This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Barcelona are returning to action this Saturday and they will be travelling to the difficult ground of Ipurua.
Eibar are a tough nut to crack and for that reason, Frenkie de Jong’s battle with Fabian Orellana just might be key for either side.
Even though they currently sit in 14th place, Eibar will definitely not roll over and let the Blaugrana snatch all three points effortlessly.
Granted, they couldn’t tally a single win in their opening five games, losing three and drawing two in the process, but the small Basque team have been rising in form quite steadily.
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After a rocky start, they have now tallied two wins and a draw in their last three clashes, including victories over big teams like Sevilla and Real Betis.
One of their best performers so far in the ongoing season has been Orellana himself and the attacking midfielder will be looking to cause the Catalans some trouble.
This is where De Jong comes into play.
The 22-year-old Dutchman has definitely been one of the stand out players in the Blaugrana squad as well.
Currently, he ranks fourth in Whoscored’s rating system for the whole team and his presence is almost always felt on the pitch. But Orellana is much the same, despite Eibar’s collective troubles so far in 2019/20.
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By all accounts, he is definitely an integral part of the team.
Having said that, Orellana also tallied 1.9 shots, 1.4 key passes and 1.5 dribbles per game. Clearly, his contribution is palpable despite his numbers not always telling the right story. But De Jong has been impressive himself as well.
Of course, with only one goal and one assist so far in the season, the young Dutchman is hardly the player to give you the final product on a silver plate.
But he does so much more than just that, and the numbers prove it. His strengths lie in his passing as he maintained 92.9% passing accuracy, 58.4 average passes and one key pass per game.
His dribbling is also one of his stand out skills with 2.3 per game but he’s also a much safer player than Orellana, having recorded 0.9 dispossessions and 1.1 unsuccessful touches per game compared to the 33-year-old’s 3.4 and 1.8 respectively.
Clearly, seeing how Orellana has an eye for goal and De Jong likes to control the proceedings on the pitch, the one who manages to assert dominance might just mark the whole game.
Let’s wait and see who performs better.