Barcelona played brilliantly against Borrusia Dortmund during the week, but almost everything good that happened went through Lionel Messi.
They have lacked an obvious playing style and tactical approach this season, it’s often been the case of give it to Messi and let him make things happen.
In some ways that could be seen as a legitimate tactic, he’s one of the greatest players of all time and you want to get him on the ball as much as possible. The problem is it’s very one dimensional and you can can come unstuck if your main man gets injured or doesn’t play well.
Barcelona face a tough test in Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid tomorrow, so you have to think they might have a plan for Messi. Barca’s squad for the game has been released and there’s plenty of options for Ernesto Valverde going forward.
It remains to be seen how the rest of the team lines up, and these fans on Twitter want to see some changed in the midfield and defence:
don’t start Pique
— Tomer (@T0mer_) November 30, 2019
Arthur In, Pique Out for the starting 11.
— CoulZack ?? (@Amzaki584mscd) November 30, 2019
Arthur better start man. Can’t stand this Valverde character.
— Daft Pug ? (@daftpug_) November 30, 2019
Happy to see Arthur?MSG?
— Beryl (@Beryl05949392) November 30, 2019
If you don’t start Arthur istg
— Madeeha S. (@Madeeha__S) November 30, 2019
Kick Pique out
— Ziani (@Cyberia_601) November 30, 2019
The clown exists pic.twitter.com/7j6zfoCNrU
— ???? ??????? (@alrr20tG0slgOHE) November 30, 2019
It’s starting to look like Gerard Pique is getting some stick from the Barca fans. His perforamnces haven’t been the best recently, while a report from ESPN via Football Espana last week indicated he was possibly due to miss the Leganes game due to being distracted by his business interests. It’s not clear if that’s the reason for his unpopularity here, but it certainly won’t help.
On the flip side there are quite a few calls for Arthur to get into the team. He seems to be in and out of the side but he could be the best long term option in this squad. Ivan Rakitic seems to be out of favour while Arturo Vidal is the wrong side of 30 and will probably move on in the next couple of years.
Arthur is also more dynamic than those two, so you need a good all round midfielder when you come up against the aggression and competitiveness of a Diego Simeone team.
It will be interesting to see how Ernesto Valverde lines his team up for this one, it would be a huge call to drop Pique for such a huge game, but clearly there’s an element of the fan base who would support that decision.