To each demanding party, when the team has been required for a transcendent appointment, few as the second leg of the quarterfinals against Sevilla, Ernesto Valverde has responded with the same alignment or a type team: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Coutinho, Luis Suárez and Messi. The only variations in the dates against Madrid in LaLiga or in the Champions League against Tottenham and Inter, also regarding the Cup against Sevilla, have been the goalkeeper -Cillessen lines up in the KO tournament-, the right-back – sometimes Sergi Roberto has played and sometimes Semedo- and the third forward: Coutinho or Dembélé.
So the last Cup match has served to certify that the coach has a eleven titular, susceptible to be qualified depending on the circumstances and the rival, and affecting one player per line: Semedo is more defensive than Sergi Roberto, Arturo Vidal is good for the team at times when energy is needed, and Dembélé and Coutinho will compete on an equal footing with the accompanying Messi and Luis Suárez. The coach does not seem willing to take sides but has alternated to both depending on their physical situation: he has bet on the continuity of the Brazilian in the absence of the French in the same way that when discussing his rebelliousness gave continuity to Dembélé.
Valverde likes to talk more about match situations and contexts than a validated formation to face any competition from the maximum that the titles do not depend on 11 players but on the template and its rotations, evident in tournaments such as LaLiga and in the first leg of the Cup.
Still absent Umititi, Lenglet and Arthur have established themselves as pillars of the Barça. Very rigorous, the French gives defensive stability and balance to the team while the Brazilian marks a very defined style since the time of Xavi. Accused of harmlessness and pegapases, Arthur knew how to be vertical and deep against Sevilla. The goal of Rakitic He redeemed the Brazilian to the same extent that Cillessen claimed responsibility before Banega. The Dutch goal, replaced by Van Gaal in the penalty shootout of the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, had not been able to stop any of the 25 penalties thrown since its official premiere at the NEC Nimega. On Wednesday he neutralized Banega's maximum penalty and shot Barça towards the semifinals of the Cup.
Cillessen sum, both for the coach and for the president-announces his transfer in summer to the club that pays the 60 million worth its clause of rescission, as well as Semedo, Vidal, Coutinho and Dembélé. Once the team is designed, Valverde does not want to lose any of the players in the squad, very diligent in the management of the group, respectful of the hierarchies and also willing to facilitate the departure of those who do not participate in the dynamics or demand more prominence, if necessary. Munir (Sevilla) or Denis Suárez (Arsenal).
The sense of justice of the coach is expressed in matches like the one on Wednesday in which the 14 usual players participated in the calls, in addition to Ter Stegen, the starter in LaLiga and the Champions. Neither Murillo nor Boateng, signings of winter and holders in Nervión, they played a minute in the return because their assignment consists of rest to Piqué or Lenglet in defense, and in attack to Luis Suárez. The staff appreciates Valverde's way of being and doing and the coach is pleased with the team because he has always been competitive and has responded to his requests, even in October when Messi was injured. Routine on a daily basis, Barça has been extraordinary on special occasions, when it has shown its competitiveness, freshness and brilliance, expressed in plays like 5-1 and 6-1.
Todibo arrives; Denis leaves
There is no challenge at the moment to resist the team waiting for major challenges such as the semifinals of the Cup, the clashes of the League with Valencia and Athletic and the knockout stages of the Champions League against Lyon. The desire and the ambition to the letter work at the moment like motor of the Barça in their aspirations to reach titles before gained and nevertheless longed for like the Champions.
Denis closed on Thursday its assignment to Arsenal for a million and a half, while saving a purchase option for 20-25 million. It is not the only movement in the sports area – which has already signed Boateng and Murillo – these days, since it has already closed the signing of Todibo, central Toulouse (theoretically arrived in June), which will be presented on Friday; and also agreed to share with Betis the signing of Emerson (six million will pay each club), Atlético Mineiro, who will play at Benito Villamarín, although Barça secures a purchase option for two campaigns worth nine million.