Barcelona face Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Tuesday night, and coach Ernesto Valverde has sparked a furious backlash with his squad selection.
The Catalan giants are in a strong position as things stand, as they currently sit top of Group F with a three-point lead over both Inter and Borussia Dortmund who face each other.
In turn, they’ll hope that they take points off each other this week while securing back-to-back wins over Slavia Prague to edge ever closer to advancing to the knockout stage of the competition.
However, they’re under pressure to do so now after falling to a 3-1 defeat to Levante at the weekend, and so Valverde will be desperate to get a response from his players and get back to winning ways.
He’s been boosted by the return of Samuel Umtiti who has been cleared to feature after recovering from his latest setback to his troublesome knee, but the decision to leave Arthur out has resulted in an angry response from fans, as seen in the tweets below.
As noted by Mundo Deportivo, there is no suggestion that he has picked up an injury problem and so his absence has been put down to a technical decision, which hasn’t gone down well with the Barcelona faithful.
Time will tell if it’s a decision that Valverde rues, but ultimately given the quality and strength in depth in the current Barca squad, he’ll be confident that they have enough to get the right result at the Nou Camp and put their disappointment from the weekend behind them.
Nevertheless, Arthur has been a key figure for the reigning Spanish champions so far this season having made 10 appearances across all competitions, and so his absence is certainly a surprise given what he offers Barcelona in midfield in a game in which they’ll hope to dominate possession and the tempo of the encounter.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 4, 2019
Arthur our? What is Valverde taking?
— KingChief?? (@etb567) November 4, 2019
— grim the best (@Papasene30) November 4, 2019
Where is Arthur btw?
— ????? (@AryanSzn10) November 4, 2019
Where is Arthur?? Valverde repeating last season
— subham (@skhaitan20) November 4, 2019
Arthur out of the squad??? #ValverdeOut
— ??????????? (@magisteriaI10) November 4, 2019
No Arthur? No firpo? Roberto is in the squad. Umtiti never plays but still in the squad? Wtf is wrong with this coach really?
— Prateek (@Prateek0x) November 4, 2019
@FCBarcelona Arthur??????? What do you mean Arthur won’t play?
— Raquel’s in Hawaii ?? (@eiraquel18) November 4, 2019
Arthur????????? He is our best middfielder!!!!!!!!#valvardefuera
— TheWarrior58HUN (@HunWarrior58) November 4, 2019
Where tf is arthur??
— Barça.FC (@BaraFC2) November 4, 2019
WTF Where is Arthur?
— X-EXO????? (@Cherry_EX0) November 4, 2019