Please Share This:
Barcelona is having their worst start to a season in many years as Ronald Koeman is experiencing a very rough patch. It was never going to be easy taking over Barcelona after a humiliating 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich. Credit has to be given to Koeman for having the courage to take over the club despite the consistent issues it was facing.
However, Koeman has made some mistakes since he took over as coach and these are some of the reasons why Barcelona is currently 9th in La Liga. They also surrendered the top spot to Juventus in the Champions League group stages despite having a comfortable advantage over the Italian Club.
Here are some of the changes Ronald Koeman needs to do to have a turnaround
1. Change the 4-2-3-1 formation
From the first match Ronald Koeman coached at Barcelona, he made it clear that he was going to stick to his plan of playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation. While it was a statement of intent from the Dutch coach, it is time we agree that the formation is not working.
Koeman usually uses Sergio Busquets and Frenkie De Jong in the double pivot role and this had led to serious gaps in the middle of the pitch. Often time the opponent finds it easy to have a transition defense to attack and this is largely due to the formation.
Having two men in midfield means that they must be very dominant in attacking, defending, and holding the ball, qualities that Sergio Busquets either doesn’t have or losing due to the age factor. It also means there must be extreme tactical discipline as everyone has to know his role in the team.
The nature of Lionel Messi’s football means he has to roam around to detect spaces but the formation has not helped because it means Messi has to drop too deep as a result of the lack of enough personnel in the middle of the pitch.
The midfield is and has always been an important piece to the philosophy of Barcelona and having Messi drop back too deep already creates a tactical imbalance. Often this season, we have seen Messi almost playing as the defensive midfielder.
2. Get Riqui Puig a place in the starting eleven
It is absurd that the past coaches of Barcelona have not been able to take proper advantage of the talent of Riqui Puig. Riqui Puig gives the team a breath of fresh air as he is very brilliant at playing in tight spaces.
The match Barcelona lost 3-0 against Juventus recently is an example of this. He came on in the 66th minute and completed 37 passes. He also created two chances and recovered 6 balls despite coming in as a substitute.
Riqui Puig oozes talent, his passion for the club is second to none and the fact that he has not been given a starting eleven despite always impressing remains a mystery.
3. Give consistency to the youth players
Ronald Koeman must look past immediate glory and give more minutes to the youngsters. Against Ferencvaros and Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, where Koeman gave minutes to young players like Puig, Alena, Dest, and Mingueza, Barcelona played some of the best football this season. If not for woeful finishing, the matches could have had a larger scoreline in favor of Barcelona.
If using the youth works, then he should give them more minutes to grow or even make them a constant piece of his starting eleven. It is abysmal how Koeman was using Sergi Roberto ahead of Sergio Dest in the right-back spot this season. Players like Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique should also be given a subdued role as it is clear they cannot meet the demands of modern fast-flowing football.