Little by little, Riqui Puig has been earning prominence in the mind of Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman as noted by Diario Sport. The Catalan has played in seven of Barcelona’s last eight games, performing in a manner that’s satisfied the Dutchman. With rotations expected in the coming weeks, his importance in the team could be set to grow.
For his growing minutes, Riqui Puig is yet to start in La Liga, but Sunday’s clash at Real Betis could be the moment he takes his place in the starting XI. The midfield trident of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri is in good shape, but given the Copa del Rey semi-final against Sevilla is coming next Wednesday one of them may be given respite to keep them fresh.
The calendar is loaded and the games are of real importance. Koeman must be careful in managing the amount his players are asked to do, especially given the injury relapse of Sergi Roberto. Riqui Puig and Miralem Pjanic are the only alternatives in the middle of the park. Pjanic started against Athletic Bilbao last weekend but still looks uncomfortable in blaugrana.
A possible switch Koeman could take would see De Jong drop back as the sole pivot with Pedri and Riqui Puig sitting either side, or he could give Pedri a break and start Pjanic at the base of midfield. De Jong is expected to start regardless given his physical condition and form is on point. The last time Riqui Puig started for Barcelona in La Liga was at Alaves on the final day of last season, where he contributed two assists.