After losing against Real Madrid, Ronald Koeman has yet another tough fixture to his rough start in Catalunya. In the second Champions League game of his tenure, Koeman faces Juventus in what seems like a battle of two struggling coaches. On the one hand, Andrea Pirlo is winless in his last three league games as Koeman is.
Moreover, Pirlo is missing three centre-backs, with Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt out for the Wednesday clash. Still, Koeman isn’t any luckier since Gerard Piqué is out because of the red card he got against Ferencvaros. Without the “President” in defence, the Dutchman will have to compose with Ronald Araujo and Clément Lenglet. The pair are two brilliant centre-backs who haven’t played alongside each other much, however.
This fixture is the hardest in the group for the Catalans as they face the toughest opponent away from home, a recurrent problem for the Culés in European competitions. Also, if something happens to Araujo or Lenglet, the backup defender is Oscar Mingueza. The youngster was included along with four other Barça B players in the UCL squad. This test will be interesting to see, and Koeman has to win his first big game with Barcelona.
Barça midfielder Aleña speaks following his first start in nearly a year
Carles Aleña started his first game for Barça in nearly a year. His last start for his boyhood club came in December 2019 against Inter Milan, and Ronald Koeman selected him against Dynamo Kyiv after injuries decimated his squad. After his impressive display, Aleña spoke to the media.
“I’m very happy to return to the field. We played a great game and we took advantage of our chances.”Carles Aleña | Post-match press conference
Aleña ended his ordeal with a near-Man of the Match performance away to the Ukrainians. The Spanish youngster was his team’s metronome and misplaced one solitary pass. His pass map is a joy to behold and the midfielder deserves a lot of recognition for that display.
📸 — Aleñá’s pass map against Kyiv tonight.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) November 24, 2020
Not a back-passer at all. pic.twitter.com/Ah5QrsgW3N
At the beginning of the year, Ronald Koeman did not fancy Aleña at all. He and Riqui Puig were ostracised, but the two of them showed a lot of resilience against Kyiv. Hopefully, their coach opens his eyes.
“Playing with the first team requires a lot of hard work.”Carles Aleña | Post-match press conference
We will have to wait and see whether Koeman is on the same page with the fans regarding Aleña’s performance. One thing is clear: the 22-year-old can play a crucial role in the team if used correctly.