Tonight at 9pm Local time, Barça are back at the Camp Nou in La Liga, facing a tough task vs Villarreal. In which is the first of 3 consecutive home games in all completions. We have to make sure we make the most of it. Hopefully there’s an impressive turnout at the stadium once again. Our team needs all the support they can get right now, in what has been a difficult moment. The only way of getting through it is by working hard and especially cutting out silly mistakes. We know how good we can play when this team is full of confidence. And a way in building that back up is with a positive performance tonight. That’s what we’re hoping for, to get us back on track!
Short thoughts on Villarreal
Villarreal are a fantastic side, although they will miss some key players. They’re an admirable team with a group of brilliant players. And they always make things difficult for us. No matter when we face them. They’ve got one of the best defences in the league. So they’re going to be very difficult to break down. But we have the players to do it. We just need to arrive with the right attitude. Unlike other previews I’ve done, I’m going to focus a lot more on how we are going to set up. As I feel that’s the most important thing for us moving forward. Below are my thoughts on how we should go about the game tonight.
Xavi confirmed it in yesterdays press conference, there will be changes to the lineup that faced Real Madrid. And for me, that’s a very important thing to do. I feel that over the last few games we’ve sort of stagnated. We’re slowly recovering our defenders, with Bellerin being declared fit for the game. Christensen shouldn’t be too far off either. But our attack recently has become stuck. And that’s the main thing that needs changing, for me. Another thing is the subject of the captains. Enough is enough. I think we’re all sick and tired of the poor individual performances by the captains at this club. Their mistakes in recent games have directly influenced our performances. And they are never the ones to come out and front up. We need a refresh, and that’s why for this game, Marc Andre Ter Stegen should be our captain. Busi, Pique, Alba and Roberto should all be on the bench. Alba hasn’t played much to be fair and Roberto hasn’t been the worst performer. But in the case of Busquets and Pique, they both don’t deserve to start.
In midfield, Frenkie De Jong has to replace Busquets. Or if that doesn’t happen, Kessie should get a start too. We just need to see something new. Gavi must also return to the starting lineup. El Clasico showed us exactly why Gavi is so important for this team. We had absolutely no energy when he was on the bench. The second he comes on, we click into life. He is so vital for us. And must start tomorrow. Got no doubt that he will be selected.
Ferran and Ansu Time?
Now, when it comes to our attack. Something needs to change. We cannot play Raphinha and Dembele at the same time. It simply doesn’t work. It has to be one or the other. Both are incredible on the right, so if they’re playing at the same time, one of them would be sacrificed on the left. Which is just a detriment to the team. Last season we had Ferran Torres playing on the left, with Dembele on the right. And that worked perfectly. It was the setup we used during our most exciting spell. Gavi even played as an inverted left winger at times and it worked wonders. This season, we’ve got Ansu back in the team. Which gives us even more options on the left. He is very much like Ferran where in which he is so intelligent with his on and off the ball movements.
They both naturally cut in from the left, which leaves space for the overlapping left back. And on their day, Ferran and Ansu are our best finishers. And with Lewandowski, our biggest goal threats. Having them both with full confidence would be massive for this team. So they both have to play more. Also, having a profile like that on the left with a Dembele or Raphinha on the right just makes us more unpredictable. We have to start finding out our best front three. Allow them to build chemistry. And see partnerships forming. Once we get this right, everything else will fall into place. Ferran and Ansu had incredible impacts against Madrid. Ansu especially who could’ve completed a fantastic comeback in the last minutes. Ferran scored the only goal for us, but both deserve to start tonight. It’s as simple as that.
For me these are the biggest changes we need to make. It’s still early on in the season. And Although things feel against us right now. Once we get these things right, everything else will follow. Like with this project, patience is key!
Bellerin- Kounde- Eric- Balde
Pedri- Frenkie- Gavi
Ferran- Lewandowski- Ansu