1. Awful Arda is the Odd Man Out
Arda Turan arrived to much fanfare at the beginning of last season for an eye watering sum of 34 million euros (rising to 41 million euros). He was supposed to be the man to take Barcelona’s midfield to the next level a la Ivan Rakitic who had arrived the year before and quickly become a fan favorite with his hard work and rocket shot from outside the box. Instead, following 4 month wait while Barcelona’s transfer ban expired Arda was pretty disappointing last season. He ended the season as a substitute and following a woeful performance at the European Championships he was not given any additional time off by coach Luis Enrique who cracked the whip trying to get him back into his best form. He started brightly enough with a stunning strike however since then he has been turnover prone and out of step with the rest of the team. His poor back pass led to the opening goal today and in general nothing went his way. With Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Andre Gomes, Rafinha, Denis Suarez, Sergi Roberto and Sergi Samper fighting for the two central midfield spots and the likes of Wilfried Kaptoum and Carles Alena waiting patiently in the wings, Arda Turan is the odd man out. He has already been linked with several moves away and following his performances this preseason its hard to argue against letting him go.
2. Barcelona Need to Replace Dani Alves
Last summer Barcelona signed Aleix Vidal with the intention of having a ready made replacement for Dani Alves when he eventually left the Camp Nou. Unfortunately he never really settled into the role under Luis Enrique and found himself outside of the squad on many occasions. At the start of this season he admitted he may not have been giving his all in training leaving the coach upset with the effort he was putting in. Fast forward to the new preseason and he has not at all looked confident in the right back position. He has shown a lot going forward, but the defensive side of his game is bad. Many times during this game he was caught out of position or disposed up-field leaving his teammates a man short at the back trying to make for his absence. The Barcelona board have declared that they are attempting to sign a backup striker as the final piece to the puzzle and are not interested in a right back but from the evidence of this game there is a desperate need to get an actual defender in at right back as opposed to converted wingers and midfielders.
3. Who will be Barcelona’s Henrik Larsson
One of the questions coming out of this game was who can be the player that can come off the bench and change a game for Barcelona. Get a goal or unlock a defence to turn around a game. Nobody seemed capable in this game and it is a question that will need to be answered moving forward. Denis Suarez may be capable of filling that role this season or the new striker that they board are hoping to sign could be the one, or Rafinha may take another step forward and be able to fill it. What is for certain was that at halftime trailing 1-0 there did not seem to be much on the bench able to make that difference.