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TACTICS: Arturo Vidal returns to the XI but Barcelona retain 4-3-3 shape

Ernesto Valverde persisted with the personnel, if not the formation, that worked against Inter

Barcelona V Sevilla, La Liga regular season. Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Arturo Vidal returned to the starting XI as Barcelona beat Sevilla 4-0, but he did so in a different role than he played when he came on as a sub against Inter Milan.

The Chilean was at the tip of a 4-2-3-1 formation against Inter, coming on as a sub for Sergio Busquets as Barcelona searched to overturn a 1-0 deficit.

Ernesto Valverde said after the match he needed someone who would take more risks near the box and bring a bit of unpredictability to the team. Vidal did the job well, and Barcelona overturned the game and won 2-1.

In the next match, it stood to reason when the team sheets went out and Vidal was starting, that the manager was repeating tactics he found pleasing in the previous game.

However, on the pitch, things were a bit different. Vidal actually was playing as a right sided interior in Barcelona’s classic 4-3-3 formation, with Frenkie de Jong as the pivot.

Still, Vidal interprets the role differently than others, and was seen in the centerforward position finishing off a chance to make it 2-0. With el Clásico coming up, it’ll be interesting how Valverde sets up his midfield.

Looking to the frontline, it also will depend on the (likely) lack of Ousmane Dembélé. Antoine Griezmann is the most likely candidate to take his place in the starting XI. Griezmann did not play at all against Sevilla, but it stands to reason that he’ll feature with his main competitor banned for that match.

Nélson Semedo had a great game, improving from a more middling performance against Inter. Jordi Alba is likely to be back soon, which will likely mean that one of Semedo or Roberto will be dropped.

Barcelona won the match against Sevilla by a distance in terms of goals, but on the pitch, things were much closer. Sevilla frequently got into good shooting positions, but through a combination of poor finishing and great work from Marc-André ter Stegen, they could not get onto the scoresheet.

Going forward, it is up to Valverde to see if this shape is the one he wants to keep, or whether he does want to go back to that 4-2-3-1 formation. As things stand, it seems that particular scheme was for emergencies only.

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