Ansu takes his chance
Ansu Fati was a welcome sight in Quique Setien’s starting XI and certainly took his chance to impress against Leganes.
The 17-year-old has only scored twice in 2020 but netted his fifth La Liga strike with a really great finish that gave goalkeeper Pichu Cuellar no chance.
Setien took him off early in the second half because he “had some pain at half-time” but was quick to praise the teenager for another influential display.
The Barca coach says Ansu “did a good job,” Ivan Rakitic called the youngster “impressive,” and it’s likely we’ll see him again at Sevilla.
Griezmann struggles again
Barcelona may have taken all three points against Leganes but there’s no doubt it was another poor night for Antoine Griezmann in attack.
The €120 million man was a little unlucky to see a goal disallowed for offside but otherwise this was just another performance that highlighted how ill-suited he seems to the team.
He did get some backing from Setien after the match:
“It’s not easy to play on the inside. When so many people are around, you have to do very well to find the space. Griezmann does a commendable job for us.”
Yet he must be coming under pressure for his place, particularly with Fati and Martin Braithwaite on target in the first two games back and Luis Suarez fit again.
Umtiti banned for Sevilla
One player who will not be featuring at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium is Samuel Umtiti after he came on as a sub and promptly picked up his fifth yellow of the season.
The Frenchman was not likely to start against Sevilla, but his suspension leaves Setien short of defensive options ahead of a tough away game.
Setien is expecting to have Gerard Pique available, even though he said he needed stitches after the game, and he should partner Clement Lenglet at the back.
Ronald Araujo is also available as back-up but may still be having nightmares about Sevilla. He was sent off 14 minutes after coming on in the fixture between the two teams in October.
Junior gets a boost
Junior Firpo had a pretty good night for Barcelona on Tuesday. The left-back has been heavily criticised in his first season at the club but did a good job of replacing Jordi Alba.
He did well to set up Ansu Fati for the opening goal and looked a lot more confident that he has done in previous games with the Catalan giants.
Junior spoke after the game about the new substitutions rule and how it will help those who aren’t regulars, and we could see a lot more of him in the last nine games.
Midfield decisions for Setien
Setien made changes to his midfield against Leganes, bringing in Arthur and Ivan Rakitic for Frenkie de Jong and Arturo Vidal.
It made sense too with Vidal only a booking away from a suspension and De Jong having asked to be substituted late on against Real Mallorca.
Yet neither Arthur nor Rakitic did enough to suggest they should retain their places, while Barca looked much better when Vidal and Riqui Puig arrived from the bench.
Setien will have plenty to ponder ahead of a difficult trip to Sevilla on Friday, and he’ll need to make changes if he’s to get a better performance and take home the three points.