It’s only been 2 days but we’re back in action, yet again in La liga. Later this evening, we are travelling away to Mallorca at 9:30pm local time. Just looking at the press conferences from Mallorca’s side, we can already get a sense of what kind of game this is going to be. Yet another frustrating 5 at the back, low block. So just by keeping that in mind, we can already agree its going to be a struggle. Its probably not going to be an overly entertaining watch, so we’re going to have to suffer. Mallorca are good defensively and its going to take a lot for us to break them down. That’s the task for this evening.
Lessons from our last game:
We all know what Mallorca are about. They’re going to be tough to break down and its one of those games where you’ll have to suffer. One thing i want to focus on is what lessons we can take from our very last performance against Celta. It was an incredible comeback in the final 10 minutes. The mentality of this team is something else. Xavi has instilled a brilliant mindset in the players and that needs to be applauded. However, before we began the “remontada”, we weren’t performing that well. Especially compared to how we have been in recent weeks. We made a few rotations and that is needed. But defensively we weren’t good enough against Celta and we almost payed the price for it. Having said that, although in the first half we got it wrong. Xavi has to be commended for the changes he made in the second half to fix it. For me, putting Yamal on the right wing, with Raphinha playing as a sort of right interior was absolute genius. Ideally, we should’ve got the ball to Yamal more, as he is so dangerous. But Raphinha playing in the interior role really confused Celta. So really, it was a game of two halves. So many positives and brilliant moments during he comeback, but also vital lessons to learn when you look at the first half. We’ll be looking to improve on that later this evening.
Xavi mentioned in yesterday’s press conference, that because of the schedule he will ideally make 2-3 changes every game. In order to keep things fresh. For me, the main rotation i would make is Kounde. He has played a lot of football lately without rest. And he needs it now I think. So in that case id start a duo of Iñigo Martinez and Christensen with Balde and Cancelo on the sides. I don’t want to see Alonso near the starting eleven this time. Or Roberto. I also wouldn’t start Araujo just yet either. He came on against Celta and showed how vital he is to the stability of the team. But he’s just come back from injury. Starting him probably wouldn’t be the best idea. So id sub him on at half time again. A big loss from the midfield comes with Frenkie De Jong. He’s expecting ted to be out until November at least with an ankle injury. Pedri should be back soon which is great news, but losing Frenkie now is so frustrating. Especially considering the incredible form he was in. In attack, Ferran had a difficult game against Celta, like most of the team. And i think he suits coming off the bench against tired legs better. Or if we were to rest Lewandowski and play Ferran centrally. Id love to see Yamal get a start, but maybe he might be saved for Sevilla on Friday. In that case, Raphinha, who has been excellent so far this season, looks nailed on to start.
My starting 11:
Cancelo- Christensen- Iñigo- Balde
Gavi- Romeu- Gundogan
Raphinha- Lewandowski- Felix