Arturo Vidal is Barcelona’s most productive midfielder
Arturo Vidal’s signing was widely derided when he arrived from Bayern Munich in the summer. He was viewed as ageing, injury-prone and not really suited to Barca’s style of play, yet after a dodgy start he’s settled in well and now appears to be first choice.
He provided another crucial contribution on Sunday too, scoring the opening goal just before half-time after Barcelona had struggled to shake off their Champions League hangover against a Getafe side hoping to clinch qualification for Europe’s top competition.
It was hardly a pretty goal, Gerard Pique flicked on a Lionel Messi free-kick, goalkeeper David Soria could only parry, and Vidal was the man to poke the loose ball home.
He was also one of the few players cheered by supporters in Sunday’s game with fans enjoying his commitment to the cause.
Abel Ruiz should start against Eibar
Valverde handed Abel Ruiz his La Liga debut in the second half, and the 19-year-old enjoyed a decent cameo. Indeed he might have scored too but for a fine save from David Soria.
He certainly offered plenty of promise in his 20 or so minutes on the pitch, and he deserves to start Barcelona’s final La Liga game of the season given the team’s injury problems in attack.
Luis Suarez is out for the rest of the season, Ousmane Dembele has twanged his hamstring and may not feature again, while Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out for 10 days with a thigh problem.
The more experienced Kevin-Prince Boateng is also an option but given he has barely featured since arriving on loan in January it would be far more useful to look to the future and give Ruiz his first La Liga start.
Camp Nou has not forgiven Coutinho
Barcelona players could have been forgiven for being apprehensive about the reception they may have faced from the Camp Nou crowd on Sunday, but in truth there was little hostility from the home fans.
The only player who did get a hard time from supporters was Philippe Coutinho, but let’s face it the Brazilian has endured a really tough season and has been whistled before.
The thing is that Coutinho put in another pretty disappointing display, and it’s difficult to see a future for him at Barcelona at the moment.
The 26-year-old has looked bereft of confidence all season, has failed to shine in attack despite numerous opportunities given Ousmane Dembele’s injury problems and well, he just looks completely miserable most of the time.
To make matters worse he picked up an injury against Getafe and will now miss the next 10 days. He could also miss the Copa del Rey final too if anyone can step up and make an impression while he’s out.