🔷 BARCA SQUAD ANALYSIS 🔶
🔴 BARCA VS VILLARREAL 🔵
⏩ Barcelona faces Villarreal at the Camp Nou in the much anticipated season opener under new manager Ronald Koeman. After the sale of both Luis Suarez and Nelson Semedo to Atleti and Wolves respectively, Barça has a pressure to perform before the arrival of possible new signings. But, Barcelona still go into the match without Suarez, Semedo and any new recruits. And that is exactly why this match against a staunch Villareal side could be an early hurdle.
🔵 Koeman has played 3 matches in his new job. He deployed a 4-2-3-1 in the first two against Gimnàstic and Girona, while fielding a 4-3-3 against Elche. So, after talking about the defense, we will break it into two parts and analysis.
🔴 Neto will surely start in goal as first choice keeper Ter Stegen is out at least till October with a knee injury. Neto impressed in goal in the pre-season and will look to keep up his good form.
🔵 Ahead of him, Sergi Roberto will start at RB. He has a chance to prove his worth given that Barça are in talks with Norwich’s Max Aarons and Ajax’s Sergino Dest after the departure of Semedo. Pique and Lenglet is the favoured CB pairing but Araujo might be given a surprise chance since he was a huge influence in the pre-season. Umtiti is out with an injury. That leaves Jordi Alba to start at LB.
🔴 With MATS out and Barça’s defense looking generally shaky for the past 3 seasons, Koeman is likely to opt for a safe 4-2-3-1. In this case, Frenkie is sure to start alongside either Pjanic or Busquets, both of whom would be rotated throughout the season.
🔵 Hence, Messi can be given his favourite CAM role in the middle of the park and Coutinho starting on one side. Dembele is set to be trusted for this game but Koeman has made it clear that Fati is his main choice for the season. So, let’s not be surprised if Fati starts. Griezmann is the lone man up top with Suarez gone and Braithwaite injured.
🔴 Koeman might opt for a brave 4-3-3, putting Pjanic/Busquets in central midfield with Frenkie and Coutinho playing slightly ahead on either side. In this case, Coutinho might shine more at the expense of FDJ who is more of a defensive player.
🔵 Griezmann will still be the striker with Messi at right wing and one of Dembele or Fati on the left. Trincão might be an option on the bench.
📝 It is going to be a tough match for us. Barca is in serious turmoil; players leaving without the arrival of new players, a reluctant Messi, unaltered nonsense defense, our wall MATS out. Let us just hope we can scrape a result today.