Barcelona had one of the most depressing performances imaginable the other night when they played out a goalless draw against Sevilla. This tie gave a considerable advantage to Real Madrid as Los Blancos managed to overcome the deficit in points with the Catalan club and rose to the first position in the league.
The performances of the Barca players would not please Quique Setien, and soon the manager will need to implement some new philosophies if they are to get back to winning ways. The Catalans cannot afford another such slip up as that would further put Real Madrid in the driving seat. Here are three areas which Setien should keep in mind from the next game onwards.
The static nature of the team
Ansu Fati and his blistering pace were sorely missed in the last game as the team struggled hard to move the ball into the opposition final third. Indeed, the Sevilla defence was well organised, and they could successfully block any approach from the Cules. However, the lack of pace did hurt the team.
Having players like Vidal, Rakitic and Suarez in the squad means that the manager had been willing to sacrifice an element of pace hoping that these experienced campaigners would be able to keep enough possession to guide the side to a victory. That was not the case to be as the ball hardly moved, leading to the team’s downfall.
Lack of young players
The midfield had comprised of Vidal (33-years-old), Rakitic (32-years-old) and Busquets (31-years-old). In front of them was Luis Suarez, who has stopped being in the elite class anymore, courtesy his age of 33. This policy would hurt Barcelona not only in this term but also in the future.
They need to integrate younger players into the side and utilise the youngsters that are already in the squad in a much better way. De Jong has already proved that he could be the long term man in midfield, but the Dutch player could be placed at the centre of the midfield in place of Busquets, which is his natural position. Players like Firpo could be given more opportunities as they represent the future of the club.
Make better use of the forwards
Setien seems to have hit a roadblock with his team’s forwards. While Messi is the constant in the side, the other two positions are up for grabs. Messi has always played with a proper number nine in the squad with Villa doing the honours once and eventually Suarez taking his place.
The management had brought in Griezmann last summer in the hope that he could take up the place of the Uruguayan and get adjusted to his new role. However, that has not been the case with the French star looking out of his depth for most of his tenure at Barca. In the remaining matches, this problem needs to be addressed as the Spanish manager cannot afford to let one of the most talented players of the squad rot in the bench.