FC Barcelona are officially back! Tonight at 9pm Local time, we will be facing Rayo Vallecano, Live from the Camp Nou. In front of an expected fully packed Camp Nou. The excitement and illusion has returned to Barcelona, thanks to the incredible work the club has done over the summer to rebuild the squad. Aswell as a result of a brilliant pre season orchestrated by our Coach, Xavi Hernandez. Tonight is our first game of the season and it’s vital we start off on the right foot. Putting a statement across to all the other teams. Rayo are definitely not a team to write off though. We know only too well how they can cause us problems. After failing to beat them at all last season. So it’s going to be a test for us, especially with our mental state. And we need to prove that we are more than ready to compete on all fronts this season. I for one, can’t wait for the game to start!
A quick look at our opponents:
Rayo Vallecano, like mentioned before, are definitely not a team we should be writing off. Of course last season, we weren’t even able to beat them, home or away. And off the back of a pretty solid pre season, Rayo will definitely be looking to upset us tonight. They’re unbeaten in their last 4 games and have picked up some very decent results along the way. Including a 1-1 draw away at Old Trafford. Although in fairness, maybe that’s not as difficult to do as it was before. On our side, we have the players and the quality to comfortably beat Rayo. But that doesn’t mean we should just disregard them and go in too over confident. That is always a recipe for disaster. As the season goes on, we’ll be learning a lot more about our team and the group of players we’ve got. So setting off on a positive note is vital and hopefully we can do that tonight at the Camp Nou.
For the past few weeks, the main area of concern, mainly for rival fan bases was the registration of our new signings. I mention other fan bases because I don’t think we were as bothered about it as they were. I knew that we’d eventually get all our signings registered, so it was never a major concern. But of course, whenever things are left to the last minute, the nerves can rise a little. One thing I will say for this board, is that they’ve got nerves of steel. We can now go into tonight’s game with full confidence that all our signings and renewals have been registered in the league. Apart from Kounde who will be most likely registered next week. He isn’t up to match fitness yet anyway, so it was very unlikely that he would’ve featured tonight.
I’ve mentioned before, but what is fantastic about this season is our squad depth. There are at least 2 players for every position. Which not only gives us a plethora of options, but the competition for places is at a great level. Xavi has reiterated multiple times that every player starts from zero. If you work hard and prove yourself in training, then you’ll be rewarded with a place in the starting lineup. And that goes for everyone in the squad. It’s probably going to be a lot more difficult to predict the lineup each week. As every week the lineup could drastically change. For our game tonight however, I think the lineup will remain relatively the same to what we saw last weekend in the Joan Gamper game.
For me, Balde should start at left back. He had a very good pre season, has performed better than Alba and deserves a chance to start our first league game. That’s why I think a lot of us struggle to understand the reason why we want Alonso. When we have Balde who is perfectly capable of giving real competition to Alba. Christensen wasn’t fit for the gamper, but if he is ready for tonight’s game I can definitely see him involved. Maybe next to Araujo, or even Eric Garcia. Another player that had a very good pre season. Dest has been left out of the squad. So that leaves either Araujo at RB or Sergi Roberto. Who may be deployed as more of an inverted fullback.
Midfield and attack
The midfield will probably remain the same as last game. Although Kessie and De Jong came on in the second half and performed brilliantly. So they’ll be pushing for a starting place too. The most exciting part of the team has to be our attack. Having the choice of Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Raphinha, Dembele, Auba, Memphis and Lewandowski every week is a blessing. Every part of that attack is clinical, skilful and efficient. And their individual qualities are a compliment to one another. Whatever Xavi decides to do with the attack will be an exciting choice. Another positive is that Ferran torres has finally received the medical green light to play.
So hopefully we’ll be seeing him feature at some point tonight. Ansu is slowly but surely building up his fitness and once he’s at 100%, physically and mentally, we all know what beast he can become. Dembele has been remarkable in pre season. He’s quite literally been the main man. The attack is so exciting and our team as a whole is even more so. Let’s start the season off on a positive note!
Roberto- Araujo- Eric- Balde
Gavi- Busi- Pedri
Dembele- Lewandowski- Raphinha