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How did Barca fair in their 1-1 draw vs Napoli in the Europa?

How did Barca fair in their 1-1 draw vs Napoli in the Europa? - Banner advertising service

UEFA Europa League: How did Barca fair in their 1-1 draw vs Napoli in the Europa League as Ferran Torres could not find a winning way for Barcelona off the Penalty spot

I have rewatched the Barcelona vs Napoli game in the Europa League and here i will leave you with some tactical views and reactions from the game.

I hope Ferran Torres’ performance infront of goal tonight doesn’t linger in his mind too long. Him being on the end of so many chances is a good thing, it shows he has the basics.

He took 7 shots tonight, only one of them was on target and that was a penalty. That’s more shots than Napoli had (4). He proves he can constantly move into dangerous positions and be a constant threat.

It’s obvious stuff. It’s not like a Werner situation with Ferran Torres where he has the physical qualities to get into dangerous positions along with the penetrative runs. No. Ferran is a much better ball striker. He is absolutely a high quality signing for the club. He will succeed. You can come here after 6 months and I’ll be saying “AheadOfTheCurve”.


Watching extended highlights of the game. Barca haven’t got the result but the sustained pressure. Xavi’s structure has enabled this team to exert showcases what a special project this could be. As soon as higher quality came onto the pitch at right wing the team looked different. That’s what Barca need – extra quality.

Xavi’s idea of signing Traore makes absolute sense because it now means there’s more than just Dembélé who can play that isolation role on the right wing. The structure is really obviously elite but imagine when Fati is back alongside Aubameyang/Torres and Dembélé.

Obviously Dembélé’s probable exit complicates things but Barca will have to replace him with a stellar right winger. Bokayo Saka is the one that springs to mind if Arsenal miss out on the CL. Either way, the club need a star of that ilk, but it’s comforting that the structure is elite.

The structure is the ‘be all and end all’ in football. Then, within that structure, balance becomes key (profiles, physicality, technical quality, etc). Xavi absolutely understands the necessities Barca require to carry out his elite system to the best standard. It’s clear.

Compare what Dembélé has done vs Adama. It’s different universes in terms of talent, unpredictability and quality. It’s no wonder Xavi is desperate to keep Dembélé despite his off-field problems. He is so bloody special

Ousmane Dembélé

 Dembélé is a ball-to-feet player. His physical profile because of the pace he’s got might make it look otherwise but he is someone who receives to create. Exactly the same profile as Neymar or Messi. With Messi gone, Barca need such a profile and Dembele is one of the best around.

Adama Troare

Adama is one-dimensional due to his limited angles/lopsided running style and isn’t even a good ball striker on his right foot. The guy is purely a special athlete and ball carrier. He can’t strike the ball reliably on either foot or run to the left at all. He’s Antonio Valencia with muscles.

However, I still maintain that the signing makes sense in the short-term. Barca need that 1v1 profile on the right otherwise they can’t play this way. The usage of the inverted fullback combined with Xavi’s general structure is all about creating isolation/combo moments out wide.

Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong’s pass selection, volume and execution itself makes him elite let alone when considering that he’s near impossible to dispossess and an intense athlete who can carry the ball. He’s such a special midfielder – complete at everything in the first and second phase.

There’s only one way to describe Frenkie and that’s elegant. He glides across the pitch. Guys like Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips are near perfect midfielders but they don’t even compare in terms of aesthetics to the likes of de Jong. It’d be a perfect complementary double pivot.

De Jong is so special on the ball, so he is naturally more concerned with that side of the game – he wants the ball all the time to showcase his technical elegance. Rice and co. want the ball too but they’re also just as satisfied with defending. That’s the difference in profile.

He’s is what we call a luxury player. Teams like Man City, Bayern etc that dominate possession he would fit right in but with teams that are less possession based like Man United (counter attacking based) he would struggle. De Jong/Tchouameni (Lille wanderkid) pivot would slap if Barca were smart to get him.

Everything is about balance. You need runners and ball to feet players in a lineup. Adama Troare is another such profile but he is a big downgrade on Dembele. Doesn’t have nearly the angles or the versatility or even the same threat on goal. Injuries apart, Dembele must renew.

Funny thing that Barcelona were suffering from having no runners with Messi, Coutinho and Dembele. They got Fati and Torres and Aubameyang and then they lose all of Messi, Coutinho and Dembele(?) again. You couldn’t make this up. It’s too funny. BTF creators of quality are COSTLY.

Barca are half-way between Arsenal and Man City in terms of development in midfield and defence which enables them to dominate games with the ball but are way off even Arsenal in the final 3rd (because of Saka vs Adama). Problem is a lot of those 1st/2nd phasers are 30+ years.

What Barca need is Ter Stegen’s ball playing ability but his shot stopping back, physical but technically proficient profiles to replace elder 1st and 2nd phasers, and more devastating quality in the final third, particularly at right wing. We’ll be fine though. Xavi is special.

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