How Barcelona’s switch to a back three freed Dest and Alba down each flank

Barcelona travelled to Real Valladolid intent on getting back to winning ways after dropping two points to Valencia this past weekend.

The Blaugrana sat sixth after being leap-frogged by Sevilla earlier in the evening and were hoping to regain fifth spot courtesy of a strong away performance and three points.

Ronald Koeman started with a new shape, with three centre-backs named in the starting XI in Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet.

It worked, as explained by Mundo Deportivo. Playing with three at the back freed Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba to break down either wing and offer width to an otherwise narrow attack.

Against Valencia, for example, Dest participated less than half as many times as Alba. The former touched the ball 64 times compared to the latter’s 136, while at Valladolid the split was 60 to 63 respectively.

Dest completed an impressive six crosses, more than any other Barcelona player.

The United States international also completed 37 passes and created five scoring chances, recovering six balls.

Alba completed 42 passes and two crosses into the area, recovering seven balls and making three interceptions.

Barcelona took the lead inside the first half-hour, opening the scoring in the 22nd minute through centre-back Lenglet. Lionel Messi dropped a perfect ball into the area for him to meet with his head and send the Blaugrana one up.

Messi was again pivotal for their second goal. This time he played a cute ball to create space for Dest down the right flank, who centred for Martin Braithwaite to finish smartly.

The Argentine was rewarded with a goal of his own as the game entered its final stages. Pedri, who’s exhibited a remarkable connection with Messi in his performances this season, played through his captain clean inside the area.

Messi then arrowed a lethal finish past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net, breaking Pele‘s record of the most goals scored for a single club. Messi has now scored 644 for Barcelona.

Tags Barcelona Jordi Alba La Liga Real Valladolid Sergino Dest