This match preview is going to be slightly different to the usual ones. I’m going to make this short and sweet but focus more on the incredible work this team has done over the last few months. And why what we’ve experienced recently is normal. It’s simply just a reality check of our current situation. Aswell as a combination of mental and physical fatigue. It’s been a chance to reset our expectations .
As in the last few months, Barça have been exceeding all of them. In quite simply a remarkable way. Tonight at 9:30 local time, we’ll be facing our second big test of the week. Our second final of the week. As we travel away to the Anoeta to face our top 4 rivals, Real Sociedad. It’s going to be a tricky game, but it’s such a vital one. Especially when you consider all the teams around us have dropped points. It’s vital we grab a positive result! Coming into the game, we aren’t exactly on the best of form.
And most noticeably, confidence is quite low too. Mental fatigue and overall tiredness is definitely playing apart in our bad fortunes recently. Aswell as the stupid international break we had to endure a few weeks ago. Which broke up a lot of momentum.
A normal reality check:
With that all being said however, it’s no time to overreact. Over the last few months, this team has exceeded expectations. So much so, that you could say we have been too good. If you told me that when Xavi came in, we’d be second in the league. We’d go on an unbeaten run for 5 months.
Put 4 past Atleti, Real Madrid and Napoli. Whilst playing some beautiful football along the way too. I would’ve hit your hand off. Fact of the matter is, we’ve been overachieving. When you look at the depth of players in the squad. The long list of injuries. Our current financial situation. And most importantly the absolute crisis that was left behind by previous management and at board level. We shouldn’t of even got this far. But somehow, we have. And that’s all down to the simply incredible job Xavi and this team has done over the last few months. At this moment, we’re going through a bit of a reality check.
When you consider everything the club has been through over the last few years, it is normal. All teams hit a bit of bad form. Even the best in the world. This project is a long term one. We knew that our situation wouldn’t be fixed over night. It’s going to take time. And our coach and this team deserve to have that time. They deserve our patience. We know how good we can be, because we’ve proved it countless times already this season. We just have to remain patient and let the club. And most importantly Xavi and this team, do their thing. They’ve all earned the right for some peace and patience. The project and the road is long. But we’re on the right path! Let’s just go out there, put all of the recent noise behind us. And grab a positive result against Sociedad.
-Rest and rotation:
We know how important this game is. And how vital the result will be considering all the other outcomes in midweek. Which is why the lineup for tonight’s game is crucial. There are a number of rotations we should be looking to make. Mainly due to fatigue. Players like Ferran, Alba, Busquets and Frenkie are all suffering from fatigue.
Alba especially, who can’t take a game out to rest. Because we simply don’t have a replacement in his position for him. Ferran is probably the most likely to get a rest tonight. And that will do him the power of good. He’s been great recently, but you can see he is suffering from physical and mental fatigue. He’s pretty much played every game since joining us. Even after recovering from a long term injury. He’s a special player and will give this club a lot of joy over the years. But he deserves a rest.
One piece of great news is that Gerard Pique is back! He’s recovered from his injury and is available for selection tonight. Aswell as Ronald Araujo, who kissed the last game due to suspension. This is huge for us, we’ve missed this partnership immensely over recent games. So it’s brilliant to have them back! In midfield, we’re still without Pedri unfortunately. And in attack, Ansu is still yet to receive the medical green light. But it’s very close.
I’d try something different for tonight. I’d give Ferran a well deserved rest and put Gavi on the left wing. I feel that he plays the role of the inverted winger very well on that left hand side. And has proved he can score goals from that position too. It would also give us another number in midfield. With the outlet of Dembele and Aubameyang upfront. Whatever the lineup, however we setup. The result is the only important thing. And we’ll be hoping we can see a good reaction from our last game. And try to build up some much needed confidence again!
Dest- Araujo- Pique- Alba
Frenkie- Busquets- Nico
Dembele- Aubameyang- Gavi