Two talking points from Real Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona

Barcelona secured a 1-0 victory at the José Zorrilla Stadium yesterday evening. 

The Blaugrana took the lead early on and even though they failed to score more, they managed the game well.

Arturo Vidal’s fierce shot past former Barcelona stopper Jordi Masip was the difference on the day.

The win takes Barça to within a point of Real Madrid with two games to play, and the latter having a game in hand.

Here are the talking points from the victory.

Setien’s Tinkering

Setien Speaking to Barcelona Players, Real Valladolid CF vs FC Barcelona
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Quique Setien’s formation changed several times during the game as he experimented with various systems in-game.

Barça began the game in the 4-4-2 diamond which Setien had deployed in the previous three outings.

Messi played as a second striker in this set-up and linked up well with Arturo Vidal as he set up the Chilean to establish a Barcelona lead on 15 minutes.

At the start of the second half, Setien replaced Griezmann with Suarez and tweaked the set up into a 3-5-2. Sergi Roberto dropped into the backline to make it a three with Pique and Lenglet, allowing Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo to operate as Wing-backs.

The system was tweaked again in the 57th minute. Lenglet and Puig were taken off for Araujo and Rakitic.

Roberto the versatility specialist then moved wide left to play as the left midfielder in a flat 4-4-2. Arturo Vidal moved to right midfield allowing Rakitic and Busquets to hold in the center.

Setien’s final tweak came in the 74th minute. Junior Firpo came on for Sergio Busquets and Roberto moved yet again, into central midfield.

The constant switches in the game allowed Setien to experiment with different systems that could well be used in the near future.

Messi’s 20/20 vision

Leo Messi, Barcelona
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Messi set up Vidal to score the winner with what proved to be a joint-record 20th league assist this season.

Leo Messi has now equaled Xavi’s record set in the 08/09 season. He has two more games left and might well go on to set a new record.

The assist also means Leo Messi is the first player since Thierry Henry in the 02/03 season to score 20+ goals and provide 20+ assists in a single top-five European league season.

Fitting that Messi’s 20/20 milestone arrives in 2020 as the little magic man continues to leave his indelible mark on football.

 

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