Matchday 3 of our La Liga season sees Barça come up against Real Valladolid. Live from the Spotify Camp Nou at 7:30pm Local time. 4 points from our first 2 games is a decent start. And we’re going to be looking to build on from that with a positive result tonight.
Lessons from last time:
Our last home game was an entertaining 3-3 draw against Manchester City in midweek. Overall we put in a very good performance and raised awareness for a fantastic cause. Whilst also taking part in a fantastic occasion, we were also able to rest a number of our players. Which really is a testament to our squad depth this season. It’s phenomenal.
Of course our first game at home in La Liga ended in a 0-0 draw against Rayo. Funnily enough I feel that we performed a lot better in that game, than we did last weekend. And against Sociedad we won 4-1. And could’ve easily scored another couple goals too. Overall, so far we have seen some positive signs and some things to improve on. However, in midweek we looked a lot more comfortable especially in defence. And that’s all thanks to the presence of one man…Joules Kounde.
Joules Kounde is ready!
Finally, after what has felt like an eternity, Kounde has been successfully registered in the league. Meaning that he is available and ready to make his home debut in the league tonight. Something that I think we’re all very excited about. For me, he feels like the missing piece. In defence and in the way we build our attacks. He will be so important for that. And will hopefully grow to form a formidable partnership with our Uruguayan beast, Ronald Araujo.
We finally have a group of defenders that we can rely on. Eric and Christensen have started off the season very well, which makes the competition in defence elite. We also have pique still on the bench too, which of course gives us some much needed experience. Not only in the defensive position. But in the team as a whole.
In terms of our opponent for tonight’s game, newly promoted team Valladolid currently find themselves in 17th place. It’s early on in the season, so you can’t read much into that. But they have picked up 1 point from their first two games.
They lost their first game at home, 3-0 to high flying Villareal. However, they were able to pick up a point at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, drawing 1-1 away to Sevilla. They’re a team that will most probably turn up similar to Rayo. I can’t imagine they’ll be coming out as much as they would do if they were at home. They’ll be desperate to walk away with at least a point. We need to ensure that it doesn’t happen. Like we always say, scoring first is important for us. Especially when it’s against a team that might not give us that much space to work, in and around the box. We’re going to have to be clinical.
Against Manchester City on Wednesday, we were able to rest Pedri, Lewandowski, Dembele, Araujo and Ter Stegen. So I would expect all of them to start in this one. It’s more of a question about who will join them. As for me, those five are a guarantee. Kounde is expected to get the nod to partner Araujo in defence. That in itself is extremely exciting to think about.
Roberto had a good game against City, so he will probably start at RB. Dest played a couple minutes against City too. So it’ll be interesting to see if he is back in the squad. Especially if we fail to sign another fullback. Dest is someone who will have to come back in.
For me, Balde has to start at LB. He didn’t start the game in midweek, but he came on. And again, showed us just why we should be counting on him a lot more. He started against Real Sociedad last weekend and was outstanding. Grabbing his first league assist within the first minute. Xavi was singing his praises in the news conference yesterday too. Saying that he is doing an incredible job for someone as young as he is. He’s such an exciting talent and needs to start more often. He has it all!
In the midfield, Pedri and Busquets will start. That’s pretty much a certainty. Gavi and Frenkie de Jong have performed brilliantly so far. So they’ll be fighting to grab that other spot. But for me, I’d love to see Kessie start his first league game. He was excellent against Man City. Linking up the defence and attack. Making those trademark runs into the box, which you just can’t stop. He’s a class signing. So it’ll be nice to see him start.
In attack, Lewandowski will come back in and start. Most probably alongside Dembele. Xavi and the club are still being cautious with Ansu, which is understandable. He came off the bench against Sociedad and was phenomenal. Totally changed the game. Regardless of whether he will start or not. He will always make an impact. He’s slowly building up the minutes too and regaining 100% fitness.
Ferran surprisingly started against Sociedad and played fairly well. He played much better against Man City, but was subbed off at half time. He unfortunately hasn’t had any pre season, so this is basically what he’s doing now. I can see him featuring tomorrow, but possibly not from the start. An attacking trident of Raphinha, Lewandowski and Dembele seems more likely to me at the moment.
Roberto- Kounde- Araujo- Balde
Kessie- Busi- Pedri
Dembele- Lewandowski- Raphinha
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