Griezmann, who arrives after recovering from an injury, would be the sacrificed

Barça has asked him to join immediately if not a file will be opened.

Arthur, hurt with Setién, wants to terminate the contract now

Barça-Arthur, a mess that was seen coming

Arthur’s absence is considered serious according to the LaLiga-AFE agreement

The mess was coming. Arthur had no longer played in the last matches, once his transfer to Juventus was announced, and Quique Setién hinted in one of the last press conferences that the footballer had been erased from the last League call against Alavés. Barça is studying the measures to be taken and they do not understand the attitude of the player, since Pjanic is playing and performing with Juventus as normal.

There is no doubt that the season has been and is very complicated for Barça. The team has had to overcome all kinds of pitfalls this course and this Monday another conflict was added that may complicate the preparation for the Champions League: Arthur Melo did not appear for the Covid tests that the entire squad had to perform and informed the sports area that he was in Brazil and that he had unilaterally decided not to wear the Blaugrana shirt anymore. Barça urged the footballer and his environment to reconsider because they do not have any permission from the club and to return to Barcelona as soon as possible if they do not want a sanctioning file to be opened, which can be very hard. It seems that Arthur has no intention of doing it, so he would be low for Champions duels.


On at 12:46 CEST

Francesc de Haro


Quique Setien Arthur Melo

In Sport English

Disappointment & surprise: How Barça reacted to Arthur’s rebellion

At Barça they are disappointed with Arthur | VALENTÍ ENRICH

the movie of a surreal day

Arthur communicated during the night of Sunday to the sports executives of Barça that he did not want to play any more for the Blaugrana team. The footballer argued that he had not felt well treated in sports and that they had not been fair to him. At the club, they did not believe the footballer’s intentions and waited for his threat to be fulfilled yesterday.

Indeed, Arthur not only did not show up at the sports city to pass the coronavirus tests but was located on vacation in his country. Arthur took advantage of the rest days that Quique Setién gave to spend a mini-vacation in Ibiza and, from there he moved to his country with the conviction that he will no longer return to Barcelona.

Arthur, hurt with Setién, wants to terminate the contract now

Barça-Arthur, a mess that was seen coming

Arthur’s absence is considered serious according to the LaLiga-AFE agreement

At Barça they were already somewhat disappointed by the alleged attitude of the player since he signed for Juventus, but they were clear that he could be a useful piece in the Champions League games if the Brazilian felt motivated again. In fact, both Juventus and Barça made it very clear that the footballer is breaking his contract, so he could be financially sanctioned very harshly. The legal services of the Blaugrana club are already working on it, although it seems that it will be very difficult to reach an agreement between the two parties. Everything indicates that Arthur’s stage at Barça is already over.

Setién is giving many laps to the starting eleven that he will serve against Napoli. Since the end of LaLiga Santander, the Cantabrian coach has focused on the Champions League round of 16 with the intention of achieving a bulky victory that fills the group with confidence. To do this, during training last week, Quique Setién was testing various ideas that were going through his head and wanted to translate them into the playing field of the Ciudad Deportiva Joan Gamper. One of them is the game system with which he will start at the Camp Nou. Setién was testing an approach that he already used in the beginning and this would be a 3-5-2. It would be a great novelty since the Catalans have come to use the already characteristic 4-3-3 and the 4-3-1-2 that gave such a good result in the match against Villarreal. The change to three centrals would be the return to the first games of Setién as Barça coach where he beat Granada and Ibiza by the minimum and lost against Valencia.


Act. At 11:41 CEST

Francesc de Haro

In Sport English

Setien’s revolutionary plan for Champions League game vs. Napoli

According to what was worked on in training, the central line would be formed by Lenglet on the left, Piqué in the center and Semedo on the right. These three would be accompanied on the lanes by Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba. It should be remembered that Lenglet comes from overcoming some annoyances and could not be one hundred percent. With this scheme, the Barça coach would seek to protect his centrals to avoid the offensive transitions of Naples. 

