“In the first half they were better than us and we were not good because the pressed us in certain areas and our rhythm was slow, we didn’t reach their goal,” said Ernesto Valverde after the cup Clasico which Barca won 3-0 on Wednesday.
The coach was conscious that the team had played within themselves, especially in the first half.
That is why it seems Arthur Melo may return to the line up after coming back from injury as a sub in the first game.
If the coach wants to take the initiative back then Arthur’s presence and passing in midfield seems imperative. He can’t be 100 per cent and of course Carles Alena and Arturo Vidal are waiting on the bench – but the former Gremio man is crucial for control.
Sergi Roberto could return to right-back if that happened and Semedo would be sacrificed. The Portuguese suffered against Vinicius and that could be a formula to stop him.
Rakitic would be the right interior midfielder and tasked with helping out on that front too.
The general feeling is that Barcelona lacked initiative and more in attack, and Arthur can give that, always offering himself to help bring the ball out.
When Messi comes deeper he will find a perfect team-mate in Arthur to work with.