Barcelona’s third La Liga game took them away from home and into the jaws of Osasuna. After a thrilling 2-2 contest, both teams shared the spoils but the outcome could’ve been far worse had Ernesto Valverde not introduced a crucial substitution in the second half.
Pamplona, the home of Osasuna, is really a tough place to visit and Barcelona surely felt it on their skin last Saturday. The Catalans seemed somewhat outgunned and without any real solutions throughout the entirety of the first half of the game. As a result, they were 1-0 down when the referee blew his whistle at half time.
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Osasuna had more shots, more corners, more key passes and, for 45 minutes, looked far more comfortable than their Catalan counterparts. And the roars of the crowd only fuelled them even more. But luckily for Barcelona, Valverde noticed the issue so he reacted accordingly. In the 53rd minute, on came Arthur Melo and the game suddenly swung into Blaugrana’s favour.
As soon as the Brazilian entered the pitch, he reminded everyone how integral he is to the footballing machine from Catalonia.
Arthur was simply the best man on the pitch for Barcelona.
Sure, the young Ansu Fati took the spotlight with his record-breaking goal that equalised the game for the Catalans, but it was the Brazilian who completely changed the dynamic and even propelled them into the lead.
Arthur recorded 92.3% passing accuracy, played two key passes, completed four passes and rattled the net with his only shot on goal. He was all over the pitch, influencing the tempo and leading Barcelona along the way.
Osasuna managed to come back and secure a point at their home ground, which meant that Barcelona still have only four after three games played. But there were positives to be extracted from that match and Arthur is certainly one of those.
Props also have to be given to Valverde for his decision to swap Rafinha with Arthur in the 53rd minute as it completely changed the game.
It still remains to be seen, however, whether that performance will push the Brazilian into the starting lineup, but if the early signs are any indication this one should be a no-brainer.