I had predicted three days ago that this match had a chance to be an exciting goal fest as the match proved to be, so at least my acumen counts for something despite how some would attribute it to luck or pure insanity.
Arthur slotted in the left side of the midfield with Rakitic on the opposite end and Busquets holding the pivote. Not much else was of note except that Coutinho slotted into Dembele’s position and in that respect we could have expected some sense of consistency,
Barça started off more aggressively than usual and buzzed about. The newcomer Lenglet, who after that unfortunate red card, enjoyed the size of the pitch by spraying some great vertical/diagonal balls to FBs.
Arthur who is young and full of stamina could deal with it as Rakitic was afforded more time and space to grow into the game considering his legs were probably very fatigued as of that point.
Now back to our youngest midfielder, let me make a bold prediction based on what I have seen so far, and it echoes much of what other people say- people who are much more qualified to talk about the game than I am.
Then Xavi won La Liga player of the year in 2005 and with the aid of Aragones’ coaching in the Spanish national team of 2007, he was groomed and primed for Pep to unleash and revolutionize the popular game.
As for players who are antithetical to the above dynamic, one needs to look no further than our RB (and WF) position:
The bad: Semedo is too quick when he has time and too slow when he doesn’t have time, dribbles when he should pass and passes when he should dribble- basically he needs to improve in space
When Rakitic covers for Messi on the right side, Messi doesn’t trust Semedo so in essence it becomes a 2 man attack on the right when it could be 3.
It's pretty evident when buying outside players. Some players just have it and have no problem settling in to the coach's frame while others who are fantastic individuals no doubt…
Also will go unnoticed is Valverde’s lineup selection and managing in game-including the subs. I felt he read the game very well.
Subs: Rafinha -> Coutinho (83”), Arthur -> Vidal (87”), Busi -> Verma (90”)
People get way too irate when a usually consistent performer like Rakitic has a lackluster performance, but it's crucial we maintain him in top shape. Not all CMs are vis a vis because they're called CMs. Vidal, Arthur, Raki, Busi, etc., are all different players
In general, an extremely well fought game. Both hot and cold phases from each side, from each player bar Messi, who deserved a 20/10 for his performance. Even with the post denying him twice, he scored enough to guarantee the win. He is not 19 anymore