Jandro Orellana, an architect by nature, has had an instant impact in his first full year at Barça B and a future role in the first team should be non-negotiable.
Distances are everything. Imagine if we didn’t have to spend time on travelling long distances. Like in life, in football distances are equally fundamental. It’s not the same being 10 metres away from goal, than 70 metres away from goal. It’s not the same being close to the touchline, than being at the centre of the pitch. It’s not the same being pressed by three rivals, than being unmarked. Therefore, we can conclude that distances play a big part in football. It is safe to say, thus, that who dominates distances is closer to dominating football.
Jando Orellana is a master of positioning and, also, of distances. Born in 2000, he’s one year younger than the likes of Riqui Puig, Álex Collado and Monchu, but understands each of them to perfection. While he won the Youth League as a starter with them in 2018, the serious injury he had suffered that season saw him stay at the Juvenil A for the 18/19 campaign as most of his teammates were promoted to Barça B. Last campaign was a very satisfactory and nurturing one for Jandro at an individual level. Captain and metronome, he abandoned his usual holding midfield role to act slightly more advanced, as an interior or central midfielder. This helped him understand the forward spaces better, making arrivals into the box more often and having a greater impact in the final third. He did take the penalties and set pieces, but managed to be the Juvenil A’s third top goalscorer with 7 goals plus 7 assists.
With Oriol Busquets leaving on loan to Twente, Orellana was finally promoted permanently to Barça B at the start of this season. Despite not being completely similar, the change from Oriol to Jandro has been almost seamless in terms of level. The 19-year-old has returned to the pivot role, and from there he has been one of the B players who have had a greatest indirect influence in the side. Even if García Pimienta started alternating Ludovit Reis, Sarsanedas and Jandro, it was a matter of time till the younger of them imposed himself in the starting line-ups.
This has had some big consequences. First, for Orellana’s obvious quality and expertise. However, he has also indirectly enhanced the virtues of several of his colleagues. With the former Gavà boy taking up the defensive midfield role, Monchu has left that position and has occupied the central midfield alongside Riqui Puig. This has led to the exploitation of one of Monchu’s greatest strengths, which is his surprise appearances into the opposing box. Monchu has been Barça B’s top scorer this term, with 8 goals.
From leader of the Juvenil A, to metronome of Barça B | Photo by Imago
Jandro Orellana’s profile is tailormade for the first team. On and off the ball, he has some concepts very internalised to always favour the ball circulation. Continuously searching for superiorities, when taking the ball out from the back he can drop between the two centre-backs (1), move to one side of the two centre-backs (2), or wait behind the first line of pressure (3). He detects when he needs to apply each situation, as he’s very intelligent at offering passing lanes and advantages in build-ups. Him and left-footed defender Jorge Cuenca are two extraordinary passers and initiators of Barça B’s attacks.
The mentioned dominance of the spaces and distances helps Jandro in his positioning, as well as in his distribution. In terms of passing technique, he’s close to flawless. But, apart from that, he knows which teammate he needs to find and which zones to activate. He can play short intricate passes, or distribute through pinpoint long balls. His vision and execution are excellent. He prioritises giving fluidity and speed to the ball circulation, and for that it’s critical having the proper body orientation before receiving a pass. His perfect body shape at all times allows him to make only one touch when most players would take at least two. Quick and simple, without forgetting that playing simple football is the hardest thing there is – as Johan would say.
His tactical game is extremely mature and accurate for his only 19 years of age. In the attacking phase, and also in defence. When Barcelona lose the ball, he’s very active to anticipate and obstruct any attempt to counter-attack from the opponents. He pushes the lines higher and makes the pressing far more effective. Possibly the defensive duels are his main weakness, but he has been improving this aspect with the passing of months. Facing veteran strikers in the Second Division B has helped him evolve in this sense.
While Oriol must not be forgotten, the quality, smartness, positional sense and pure Barça DNA of Jandro Orellana should make him Sergio Busquets’ long-term replacement. Maybe it would be too early to directly promote him to the first team this summer. Or maybe not. Still, an extra year at Barça B under Pimienta will do him no harm, yet it’s undeniable that the club must look to protect yet another midfield gem from La Masía. An organiser and architect, Jandro Orellana’s future should only lie at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona B vs Valladolid Promesas: Match preview – First step towards promotion
Everything you need to know ahead of the match between Barcelona B and Valladolid Promeses at Malaga
As Barcelona B face Valladolid Promesas at Estadi Ciudad de Malaga, we take a look at the very crucial match-up in this match preview.
