How could Barcelona lineup while resting Jordi Alba
- The Spaniard is a key player for the Catalan club and it is important that he's rested
It is fair enough to say that other than Leo Messi, Barcelona have been massively overdependent on Jordi Alba. He is a vital cog in the playing XI due to his speed, stamina and his telepathic understanding with Messi. His overlapping runs down the left-hand side are essential to Barcelona's attacking flow.
However, Barcelona do not have a suitable backup for the Spaniard at the moment and the chances are high that Alba could be overworked during the latter and the most important stages of the tournament. Hence, it is important for Barcelona that he is given adequate rest in less important games.
While Ernesto Valverde has tried playing Semedo and Roberto at Alba's position, both have looked out of sorts on the left-hand side of the defence. Moreover, Barca B left back Juan Miranda is not quite ready to make his mark in the first team, so chances are unlikely that he would be used as Jordi Alba's deputy now.
The Probable Lineup
While Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti have just returned from injury, it is likely that they would be rushed into the team right now. In addition to that, Arthur is currently out injured for 3-4 weeks. This is the reason for their exclusion from their probable lineup.
On paper, the lineup would look like a 3-4-1-2 with Malcom and Semedo as wingbacks. In the midfield, Busquets and Rakitic would be the holding midfielders with Coutinho being the most advanced midfielder. In defence, Lenglet would cover the left side of the defence, either of Murillo or Todibo would cover the right side and Gerard Pique would act as a sweeper.
While attacking, Malcom and Semedo would be holding their widths in addition to being supported by Coutinho and Messi in the left and right half spaces respectively. Furthermore, when Coutinho and Messi drift into central spaces, Suarez could drift out wide to support and linkup with the wingbacks, which he so often does. While Rakitic would be a holding midfielder alongside Busquets, he could advance up the field as well to support the attack, occasionally.
While defending, it would be up to Clement Lenglet to fulfill Jordi Alba's duties. The Frenchman is a pacy center back who can drift out wide and deal with opposition right-wingers. On the right, Murillo or Todibo would have to perform the same task, while Busquets and Rakitic would guard the central defensive half spaces on either side.
And just in case, Valverde would want to rotate more, he could bring in Arturo Vidal for Rakitic, either Carles Alena and Kevin-Prince Boateng for one of the two attackers or Sergi Roberto for Semedo or any of the midfield spots.
The Bottom Line
Barcelona have a long season to go and they cannot afford their key players to get overworked and burned out. It is important that Ernesto Valverde rotates his players wisely, whilst also not dropping points.
Furthermore, this lineup could also give some extra and adequate minutes to Malcom and either of Murillo or Todibo.Published 10 Feb 2019, 01:17 IST