It was a season of hope, it was a season of pessimism, it was a year of dominance, it was an hour of horrors, it was about a man who did the unthinkable, it was about a man who couldn’t keep his promise. Barcelona’s rise to supremacy has been as intense as its fall to helplessness but all that has happened has to be forgotten, for the Copa has arrived in time again.
Valencia face Barcelona in a hotly-contested tie, one that can go either way. Luis Suarez will miss out due to injury so much will be expected from Lionel Messi up front; Valencia, on the other hand, have their A-squad ready for battle.
Let’s look at the three things Barcelona should do to win the Copa del Rey:
Capitalise on their fouls near the penalty area
The last two matches between the teams ended in a draw which is why this can be anyone’s final. While Valencia have been successful defending against the Blaugrana attack, their vulnerabilities while defending near their penalty box have been exposed. They have conceded nine goals through set pieces and seven goals through penalties this season and this calls for immediate attention from Barca players. Malcom, who is expected to start from the right, dribbles well and he can stretch the opposition to let them make an error or two. As for the set-piece converter, we alteady know who he is.
Cap their wing-play
Marcelino has his A-squad at his disposal (except Cheryshev) and he will bring the A-game with the quintessential 4-4-2 that has landed them in a Champions League spot. The likes of Carlos Soler, Goncalo Guedes and Jose Gaya have benefited from wing-play as they team up with Parejo to create nuisance in the opposition box. If Barcelona manage to cut the link between the wing-play and their playmaker, their chances to do anything with possession will fall drastically and they will eventually concede possession.
Look to dominate possession
With Messi set to lead the attack, he will operate as a false nine dropping back for the ball, which means he will get more of it and Barcelona must make the most of the chances. The most important part of the match could be the first 15 minutes when Barcelona will look to settle down and dominate the ball with their usual elan. Disturb the flow and the floodgates open. Only then can they take risks in the opposition half and have chances to score.