Date and kick-off time: Sunday 19 July 2020, 20:00 CET
Stadium: Estadio Ciudad de Málaga
Competition: Segunda División B play-offs for promotion to Segunda, first round
For a team like Barcelona, for whom youth development is one of the core philosophies, the Barcelona B team’s results are highly important as well. After getting relegated to Segunda B, Barcelona B started another quest to get promotion to the Segunda division. After a hard-fought season at Segunda B, the B team under the superb guidance of García Pimienta, has reached the playoffs. These playoffs are the stepping stones towards the Segunda. This is a very important match for the Blaugrana youngsters as they face Valladolid’s B team, the Valladolid Promesas and in this preview, we’ll take a look at this match-up.
Due to the unfortunate pandemic this year, the playoffs have had a few changes made to them. The qualifying criteria are still the same. The top four teams of each B league are drawn into the playoffs. From here, the usual final between the two winners to decide the overall Segunda B winners was removed. Instead, the losing semi-finalists will enter the play-off round for the remaining two promotion spots.
The four group runners-up will be drawn against one of the three fourth-placed teams outside their group. Whereas the four third-placed teams will be drawn against each other in a single game matchup. The six winners will advance along with the two losing semi-finalists to determine the four teams that play for the last two promotion spots.
Basically, the Barcelona B team will need to do their best in the next three rounds to gain promotion.
For Barcelona B, this match-up has gotten tougher than expected. Firstly, Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig and Ronald Araújo won’t be allowed to play in the playoffs. Barcelona coach Quique Setién clarified this in a recent press conference.
Barça B will have many key absences in the playoffs | Photo by Aflosport via Imago
The fact that some of the strongest players that Barcelona B had throughout the season along with Ansu Fati, who made the jump to the first team from Juvenil A, won’t be present to help them win promotion is a major setback. Along with this, Álex Collado won’t be able to play as he recently suffered an injury. For Valladoid, this is a major advantage. The reason for their absence was specified so as to not avoid any complications in the Champions League.
“I would have liked the circumstances to be different, I’m sorry but it will not be possible for them to play with the B team”
Players such as Kike Saverio, Guillem Jaime, Chumi, and Hiroki Abe who were important parts of the team won’t be able to play as well due to their contracts not being renewed. This should mean that we see a lot of Juvenil A players get a chance to play. Especially since 9 of them have been announced in the squad.
The silver lining
Many people are of the opinion that since getting promotion to Segunda would mean that our La Masía players get more playtime at a better level next season. This is a very valid argument. The fact that Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig, and Ronald Araújo have still been restricted from going for the play-offs is quite controversial. But there is a silver lining.
With their absence and the many expired contracts, we see that 9 Juvenil A keepers have been called up. These players will get an opportunity to play for the B team in an important match, which will definitely help them as they rarely get to play at a match this important. Players such as Monchu, Ilaix, Jandro will get to prove that they are capable of filling up the massive personalities that Puig and Collado provided. It’s a good chance for them to display their abilities. For players like Konrad, Peque, Nico it’s a good chance to show that regardless of the result, the B team will be in safe hands next season.
And if they do get promoted, it would be a major boost for all the La Masia graduates looking at their seniors and looking up at the players who made it into the first team from La Masia. The players at Barcelona B would next season have an excellent opportunity to develop in the Segunda against the more experienced teams.
Winning this match would of course be an achievement for Pimienta. But if he were to win the playoffs in such difficult circumstances, Pimienta’s status as an excellent manager and a youth-development expert would only be solidified even more. This should make him a real contender, and not a plan B, in case Setien has to leave Barcelona in the near future. Pimienta definitely deserves it and this would be a great opportunity for him to show that he is ready.
Barcelona B face a very challenging match-up now. It certainly is a daunting challenge. Even though they don’t have the services of many of their players, they still have their greatest weapon in Garcia Pimienta. He is more capable than almost anyone to lead this group of youngsters with whom he has worked closely for such a long time.
Pimi, along with his players are a capable team. This match however, is much more than just a win-lose moment. Winning this match would signify that another generation of promising players such as Alena, Puig, Miranda, Oriol is coming through. Not only this, but it would provide the juniors, especially the Juvenil A and Juvenil B with hope that there is a way to get close to the first team and that the Barcelona B team is still a capable force that they should strive towards aiming for. The match against Valladolid Promeses is important not just for Barcelona B but for La Masia itself.