BarcelonaBarça are already in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey after an exhibition by Ousmane Dembélé seasoned with an expulsion at Real Sociedad, who played the entire second half with 10 men. Next, some hot notes.
Flying Dembele. The line-up for Xavi’s big chances is with four midfielders, a clear offensive reference and a wide open wing on the right. The idea, seen at the Metropolitano, in the Super Cup final and this Wednesday with Real, is already consolidated. And, even if it upsets hundreds of fans (and also Mateu Alemany), it is with Dembélé and not with Raphinha or Ferran Torres, who have added more than 100 million to the coffers of a ruined club. The ticket to the semi-finals of the Cup must be aimed at the Norman attacker, who flew to drive the Basque defense crazy. Diego Rico crunched first and, when Imanol changed him, Aihen later. In this mode it is unstoppable. The pity is that it happens so little.
You couldn’t know. Gil Manzano, who was booed by the Camp Nou crowd, has an easy time with red cards. Lewandowski knows enough, punished with three league games for having seen one from the referee from Extremadura, who in his reunion with the Pole lived up to his fame in the 39th minute. from Brais to Busquets ended the talented Galician interior in the shower early. And deservedly so, everything must be said. However, it is also fair to take into account that Manzano acted this way at the behest of the VAR. First he left it in a yellow. At first glance, as always, his judgment was dubious. Either way, the decision marked the night.
An alternate with gold letters. Returning to the eleven of the great occasions, it is worth saying that Jordi Alba is not only not part of it, but does not even appear in the second parts to oxygenate the left wing. The World Cup has passed, an appointment that the Hospitalet winger wanted to play whether he wanted to or not, and Xavi has recovered a clear substitute regime with one of the sacred cows that has attracted the most criticism in recent years. A footballer who adds a lot in attack, yes, but who suffers in defense even against Intercity. Balde is firmly in the lineup, Alba is a luxury reserve and Marcos Alonso, if he plays, does so mainly as a center back. Deunidó with the management of the left side. Who would have thought about a year ago…
The goalkeeper of the Cup. Agreed: Ter Stegen is at a stratospheric level (two saves at the end) and is currently one of the most decisive footballers in the Barça squad. Without going any further, in the last official match against Real Sociedad, the German had already avoided two goals from Donostia. But good collective management must make the role of goalkeepers very clear in each competition. Even if the pressure to win titles is very high and Ter Stegen offers more guarantees than Iñaki Peña, the Alicante only plays in the Cup and should remain so regardless of the opponent’s organization. It’s his competition and Xavi should respect it.