Focus Time : Frenkie De Jong vs Espanyol (1-0)

The match we have all waited for a long time, Xavi Hernandez’s first game as a Barcelona coach has finally come. The Catalan derby is always very eventful, and it was not different this time either. Furthermore, several injuries make Xavi’s job even more difficult. However, the Xavi team was able to get the 3 points which is the most important thing at the end of the day. There were many good performances vs Espanyol, but for me, Frenkie De Jong was one of the key players for last night’s win. Let’s see how he did!

He played a very forward role from the beginning of the match. We could see that under Koeman too, however, he was even more involved. When Xavi said that he wants De Jong to have a key role in the team, he exactly meant this. 

He could constantly get behind the opponent’s defense with his forward runs. This isn’t something new from him, but he did it better and more effectively than previously. Thanks to Busquets, Nico, and Eric Garcia he got several long passes behind the defense, which we missed very much under Koeman. From a pass like that, he almost assisted Memphis Depay however the goalkeeper saved Memphis’s shot. 

He also joined the attackers most of the time and found himself in the box. The effectiveness is still missing, but the chances are there. His speed and dribbling abilities are also a key part of his and with that the team’s game. He can change the rhythm of the match with a movement, and that’s one of my favorite thing about him. 

Furthermore, he also helped in the defense, he had some crucial interceptions and tackles however, he has to improve on his positioning when the opponent is attacking or when there is a corner kick. 

I believe he will be a crucial player for Xavi’s Barca, even more, important than he was under Koeman. I’m convinced he will be one of the players who will mark the Xavi era, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of this De Jong because it looks very promising. 

Statistics (Sofascore)

  • 89 touches
  • accurate passes – 92%
  • 3 key passes
  • 4 long balls
  • 3 duels won
  • 1 tackle
  • 9 ball recoveries

Rating: 9.5/10

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