La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Barcelona are facing an uncertain season after losing their resident superstar, Lionel Messi, to Paris Saint-Germain. Incredibly, this is the first campaign that the club will start without the legendary Argentine since 2003, meaning it is time for boss Ronald Koeman to step up and earn his money.
Thankfully for Koeman, he kicked off the campaign with an impressive 4-2 win over Real Sociedad last weekend.
With the likes of David Silva, Alexander Isak and Mikel Oyarzabal within their ranks, Sociedad are no slouches, and Barca did well to stave off a wave of late pressure and see out the victory.
Ambitions for the season are still likely to be kept on a short leash for the time being after Messi’s tearful farewell from the Camp Nou.
Like a jealous ex-partner, Barca must watch on as the 34-year-old forms part of a timeless front three including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at the Parc des Princes.
JUST IN: Robert Lewandowski ‘wants to leave Bayern’ in Man City and Tottenham transfer twist
Still, according to Marca, Koeman has a six-point plan to ensure that the Catalan club can enjoy success of their own in the meantime.
First and foremost, pressing is going to be a key characteristic under the Dutchman, with tireless energy shown high up the pitch against Sociedad.
Everyone must chip in with closing down, calling time on the days when the supremely gifted within their squad were allowed to conserve their energy until they had the ball at their feet.
Another key element is for the squad as a whole to share the goalscoring burden which was previously carried by Messi.
Harry Kane’s camp ‘not ruling out new Tottenham contract’ amid Man City transfer saga
Man Utd board ‘put three players up for sale’ as fourth summer signing identified
Barcelona ‘offer Philippe Coutinho’ to Arsenal in swap deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Unlikely stars will be required to emerge from the smoke, much like Martin Braithwaite did against Sociedad when he registered two goals and an assist to get his season off to a flyer.
A method to share the goals burden, and another point in Koeman’s plan, is to work on the revival of sleeping giants within their squad.
The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann have been performing well below their best, and Barca need them to stand up and be counted.
Youngsters have always been a core part of Barca’s philosophy thanks to their famed La Masia academy, and Koeman is likely to call on a number of them this campaign.
Teenager Ansu Fati was nothing short of a sensation until a knee injury side-lined him for nine months, while Riqui Puig and Pedri have both also been tipped for big futures.
A successful team cannot just be built on the ability to fly forward, however, which is why defensive solidity also forms part of Koeman’s plan for the season.
Defenders Emerson Royal and Eric Garcia have both been brought in despite their extremely tight budget, highlighting a weak point which the Dutchman clearly sees in his squad.
Finally, without the raw talent to be predictable but unbeatable every week as in years gone by, Koeman is going to have to instil an adaptability into his side.
The team have been experimental in pre-season, using a number of different formations, a trait which we can expect to see for the remainder of the campaign.
Source: Read Full Article