Ronald Koeman’s altered Barcelona’s starting XI to suit the needs of every individual in the team. The shift from the 4-2-3-1 was desperately needed, and the 4-3-3, that has been historically known as Barça’s structure, brought in an air of freshness.
One player that benefitted the most from this change was Frenkie de Jong. Playing in an advanced role in the position of the right-sided central midfielder, the Dutchman conducts the game in full-swing, roving across the pitch from his own third to the opposition’s. Now there is official proof of his incredible performances, as well.
La Liga have nominated Frenkie de Jong among the seven players for the La Liga Player of the Month for January. Since the turn of the year, de Jong has scored two goals and given two assists from the midfield, playing as a box-to-box midfielder. Not only that, but he looks sharper than ever, stopping the opposition midfield in its tracks in each game.
Barcelona’s previous outing at Elche is the prime example of this. The 23-year-old put in a faultless display, single-handedly running the game from the centre of the park. He was awarded for the same in the form of one goal and an assist in the 2-0 win.
De Jong will have to battle it out against Real Betis’ Sergio Canales, Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, Villarreal’s Pau Torres, Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri, Levante’s Roger Marti Salvador, and none other than former Barcelona superstar, now at Atletico Madrid, Luis Suarez.
While de Jong has scored half as many goals as Suarez, and nearly one-fourth as many as En-Nesryi, his turn in form is extremely commendable. It has also put him in the same bracket as the best midfielders in the world.
Ansu Fati bagged the Liga Player of the Month for September, and you can vote for Frenkie de Jong here.
Official: Barcelona confirm Pedri muscular injury
All victories come with a cost and Barcelona’s great triumph over Sevilla is no exception. Sadly, the Catalans’ young prodigy, Pedri, had to leave the pitch in the second half of the clash and now, the club has officially confirmed that the 18-year-old had sustained a muscular injury.
As of right now, however, we still don’t know how serious it is and we’ll have to wait for further information, which is most likely to arrive tomorrow. Unfortunately, the early speculations are not good as it seems Pedri could indeed be out of commission for a couple of weeks at least.
Needless to say, that’s a huge hit for Barcelona since the schedule is unrelenting. Soon, it will be time to face Sevilla again in the Copa del Rey and also Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Doing so without Pedri could indeed be troublesome.
But we also have to wonder how did it come to this injury. The 18-year-old is a key member of the squad so it’s understandable Ronald Koeman would want him to play all the time.
However, that might be the very crux of the problem too. With so little rest in-between the games, it was just a matter of time before Pedri’s body could take no more.
Still, not all is lost and he should be back in time to help Barcelona finish the season strong. And besides, now the youngster can finally get some well-deserved rest.
Hopefully the team can manage without him for a short period of time.