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3 things Ernesto Valverde must do to improve Barcelona's form

Elvis Ume O
Top 5 / Top 10
09 Nov 2019, 17:02 IST

#2 Identify his best midfield

Barcelona has an abundance of talent in midfield
Barcelona has an abundance of talent in midfield

There is an abundance of talented players available to Valverde in midfield which would come as no surprise to keen followers of the game, as over the years, the Catalans have prioritized midfield excellence over any other position.

This saturation in midfield has had the consequent effect of constant changing and rotation in the middle, with Valverde trying out different combinations to get the most out of his players.

Very rarely have the same midfield combinations started consecutive matches and this has given a feel of unfamiliarity in their play.

At the heights of their powers, Barcelona had a discernible midfield identity, with Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Busquets holding it down in the middle for club and country and this bond played no small part in their unprecedented success.

Of Barcelona's eight first-team midfielders, only Frenkie de Jong has appeared in all 15 matches played in all competitions for a total of 1,218 minutes.

The next most frequent player is Sergio Busquets with 13 appearances and 912 minutes. The only other midfielders to have played for up to 500 minutes are Arthur and Sergi Roberto, with the latter spending a significant chunk of his time on the field at right-back.

Judging by how frequently he has played, it is a no-brainer that Frenkie de Jong is indispensable, while the fact that the three losses suffered by Barcelona this season have come in games where Busquets did not start is indicative of his usefulness to the team.

Squad rotation and player management is an important aspect of the game, but for a side that attaches so much importance to identity in the middle, it is imperative that Ernesto Valverde sorts out his midfield conundrum as soon as possible.

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