Wednesday, January 19

The Supercopa made everyone’s position clear: Ansu, Pedri, Frenkie, Dest…

Barcelona showed quality in defeat on Wednesday evening in Saudi Arabia. They didn’t have enough to beat Real Madrid, but they had more than enough to really compete with the LaLiga Santander leaders.

Supercopa de España 2022: Resumen y goles del Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

Xavi Hernandez‘s Catalans were always a step behind Real Madrid, but they looked a closer match than the 17 points separating them in LaLiga Santander would suggest.

The coach made a lot of big calls on the night, and his decisions made the the positions of a number of his players clear.

Those on the up

Pedri and Ansu Fati shone brighter than anybody else. Both returned after prolonged spells out, but you wouldn’t have been able to spot any rustiness with either. The Canary Islander was spectacular after his introduction, and Ansu was among the goals.

The unexpected goalscorer

Luuk de Jong is proving to be a useful weapon for Xavi. He looked certain to leave when the winter window opened and Cadiz were ready to welcome him, but he’s scored important goals this month. Now his future is a mystery, but he’ll stay at Barcelona for the rest of the season and he has a part to play.

Falling out of favour

Memphis Depay is a victim of Ronald Koeman’s sacking. He came on late on Wednesday and did close to nothing. He has lost his place in the XI and that’s a significant sign of what Xavi’s impression of the Dutchman is. Now, he’s being linked with Juventus.

Frenkie de Jong is also in a worrying situation. Pedri replaced him at the break, though it’s true he had some slight discomfort. It wasn’t just one off night for him, though, and he’s been out of form for a while.

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On the way out

Then there are those with no place in Xavi’s plans, namely Samuel Umtiti and Sergino Dest. The Frenchman has extended his contract so that Ferran Torres could be registered, but the club want rid of him, and Xavi doesn’t have any plans to use Dest despite his reluctance to leave the club. Riqui Puig also failed to play a minute.

A special case

Ousmane Dembele‘s situation remains bizarre. He shows flashes, but still makes costly mistakes. He’ll either renew or leave, but now neither looks closer than the other.

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