I understand that as a new coach Valverde must try new players in new formations, therefore I understand how frustrating it must be for us supporters to see many of the same inane decisions that proved devastating in the last campaign. Yes, rotations are necessary, regardless of whether it is the first few games of the season or the last remaining matches. Yet it is very grating to see the same players in the same schemes stubbornly attempting to elicit a different, positive result while playing much of the same underwhelming football. So, yes, I understand it is necessary to see what personnel you have on the bench, and how they can be best utilized when needed, but there must be a smarter way to go about it.
If you are going to experiment then why not go almost wholesale with it? How much do you truly believe you are going to affect results when you play the same defense, the same mid, but only change the players flanking Messi? Yes, change here meaning one player that left and one that was injured. The problem last year was not the forwards. In fact, the trio was quite possibly the only thing keeping Barcelona competitive through many, many games. Therefore, I think it isn’t farfetched for many to be upset when our team was literally the same as the majority of last season, but only with the veritable downgrade in quality from Neymar and Suárez to Deulofeu and Vidal. Nothing against those players in particular, which might actually perform better in another system, or against experimenting with different rotations, just with expecting different results than those obtained before.
Irish Goat’s Gamboling Goleadores!
1st Goleador: Messi
No other way to say it: Messi saved Valverde’s bacon. Despite having three forwards, Leo was basically the only legitimate attacking threat for most of this game. After the first half, there was that pervading sense of dread of Messi being stuck on goal 349 for much longer, and having one of those dry spells brought on by trying to break a record, which for some reason seems to happen often. Fortunately, he found the back of the net in the second half twice and gave the team the second 2-0 victory in a row. Hopefully Valverde can provide Messi with better options moving forward, as you could see that the number ten seemed to be somewhat frustrated.
2nd Goleador: Sergi Roberto
Not the best position he plays in, and therefore hard to choose him after seeing how well he can play if used properly, but I truthfully liked the way he played, and I also don’t know who else should have been chosen over him. MaTS was solid but didn’t have to do much; didn’t like how Jordi played as he seemed really wasteful; Umtiti was solid but didn’t play his best game; Piqué continues to be disappointing to me; Iniesta had a solid first half but disappeared for much of the second until he was subbed; Busquets good but nothing to write home about; Rakitić very slow; Deulo and Vidal on another level, but not in a good way.
3rd Goleador: Denis
I’ve liked him twice now coming off the bench and would like to see him get the start. It is basically now or never, as you know Dembélé and Suárez will lock down those starting spots. We shall see what happens, as it is only the second game of the season.