Five footballers on Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona rollercoaster

The current coach is not as fond of rotations as his predecessor Luis Enrique was

Players appear and disappear based on his tactical choices for specific games

Gerard Deulofeu, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Paco Alcácer y Denis Suárez
Gerard Deulofeu, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Paco Alcácer y Denis Suárez | I. Paredes/ J. Monfort/ V. Enrich/ EFE

Ernesto Valverde is an experienced coach but he is finding out how difficult it is to manage a squad of the quality that Barcelona has - with players who would start in almost any other side but cannot get into his team on a regular basis. 

Juan Manuel Díaz

@JuanmaDiaz65

SUFFERING

There is a group of five in the squad (leaving out extreme cases like Rafinha, Arda Turan, Vermaelen), who are suffering. They appear and disappear from the coach's plans when he needs something specific. For the moment it seems that Valverde is not as fond of rotation as Luis Enrique was, with the coach only leaving the MSN out of his plans.

The Blaugrana coach, who prefers small, close-knit squads and only wants top level signings added, has a defined base of players.

GERARD DEULOFEU

In La Liga Deulofeu can consider himself player No 12, and that's the position he has in terms of games played - and is No 11 for minutes. His game time has been helped by Neymar leaving and Ousmane Dembele's injury. He's always featured as a winger, either on the left or right.

  • Has played in 13 of the 18 official games.
  • Has played 715 of 1.620 possible minutes (44,1%).
  • Has scored twice and given three assists.
STARTER SUB STAYED ON BENCH LEFT OUT INJURED
CHAMPIONS 1 1 1 1 -
LIGA 5 3 2 1 -
C. REY 1 - - - -
SUPERCOPA ESP. 1 1 - - -
TOTAL 8 5 3 2 -

Paco Alcácer

In his second campaign at the club Alcacer is fighting for protagonism in the most difficult space - the attack. He has taken advantage whenever given a chance by the caoch but has to play out of position on the wing at times. 

  • Played in 6 of the 18 games.
  • Played 285 of 1,620 minutes possible (17,6%).
  • Has scored 3 goals and got 1 assist.

STARTER SUB STAYED ON BENCH LEFT OUT INJURED
CHAMPIONS - - 2 1 1
LIGA 2 2 3 3 1
C. REY 1 - - - -
SUPERCOPA ESP. 1 1 - - -
TOTAL 4 3 5 4 2

Aleix Vidal

A special case. Luis Enrique left him out, brought him back and then he suffered a cruel injury. Now he has to fight with Semedo and Sergi Roberto for a spot. Since Dembele's injury he's actually featured more often as a winger. He has been linked with a January exit.

  • Played in 7 of the 18 games.
  • Played 307 of 1.620 possible minutes (19%).
  • Has scored no goals but provided two assists.
STARTED SUB STAYED ON BENCH LEFT OUT INJURED
CHAMPIONS - 1 - 2 1
LIGA 3 2 - 4 2
C. REY - - - - 1
SUPERCOPA ESP. 1 - 1 - -
TOTAL 4 3 1 6 4

Denis Suárez

Denis has lost some protagonism. Started off well but lately has not been needed with Valverde going for the classic Busquets-Rakitic-Iniesta combo. His versatility means he can play in different positions.

  • Played 9 of the 18 games.
  • Played 457 of 1.620 possible minutes (28,2%).
  • Scored two goals and given three assists.
STARTED SUB STAYED ON BENCH LEFT OUT INJURED
CHAMPIONS 1 - 3 - -
LIGA 2 4 4 1 -
C. REY 1 - - - -
SUPERCOPA ESP. - 1 1 - -
TOTAL 4 5 8 1 -

André Gomes

Another curious case. Featured in many games but not accrued that many minutes. For example, in the Champions League he has played four times - 7, 3, 10 and 15 minutes in the games. In three league games, 13, 9, and 6. Valverde has given him some starts in big games - Atletico, Athletic Club - to take Dembele's spot, but logically he plays more centrally and the picture turns to a 4-4-2.

  • Played in 11 of 18 games.
  • Played 398 of 1.620 possible minutes (24,56%).
  • No goals and no assists.
STARTED SUB STAYED ON BENCH LEFT OUT INJURED
CHAMPIONS - 4 - - -
LIGA 2 3 3 1 2
C. REY 1 - - - -
SUPERCOPA ESP. 1 - - - 1
TOTAL 4 7 3 3 3

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