LaLiga 2018-19: FC Barcelona 1-0 Real Valladolid: 5 Talking Points
FC Barcelona faced Valladolid in the LaLiga Matchday 24. Winless in the month of February, FC Barcelona were looking to get back to winning ways in LaLiga. Ernesto Valverde rotated his starting 11 ahead of the clash against Lyon in the Champions League.
Kevin-Prince Boateng started ahead of Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal started ahead of Ivan Rakitic. Ousmane Dembele found a place in the starting lineup upon his return from injury. Clement Lenglet was rested and Thomas Vermaelen started in central defence.
The Valladolid side started in a 3-5-2 formation. There were not many chances in the first half for both teams. Barcelona took the lead through Lionel Messi's penalty in the 43rd minute after Gerard Pique was bundled down in the box.
In the second half, Valverde brought Suarez, Coutinho, and Rakitic on but still, there was no change in the scoreline. Lionel Messi missed a penalty late in the second half.
Barcelona are still on top of the table with a 9 point lead over Real Madrid, at least till they play against Girona on Sunday. The Blaugrana will now travel to Lyon for their Champions League game.
#5 Real Valladolid come out with one intention, sneak a point
Valladolid had only one thing in mind from the first minute itself. They were trying to defend the game, get a point, and get the heck out of Camp Nou. There was not even one shot on target from the Valladolid team. There was no counter-attacking or pressing from them either.
Sergio González structured his team for this purpose as well and it has to be said he did it really well. The 3-5-2 formation outnumbered Barcelona in the midfield and allowed the Valladolid side to keep track of all the midfielders. Lionel Messi was man-marked and had to dribble and create things on his own rather than finding players. There was little to no gap to find other players.
The frustration on the face of Lionel Messi told how stubborn the Valladolid team had been. It did break eventually with the likes of even Gerard Pique offering attacking support but it was a near-flawless plan from the underdogs.