After two games with brilliant football, Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona got another result apart from victory after drawing against Sevilla. However, regardless of the draw, the bigger problem were the negative aspects of the game compared to Koeman’s previous duels. Below, you can find our 5 takeaways from the Barcelona 1-1 Sevilla game.
Ronald Koeman started his job as Barça coach in the best way in La Liga after a streak of two victories against Villarreal and Celta Vigo. The Catalan club performed beautifully using the 4-2-3-1 and keeping clean-sheets in both of their games. Everything we thought the team had lost was recovered. A lot of intensity, good contributions, solid defense, creativity in attack, and good results. However, Barcelona had their first game under Koeman against Sevilla that brought a lot of negative points to the scenes.
We all know that Sevilla is one of the best teams in Spain nowadays. Last season they won the Europa League by knocking out Manchester United and Inter Milan. Also, a few weeks ago they were very close to winning the European Super Cup against Bayern Munich. It was no surprise that Sevilla was going to do everything possible to get all three points on Sunday night. Nevertheless, we hoped that the good form of Koeman’s team was going to be enough to have another victory, but it was not. The Catalans suffered a lot during the match, making it clear that despite the confidence boost in the first matches, many things still need to be polished.
1. Ronald Koeman should rotate his starting lineup
Ronald Koeman started La Liga in the 2020/21 season in the best way using a suitable approach in his starting XI. The 4-2-3-1 made most of the players work in his system against Villarreal and improved the roles of Frenkie de Jong and Philippe Coutinho in a positive way. Days later, in the match against Celta, he repeated the same XI again, bringing total success. The Dutch coach used the same approach against Sevilla, to the exception of Ronald Araújo who had to be a starter due to the suspension of Clément Lenglet.
Repeating the same lineup is fine once, but twice it could be risky and more so considering that the players had only rested for two days. Koeman used the same players he used in the last two games, which had huge consequences. Of course, it was already shown that they work well together, but several players were seen being tired so they did not apply the intensity that was seen against Villarreal and Celta. Instead, we saw an unconcentrated team with a high intensity once every 15 minutes. Koeman needs to change the XI from time to time. He should take advantage of his squad depth.
2. Ronald Araújo must be promoted as soon as possible
Since last season, Ronald Araújo already had a couple of opportunities in the first team and convinced the entire board that he should be promoted. In fact, president Josep María Bartomeu had announced at a press conference that the young Uruguayan was going to be part of the first team this season. However, no official move has yet been made and despite the fact that Araújo is still active with the team, he’s still part of Barça B.
Against Sevilla, he was key to prevent rivals from scoring on several dangerous occasions creating a very solid duo with Gerard Piqué. Araújo was at a level of intensity well above the one that the rest of the team was, and he did it constantly. Moreover, Ronald completed 59 passes with an 89% effectiveness and won 4/4 duels. Another test successfully passed by Araújo and we are increasingly convinced that he has to be from the first team…
3. Barcelona’s right flank was non-existent again
The same problem as in previous games, but this time it had more consequences. Barcelona has serious problems to stop depending a lot on the left side of its structure. Almost all the plays are concentrated on the side of Jordi Alba and Ansu Fati while the right side is non-existent for the players on the offensive side. On the right flank, there is usually Antoine Griezmann or Lionel Messi along with Sergi Roberto, but despite Antoine’s runs and Leo’s magic, the ball isn’t moving forward in the right-flank.
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This means that the rivals can be more prepared to stop the Catalans in their transitions from the attack. Against Sevilla, we could clearly see that all the plays of the locals were concentrated on the left flank and it was very easy to predict which play was going to be made. Without a doubt, it is something that has to be solved. Fortunately, the arrival of Sergiño Dest can be something positive for that side of the pitch due to its tendency to be highly offensive, and with a lot of creativity, it could be an important solution. We will have to see how the player evolves.
4. A “9” is urgently needed
We suspected it against Villarreal, we realized it against Celta and we confirmed it against Sevilla. Barcelona urgently needs a “9” since the departure of Luis Suárez. The Blaugrana’s attack was mainly affected because there was no one who really occupied the area of a pure striker. There was no one capable of staying in that position and allowing danger with the movements of a true “9”.
Nevertheless, this could change in a few hours. Barça will seek to make official the signing of Memphis Depay, who could be the solution to this problem. Of course, it will be necessary to make a sacrifice by selling Ousmane Dembélé to have the necessary funds to sign the Dutch. I’m not sure if this move is convenient, but the reality is that Barça does not have a “9”, and that maybe that could be the fine line between being able to win titles or not.
5. Sergiño Dest debuted leaving us great signs
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Barcelona made official the signing of Sergiño Dest a couple of days ago after selling Nélson Semedo to Wolves. At 19 years old and with a lack of experience, it was somewhat risky for Koeman to make Dest debut as a starter against an opponent like Sevilla. Sergi Roberto was in charge of protecting the right side of the Blaugrana. Nonetheless, Sergiño was able to fulfill his dream of debuting in his beloved club in the second half, after an injury from Jordi Alba.
Dest came in in the 75th minute to replace Alba. Playing from the left side, the American enjoyed approximately 15 minutes of pure quality. He was really dangerous in attack and made a couple of good combinations from the left side with the intention of being able to win the game.