In 2016, Unai Emery reportedly turned down the Everton job, which eventually went to Ronald Koeman. Coman has somehow failed his way to Barcelona since then, while Emery plays his third match in Villarreal, with a handful of titles in France and almost Europa to decide his way from there to here.
It was difficult to predict this managerial showdown here with these teams four years ago, but this is a tortuous way to the world of football. Paco Alcacer will face his former team today, the first of two times in the next three weeks, and if he manages to find his way to the goalscoring list, we have to love our chances. This is not Barcelona as it used to be, and we have to be bold to take advantage of it.
It’s great to see Albiol off the field, Estopinan’s steps that should give us balance in large areas. I feel optimistic, I think, and that doesn’t always happen on a day outside of Barcelona.
I would expect a double pivot from Koeman, that’s his comfort zone. Neto in the net plays for us. What will be interesting is how the attack is carried out. I think Coutinho, Fati and Messi represent the three “attacking midfield” in 4231, with Griezmann as the striker. The weird thing is Messi loves to drift in, Griezmann loves to get off, and Coutinho doesn’t drift too far so I guess the midst of their attack could be busy and complicated.