Ernesto Valverde has had a bit of a topsy-turvy beginning to life at Camp Nou. After the 5-1 aggregate hammering by Real Madrid in the Supercopa, the morale at FC Barcelona plummeted to a new low. The atmosphere surrounding the club, and new signing Paulinho being heavily criticised have played a huge role in weighing the club down mentally.
The 2-0 win over Real Betis alleviated some concerns regarding the team-play, but there are still some things that need to be ironed out. Here are three things Ernie needs to do in Barcelona’s upcoming match against Alaves.
1. Start Nelson Semedo at right-back
Valverde has got a lot of things right since he first took the job, but starting Aleix Vidal over Nelson Semedo isn’t one of them. The Portuguese had a sensational game against Real Betis, linking well with Gerard Deulofeu in the attacking third. It was a pleasant surprise to see the Portuguese starting over Vidal and hopefully, the coach can keep the trend going. Semedo is really good, and the sooner he settles in, the better it will be for Barcelona as the season moves forward.
2. Play a little more counter-attacking football
Last season was a tactical disaster and a lot of the blame falls on Luis Enrique. The Asturian had his drawbacks but one thing that he will always be remembered for is revitalising Barça’s age-old possession play; Enrique introduced a fast-paced counter-attacking system that stretched the opponents vertically along the pitch. While we are all happy that Ernie is bringing back the intricate passing triangles, we should not forget that Luis Enrique added value to the system, allowing Barcelona to break buses at will. Counter-attacking is a useful tool to have and it should not be ignored as an alternative form of offensive play.
3. Start Sergi Roberto
Sergi Roberto is more than a utility-man. Roberto developed at an astounding rate under former manager Luis Enrique and despite many claiming otherwise, playing at right-back has only helped him technically. Roberto is more adventurous than he used to be and is not afraid to take his man on. His soaring confidence is a big plus for the team and adding fuel to the fire is what Ernie should be doing. It is not known when Andres Iniesta will return, but I would be more than excited to watch the captain play alongside Sergi Roberto—I have a feeling it will work rather well.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below!