Sergi Roberto has made 15 appearances for barcelona this season in the league. In almost all these fixtures, the midfielder has played om the right flank as a lateral. While few expected him to change his game immediately, the Spanish international ressurrected his career for club and country by putting on good performances in the first half of the season.
However, fatigue settled in for the converted full-back, who struggled to finish games in peak physical condition on a weekly basis. This forced the coach to rotate Aleix Vidal in, who had so far, only watched from the stands.
Despite not being the best option defensively, Aleix Vidal managed to breathe a new dimension into Barça's game—the wingback has been amazing at stretching play, which has led to a renewed right-flank.
The presence of Aleix Vidal has allowed Lionel Messi to engage in interplay on the right wing, which in turn, has kept the opposition guessing as to whether on not the Argentine maestro will drift inside. This scenario is a huge change from the early half of the season, when Messi spent a majority of his time drifting inwards, to see more of the ball.
While Aleix Vidal's defensive skills are still suspect, it might come as a surprise to many, that Vidal has made more interceptions per 90, compared to Sergi Roberto in the league so far.
While that statistic in itself might not be reliable enough to deserve a starting spot due to the size of the sample, the speedster has shown immense intelligence and physicality in his last few appearances.
His attacking nous and pace have made a massive difference to the team's play, everytime he is on the pitch.
While there is a certain amount of uncertainty involved, it just might be the time for Luis Enrique to make Aleix Vidal a permanent name on his team-sheet.