Sergi Roberto's cage: The first sacrificed for Quique Setien's system

Barcelona are playing differently and Sergi Roberto must stay at centre-back in the plan

Sergi Roberto juega de central derecho con Quique Setién
Sergi Roberto juega de central derecho con Quique Setién | EFE

Quique Setien’s Barcelona’s new tactical scheme has holes in it. One of them is Sergi Roberto’s position. The Reus player has been chosen as the one to join the defence to create a three-at-the-back system. This is a move that limits his attacking influence, putting the cantera player in a cage.

Setien is obsessed with bringing the ball out from the back cleanly. Roberto works with this, with the midfielders getting the ball, or the two players more right-sided in the attack - Ansu Fati and Leo Messi.

Barcelona’s play starts in this zone and the versatile player can no longer help out going forward, with the role of staying in his position at all times.

Sergi Roberto has a very limited job. In attack he can’t go past the half-way line and he has no option of using his attacking weapon of play between the lines. This was the function that Ernesto Valverde designed for him this season but he has not been able to play in it.

Roberto usually combined with Messi going forward and his crossing was useful too. No longer.

The former Barca youth product assumes his new role with the discipline that he has always showed, but the team are suffering defensively too. He’s never been a centre-back before Quique used him there against Granada. Getting used to this position immediately is not easy and much less at places like Mestalla.

With Jean-Clair Todibo leaving, Sergi Roberto seems condemned to play in this role if Setien is rigid in his ideas.


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