Barcelona's preseason continues to be successful in terms of results, as the Blaugrana cruised past Leicester City on the way to an entertaining 4-2 victory. Even though they suffered defensively in the opening minutes of the final period, the Catalans mostly dominated the Premier League champions to win a second straight preseason match. Here's a few takeaways from what we saw in Sweden:
1 - Marlon Santos looks like a real talent
The young Barça B center-back was brought to the first two preseason matches since the international defenders were still on vacation, and played a combined 90 minutes across the games against Celtic and Leicester. And he was simply fantastic, especially for a 20-year-old Brazilian who is not really familiar with the Blaugrana system having joined less than a month ago. Marlon showed so much composure on the ball, knowing exactly where to pass and not wasting possession with meaningless clearances, and these are qualities a Barça CB is required to have. More importantly, he's great on his main job as a defender, which very good positioning, decent speed and well-timed challenges and tackles.
Marlon might be a Barça B defender on loan for a season, but if he continues to play like this, the club might buy him permanently to play in the first team. Good job, kid.
2 - Sergi Samper is exactly like Sergio Busquets
Here's what I mean: every time Samper played in the first team as a pivote, he showed real talent and was able to do every thing his mentor Busquets does in that position. But every time Luis Enrique tested Samper a little further on the pitch as a central midfielder, he struggled to occupy spaces out wide, make more incisive passes, and stay closer to the box to help create chances. These are the same problems Busquets had last season in the few games Lucho tested him in the middle. Just like Busi, Sergi Samper is a pivote, and only that. And that is not at all a bad thing, because if Samper turns out to be like Busi, Barça will have the best defensive midfielder on the planet for the next decade.
3 - Munir El-Haddadi deserves a chance as the fourth forward
Barça fans are very anxious about the board signing a fourth forward to serve as a reliable backup to the 'MSN' trio. But with every chance he gets, Munir gets better. He was great last season whenever called upon to action, and he's using this preseason to prove to Lucho he can be the new Pedro. His decision making is still weird, but it's clear that he respects Messi and Suárez too much sometimes, and that has an effect on his decision making. Not having a fourth forward was not the reason why Barça was knocked out of the Champions League last season, and Munir continues to prove he can fill that slot in the few games where one of the 'MSN' are out. Just let Munir play, people.