As we enter the final few games before the break for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Barça face Valencia at Mestalla for the second game of the week. Morale coming into the game has taken a hit. After it was confirmed in midweek that we’d be playing in the Europa League once again. It’s unfortunate, and wasn’t something we wanted to happen. But at the end of the day, that’s our reality. There’s no point moping around feeling sorry for ourselves. Get a grip and move forward. The season is very long and we must continue our progress. Continue working and building for a better future. There will be ups and downs along the way. Especially when you consider how big the rebuild is going to be. But the most important thing right now is to come together and keep building. Keep moving forward.
A quick look at Valencia:
Valencia, especially away from home, is always a tricky test. And that wont be any different when we come up against Gattuso’s side later tonight. During the last week, we’ve shown some very good signs in the games against Villarreal and Athletic. And well be looking to carry that on tonight. Put the midweek disappointment behind us and move on. A positive reaction is all we want to see. In terms of our opponent, Valencia currently find themselves in 9th place in La Liga. 13 points behind Barça. They’ve drew 3 out of their last 5 games. Winning one against Osasuna and losing their most recent game at home to Mallorca. As always, they’re going to put up a tough test for us. And challenge us physically too. We just need to ensure that we turn up for the occasion. And put recent events behind us. Move on. Move forward.
In terms of the lineup, we have to see some changes. Starting off with the formation. Against a team that presses high up, like Bilbao did last weekend. Using 4 midfielders the way we did can work perfectly. However, tonight against a team that will defend in a low block, we may have to tweak it around a bit. I’d 100% revert back to our 4-3-3 setup. Busquets has to be dropped in the midfield. And shouldn’t be playing in big games for us anymore, really. Frenkie should keep his place and replace Busi in the pivot position. Partnered alongside the magicians, Pedri and Gavi.
The latter’s energy and intensity is vital for this team. Every game he doesn’t play, you notice it. S he has to come back in. Bellerin was absolutely dreadful against Bayern. And in fact its a shame that Roberto is injured as he’s been pretty solid so far. For me, until Roberto comes back, Kounde should temporarily fit in at right back. Eric and pique would then most likely fill in at centre back. With Balde starting again at left back. Especially after some incredible recent performances. Alba could get a start maybe. And I wouldn’t be against it. But one things for sure, Alonso should not be on the pitch. In attack, I think Dembele could get a rest. Which may give Raphinha a chance to start in his natural position. I’d love to see that.
But I’d also really like to see the front three of Ansu, Lewis and Ferran again. The last time they all played, it was so exciting to watch. The movement was brilliant. And overall, we looked more unpredictable. And also more of a goal threat. Fact of the matter is, both Ansu and Ferran high on confidence, are our best attackers in the team. Along with Lewandowski. For me, we have to see more of that front three. And especially more of Ansu and Ferran individually.
Kounde- Eric- Pique- Balde
Pedri- Frenkie- Gavi
Ferran- Lewandowski- Ansu