It’s a quick turn around these days, and we’re all too familiar with that. Tonight at 9pm local time, we’re back at it again. Another home game, live from Montjuic, its Barcelona VS Atlético. And yet again, for already the second time in the last week. It is a huge game. This can’t be understated. Technically, it is still early days. We’re only in December, so there’s still a long way of the season to go. But already, tonight’s game is absolutely huge. Our next one in the league is too, but that’s for another day. Not only is it a huge game, but its also possibly, our biggest test yet.
A Quick Look at our opponents:
Atlético have been playing some great football all season. Griezmann is really rolling back the years, almost having a renaissance season. Once again being a key part of Simeone’s side. They’ve got some gifted players like Riquelme and players who act as the heartbeat of the team, such as De Paul.
It really is going to be a difficult game for us. We are hit by injuries again, Ter Stegen isn’t going to be available for the game. And when we talk about the “heartbeat” of the team, we’ve lost ours in Gavi. We can’t keep going on about it, because that’s the reality for the rest of the season. But it really is a huge blow for us. Which makes games against teams like Atleti even more difficult. And like i say, it is going to be a difficult game.
But we’re going to be hoping that the home crowd can pull us through once more and push this team over the line. We are really going to need it.
When you talk about lineups, I would try my hardest to start building some consistency. I think the team in midweek overall did well. But what we’re lacking at the moment is chemistry. Partnerships on the pitch. And with time, the positional play can be improved too. But you need consistency in the lineup. That’s why, for tonight’s game, i would keep the same team as the one who started against Porto on Tuesday, however, i would look to make 1 or 2 small changes.
Kounde is still regaining match sharpness. And i think we saw in midweek that he isn’t fully there yet. He was a little shaky, and we simply can’t afford that tonight. That’s why i would switch Kounde and bring back in Christensen. He’s been solid this season yet again. He was rested in midweek and he deserves another start tonight. Cancelo was simply outrageous in midweek off the left hand side. So i think Xavi will play him there again.
However, for me, Balde needs to somehow be put in the team too. I think he’s had quite an underrated season so far. And his pace in transition is going to be key when making recoveries. Atlético are good on the counter, so having him there to chase it down can only benefit us. With cancelo playing so well as the inverted left back. Why don’t we try Balde as the inverted right back. He’s solid defensively, a gifted dribbler and giving him the chance to cut in on his left foot, as opposed to to overlapping could be an interesting idea. Apart from that, id keep the team the same. No Romeu in midfield. Yamal and Ferran coming off the bench against tired legs. And Joao Felix facing his former club.
My starting lineup:
Balde- Araujo- Christensen- Cancelo
Pedri- Gundogan- Frenkie
Raphinha- Lewandowski- Felix