Ronald Koeman thinking of return to 4-3-3 for Copa del Rey final

The Dutch coach has been using three at the back but its effect is diluting over time

| sport

Toni Juanmartí

Ronald Koeman is thinking about the idea of going back to 4-3-3 for the Copa final against Athletic Bilbao. The Dutch coach has been pondering it all week and there is no firm decision yet. The sensation form within the team is that the coach might abandon the three defender system used in recent months.

In the recent Clasico, the Blagurana started with a 3-5-2. However after a first half in which they were overrun, they switched to 4-3-3 and they were better after that. Barcelona took control of the ball and started to generate danger. Despite not being able to overturn the two goal deficit they were more ordered with the ball and solid against counter attacks. At the same time it’s fair to say Madrid were not as attacking after the break.

The 3-5-2 came about after the hammering from PSG in the Champions League, but the surprise effect has been diluting in recent weeks, with teams prepared for Barca in that shape, or 3-4-2-1.

The new system sees Frenkie de Jong and Pedri ‘sacrificed’ when it comes to attacking.

There’s another reason to switch back to 4-3-3. Against teams that are tight at the back, like Madrid were at the weekend, Ousmane Dembele as the striker doesn’t work, he doesn’t have space. That plays into the idea of Griezmann returning up top.

Barcelona have played Athletic three times this season with four at the back. They won both league games but lost in the Spanish Super Cup final.

If Koeman goes back to the 4-3-3 he will have to decide between Sergino Dest and Mingueza for the right back slot. And Sergi Roberto, back from injury, is a possibility too.

Ronald Araujo seems set to play alongside Clement Lenglet or Gerard Pique, if he is picked despite not being in top shape because of the importance of the game.

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