On Wednesday, Barça crossed a difficult hurdle by beating Real Sociedad. It was maybe the best first half of the season so far. And I know we’ve heard that quite a few times already this season. That as far as I’m concerned, is evidence that the team is getting better at playing the way the manager wants to play. What I can surmise from this advancement is that the team is on the path to progress. There are a few things I think would bode well for the future.
A Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza partnership is the right way to go
When the team sheet was released, it was refreshing to see Mingueza back in the starting XI. Partnered with Araujo, the pairing had everything the team would need from its center defenders. Mingueza’s intelligent positioning and an amazing ability to win the ball cleanly in seemingly dangerous positions, I say seemingly because Mingueza almost always manages to make it look like there was nothing to fear in the first place. And Araujo’s pace is just befuddling. In the previous game against Levante, he matched AJ Morales for pace on a counter attack. That’s no mean feat. Both are good in the air and effective with the ball at their feet. Proper Masia boys. It’s tantalizing, the prospect of having them line up together for the next few seasons, but then I wonder what that means for the pursuit of Eric Garcia. Whatever happens with that deal, Barça fans can be confident in what the future of the defense will be. Held down by the boys from La Masia. Would be really great. Sergiño Dest at right back looks at home in this team, and he’s only 19. Araujo and Mingueza are both 21. We might be looking at the future of Barcelona’s defense for the better part of the next 10 years.
The other Boys are not messing around
And further afield, the remaining youngsters give us something to look forward to also. Pedri has been wonderful, magnificent and transcendent of expectation. I don’t know what else to say. He’s been spectacular. Astounding, considering how we expected he’d be sent out on loan before the season started. But he’s put the work in and he’s reaping the benefits. Some might say he’s playing at Riqui Puig’s expense; I wouldn’t know what to make of that. I will however say, that patience would be a necessity for everyone eager to see Puig and Pedri play together. And that’s me talking to myself first. Barca is so blessed with energetic and exceedingly talented boys. Riqui has been excellent whenever he’s been on the field and I would love to see more of him personally, I really would. But this system might not be able to bring out the best version of Riqui, but I hope I’m wrong about that. Ansu Fati, before he got injured was one of the team’s best performers. And there’s also Konrad De La Fuente. There’s also Francisco Trincao, even though he’s under fire from fans. His talent just needs polishing, a little more improvement in his decision making and the end product should follow then we’ll have a veery good winger.
Frenkie De Jong and Ousmane Dembélé also merit mention, fans tend to forget that they are young players too. Under heavy scrutiny all the time, probably because of their price tag. But does that apply for Carlès Aleñá? He’s been really impressive this season too, doesn’t do back-passes and that’s what I like the most about him, he’d rather switch play than pass the ball back. Great skill to have already developed at this stage. I think every Culè anywhere in the World can look at these youngsters and be genuinely happy at the possibilities that abound. The youth have become the arbiters of joy and hope for Culès, and that’s something to be happy about.