back formation should be off the table right now. Other teams know how to play against us that way, so it’s better to use it in rare occasions only.
For us fans, it’s ok to lose a friendly match. The squad isn’t full yet, and the players aren’t fit. But tactically, Koeman will have to know what he’s doing. Last season he lost every major test he had vs other elite coaches. I hope that next season he’ll have better ideas.
De Jong as a ‘Libero’
Overall, Frenkie as a Libero is a good solution in some situations. But yesterday he looked bad there. He didn’t do well as a Center-Back, and we lost him as a midfielder. That’s why I think that playing with 3 at-the-back, and Frenkie as a ‘libero’ should be a ‘Last Resort’ solution on very specific situations. Yesterday wasn’t that, but it’s ok to try things on Preseason.
Nico and Busi
Nico González was one of the surprises of the Preseason so far. After the first 3 matches, many of us saw him as the one who will eventually replace Sergio Busquets. Just like Busquets, he used to play in a more attacking role, and the club used his physical abilities and converted him to a Defensive Midfielder.
But just like Busi, Nico looked pretty lost yesterday, while playing in a Double-Pivot system. Both of them didn’t know how to play together. Therefore, Barcelona lost the midfield battle vs Salzburg.
I think that the thing we should take from this is the fact that Busquets and Nico can’t play together, at least for now.
Not a game that we have to be sad about. But important preseason game that we must learn from. There are still a lot of questions to answer regarding our squad. With Messi’s contact renewal, salary cuts, possible new arrivals and the youngsters – I’m looking forward to the next match