In the center of the field would be De Jong, Rakitic and Riqui Puig. With the losses due to suspension of Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal plus Arthur’s escape, Setién does not have many troops in the middle either and he would bet on three players who would give him dynamism with the ball and sacrifice in defensive tasks, key against a rival who will not put him not easy. Above, the pair of attackers would be made up of Leo Messi and Luis Suárez. The Argentine and the Uruguayan would move through the center with total freedom so that the Napoli defenders did not have a fixed mark. Griezmann, who arrives after recovering from an injury, would be the one sacrificed.


Setién has always been known for being a very meticulous coach with the position of his players. Therefore, the 3-5-2 system would be used when the team had the ball. In defensive phase, it would change to a 4-4-2. There some players would change their position. Semedo would go from central to right-back, Jordi Alba would go from lane to left-back to form a usual four-sided defense alongside Piqué and Lenglet. In the middle, Sergi Roberto would be placed on the right, Riqui Puig on the left while Rakitic and De Jong would form the double pivot. Above, Luis Suárez and Leo Messi would continue to form the attacking duo. 

Barça party thinking about Naples

The system change would be for several reasons. In attack, Setién bets on the two lanes to open the field, a key factor so that the movement of the ball is fast and they can overcome the Italian wall. At the same time, it would ensure not to be exposed in case of theft since the three centrals would always be behind. Let’s remember that Napoli is a team that has very fast players at the top like Callejón, Mertens and Insigne, although the latter could not be due to injury.

The Barça, without any positive of coronavirus

Three years of the great betrayal of Neymar

During this week, Setién will have to decide whether to bet on this idea or the usual 4-3-3. The Barça coach is aware that his future is at stake in this Champions League.

If when Barcelona started the preseason they had told Valverde that the first injured would be Leo Messi and Luis Suárez would have thrown his hands at his head. Well, that’s what happened to the Extremaduran coach who had to face the first league game in San Mamés without the Argentine and with the Uruguayan broken half an hour into the game.


On at 16:27 CEST

Francesc de Haro


Messi injury Amsterdam Ajax

In Sport English

The alternatives to Luis Suarez against Real Betis

Now, this coming Sunday, Barcelona host Betis at the Camp Nou knowing that they will not have the Uruguayan striker, the team’s second top scorer last season. Valverde will have to look for alternatives hoping that Leo Messi receives the discharge the next days and can be on Sunday before the Betics.

Leo Messi, the hope

Leo Messi suffered a solo injury in his first training session of the season, hours before the team traveled to the United States. While his teammates played on American soil and later prepared the duel against Athletic, Leo exercised alone, recovering from muscle discomfort.

Last Friday he began to touch the ball and it is expected that in the course of the next few days — the team returns to training tomorrow afternoon — he will be able to return to group work gradually. Valverde trusts that the work of the next few days will help him so that the entity’s doctors will discharge him and he can be on the list of summoned before Betis.

The question is to know — if he is discharged — how many minutes he will be able to play. Messi has not played a game since the match for the third and fourth place in the Copa América against Chile. Since then he has not played anything else, he has not pre-season so it seems clear that he will not be able to play the whole game. Valverde must decide whether to start or enter during the match. All if you are discharged.

Rafinha, the alternative

When Suárez broke down in San Mamés, Ernesto Valverde decided on Rafinha to replace him. The Hispanic-Brazilian — Valencia’s goal this preseason — responded to expectations and was the most incisive Barça striker, crashing a ball over the crossbar and firing two more times between the three posts.

But it is clear that Rafinha is not a pure nine. The Extremadura coach used him on both wings and in the last minutes as a midfielder and, although he has a goal, his presence would force Griezmann to play in the center where last Friday he did not shine. 

Anyway, if Messi is not one hundred percent, it seems the most viable option, either from the outset or replacing the Argentine during the game. Of course, as long as Rafinha, Barcelona and Valencia do not reach an agreement in the next few days for their transfer to the Levantine team.

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