This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
The new 2019/20 La Liga season saw some changes to the usual Barcelona roster. Some players who were regular starters the season before have so far been given fewer minutes as Ernesto Valverde is still experimenting with the team’s shape. But if the latest performance was any indication, the Ant absolutely has to find a spot for Arthur Melo in the starting lineup.
It’s safe to say that there have been some changes in Barcelona’s lineup at the start of the new campaign. For instance, the likes of Ivan Rakitić and Sergio Busquets have had as much game time as was expected based on their minutes last season.
Valverde has also decided to slot Sergi Roberto into midfield and the arrival of Frenkie de Jong has also taken up a spot in the middle of the pitch, making the decision of who should play in the starting lineup all that much more difficult.
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This also had an effect on Melo, who had to wait for his 2019/20 debut until the third match of the new season. But as soon as he stepped on that pitch against Osasuna, he reminded everyone how important he can be for this team.
The 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder had one hectic summer, to say the least. After a real turmoil of a season with Barcelona, he played in this year’s iteration of Copa America, which Brazil won. For that reason, Melo was given a somewhat longer holiday than most and that most likely also played a role in Valverde waiting until the third game to finally give him his debut in the new season.
But as soon as he did, the Brazilian lit up the pitch, scoring one goal in the process and also registering two key passes and one through ball. It’s safe to say that he made an immediate impact in the 37 minutes he was on the pitch.
His overall passing was sublime too. He registered 92.3% passing accuracy and was everywhere on the pitch, advancing forward when needed, which was evident in that brilliant goal, but also dropping deeper to organise the midfield.
This will, no doubt, give Valverde a bigger selection headache with all the options he has available but it is also one of the sweeter sufferings a coach can go through.
Let’s see how he solves it.