Ronald Koeman is considering reverting to a 4-3-3 system for this weekend’s Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao according to Diario Sport. The Dutchman has been considering the option all week, and while there’s still been no firm decision taken, the feeling from inside the club is that it’s highly possible Barcelona could abandon the three-at-the-back system they’ve been using recently.
Barcelona started with a 3-5-2 in El Clasico, but switched to 4-3-3 after being overran by Real Madrid, improving. The three-at-the-back system has served Barcelona well in recent times, but the feeling is that teams are now preparing to play Barcelona in the knowledge they’re going to line up with it, and it’s discredited its value. It’s also changed the role of Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, forcing them to play more defensive positions and limiting their ability to break into the final third and exhibit creativity.
Competing with teams that close the lines like Madrid did make it difficult to have just Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi in the final third, as Barcelona lack presence and the ability to occupy space. This could mean Antoine Griezmann returns to the starting lineup, on the left wing. Barcelona have faced Athletic, who play with a back four, three times this season, winning both league games but losing the final of the Supercopa del Espana.