The Semedo-Dembélé connection: Valverde's explosive Plan B

When they've been out on the pitch together, the Portuguese and French players have formed a sensational partnership

El gol de Dembélé en el Barça-Tottenham | MEDIAPRO

Juan Manuel Díaz

One of Ernesto Valverde's greatest qualities has been getting the most of his FC Barcelona squad. He's covered the loss of Leo Messi, arguably the most difficult task the coach has had to deal with, and he's also found solutions on the right hand side with the absence of Sergi Roberto. This has resulted in him discovering an explosive Plan B formed by Nelson Semedo and Ousmane Dembele.

Semedo has played 17 matches out of 24 available for Barça this season: 15 as a starter and all of them at right back.

Ousmane Dembele has played 20 matches: 14 as a starter (9 goals and 5 assists), 13 on the left wing and 7 on the right.


Injuries and the demands of the competition has seen Valverde use the duo of Semedo and Ousmane on the right in six matches:

  1. 29/09/2018 • LaLiga • FCB-Athletic • Nelson Semedo: 90 minutes / Dembélé: 80 minutes • 1-1
  2. 20/10/2018 • LaLiga • FCB-Sevilla • Nelson Semedo: 90 minutes / Dembélé: 16 minutes 1 AS • 4-2
  3. 24/11/2018 • LaLiga • Atlético-FCB • Nelson Semedo: 90 minutes / Dembélé: 10 minutes 1 G • 1-1
  4. 28/11/2018 • Champions League • PSV-FCB • Nelson Semedo: 80 minutes / Dembélé: 80 minutes 1 AS • 1-2
  5. 02/12/2018 • LaLiga • FCB-Villarreal • Nelson Semedo: 90 minutes / Dembélé: 90 minutes 1 AS • 2-0
  6. 11/12/2018 • Champions League • FCB-Tottenham • Nelson Semedo: 90 minutes / Dembélé: 76 minutes 1 AS • 1-1

The pair are showing signs of working well together.

Semedo is adjusting to the requirements expected of him on the right hand side and is trying to base his game on Dani Alves. His recent run of games in Roberto's absence has allowed him to remove the errors which were common during his initial spell in the team. 

powerful alternatives 

In terms of Dembele, his directness and explosive speed have offered Barça a powerful outlet in attack. As was the case when Neymar played for the team, the French winger offers another option aside from everything going through Messi. His speed allows him to get in behind defenders to score or provide assists.

Dembele is an alternative to Coutinho, offering greater pace and being able to attack the space left by the opposition. The Brazilian is perhaps better in terms of his positioning and helping the team keep their shape.

reclaming importance

Whatever happens, Semedo and Dembele have built a great connection towards the end of 2018 and both are enjoying a good spell in the first team.

If Nelson is able to compete with Roberto once he returns, that could spell good things for the duo. Ousmane is gaining support amongst the Camp Nou supporters and has a legitmate case to start ahead of Coutinho alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.

It's a magnificent problem for Valverde to have as he needs to pick his squad - and starting XI - for the crucial match against Levante next Sunday.



Descarga gratis la app en tu móvil