Why were the starting XIs so imbalanced and 3 more questions to Valverde amid Chelsea defeat
Sometimes it makes sense to understand Valverde's game vision, however, this time he made it too easy for Chelsea to gain a result. We have several questions prepared for our coach for further explanation.
What's wrong with the starting XI?
Frank Lampard's decision to start with one of the strongest squads possible was quite obvious: firstly, the new Chelsea coach had the opportunity to form several fixed squads in the earlier friendly games; secondly, today's fixture was some kind of demanding for the Japanese fans who came to the stadium in their huge numbers.
Ernesto Valverde decided to combine prospective youth with several regular players just from the start and paid for it. Despite several good performances in midfield, the ball possession was poor as the players lacked understanding between each other: Puig, Collado and Sergi Roberto had to roam from their positions very often and it seemed that our coach just left the build-up to its own devices.
What the hell was happening in defence?
Sometimes there was a feeling that Barcelona played with just 3 defenders in the 1st half, but things got clearer when Oriol Busquets, who was expected to play as one of the interiors alongside Riqui Puig, was spotted playing as a right-back. This was certainly an unexpected decision (probably for Oriol as well) which led to Chelsea's higher activity as they tried to load their left wing. Sergi Roberto rarely backstopped his younger teammate and the Catalans were really poor in this zone.
Despite the expected 4-3-3 before the kick-off, the predicted formation of Barca was changed really quickly. Dembele was frequently spotted somewhere near Antoine Griezmann but failed to play a decisive role in front of the goal. Still, when the Frenchman was trying to push the ball forward from the right wing, he looked slightly better. 4-3-3 with Ousmane constantly remaining on the wing would look smarter, but it did not happen.
Why were the players in such a low physical state?
Surely, it was just the first pre-season test for the team, but still, much improvement should be done in terms of physical conditions. Ernesto made all possible 11 changes to the team which started the match, although it would be nice to see some of the players having additional 20-25 minutes to show what they've got. However, the 2nd half appeared to be more lively, with Rafinha and Malcom adding width to Barca's attacking efforts, as well as Carles Perez who was quite confident technically.