A goalless draw for Barcelona against the league’s bottom club will be viewed in many quarters as an experiment that went badly wrong.
It brings us back to the tired old argument about Ernesto Valverde’s rotation again but, frankly, that’s getting a little tiresome and boring.
️ Valverde: "Todibo, Riqui Puig and Moussa Wagué have gone from less to more. At first, they were the normal ones, but I think they had a good game today. We have to be happy."— Omar ️ (@Blaugranagram) April 13, 2019
The match against Huesca was the perfect opportunity for the coach to mix and match in defence, midfield and attack, and perhaps the only surprise was that he started with Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal rather than Jasper Cillessen.
The 90 minutes as a whole wasn’t a great watch in truth, but there were certainly some positives to come out of the game.
For a start, Moussa Wague got his first minutes as a first-team player and performed adequately. Yes, he’s raw but the youngster has to start somewhere. It’s worth pointing out that he held his own for long periods and provided a game-saving tackle near full-time too.
Alena, Riqui, Todibo and wague got something special, love them all.— MØ (@FutbolisticMO) April 13, 2019
Riqui Puig showed no fear in the heart of the midfield and that delicious first-half pass was worth the admittance fee alone. It’s surely only a matter of time before we see more of him in the first team.
At 19, Jean-Clair Todibo has a long future in the game ahead of him, and those Cules looking for him to be moved on in the summer because he hasn’t set the world alight might be revising their opinions after seeing his performance on Saturday afternoon.
Jean-Clair Todibo vs Huesca— FootballTalentScout (@FtblTalentScout) April 13, 2019
95% pass accuracy
2 dribbles won
6 tackles won
1 aerial won
Looked very good in that three-man defence. Superb debut! pic.twitter.com/VqXisJqn8l
He shone the brightest, showed a clean pair of heels on more than one occasion leaving attackers in his wake, and for the most part he was calm on the ball, bringing it out with authority from the back.
It was what might be termed a mature performance. Not all bells and whistles but competent and precisely what was required on the big occasion for him.
Clearly he will need time to adapt to the rigours of top-level combat, but there was enough in his armoury to suggest that Barca have a real defensive talent on their hands and, looked after correctly, he could become a fixture at the back for years to come.
Todibo was the player that impressed me the most, incredibly promising! He’s calm and cautious when defending, has an incredible ability to recover the ball, and plays from the back without difficulty. Still made a few naïve mistakes by pulling opponents, but common for his age.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) April 13, 2019
The overseeing of his development from this point forward will be key. How often has ‘the next big thing’ come through only to disappear from the first team as quickly as they arrived?
Todibo ticks all of the boxes defensively, and it’s imperative that the club ensure that area of the squad is in a sound state for years to come.
If Todibo were from La Masia there would be a bigger hue and cry about his future fate. A talent.— kevinwilliams (@kevvwill) April 13, 2019
Remember the issues we had when we all knew Carles Puyol was preparing to retire?!
For now, there’s no need to place extra pressure on Todibo’s shoulders, which could weigh heavily.
Let’s instead bask in the knowledge of having him within the Blaugrana ranks, and enjoy watching his journey to first-team regular.