Todibo Gives Barca A Reason To Be Cheerful

In the main, the 90 minutes football at the Estadio El Alcoraz wasn’t the greatest advert for La Liga.

Barcelona’s top-plays-bottom visit to Huesca promised goals – there were 10 of them in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. However, goals weren’t just in short supply, they were non-existent.

The 0-0 draw won’t help Huesca in their attempt to stay in the Spanish top flight, although some of their patterns of play were still eminently watchable.

It wasn’t the win that Barca were looking for either, but their point does bring them closer to the title and there were other reasons to be cheerful too.

Ernesto Valverde has often been the butt of criticism from the demanding Catalan fan base, as much for his lack of rotation as his style of play.

With some of the regulars suspended, ill or injured, there was always going to be a different look about the visitors in any event, but the Basque coach also took the opportunity to rest some more of the big hitters.

Resplendent in their pink third kit, Barca started the game with two first-team debutants in Moussa Wague and Jean-Clair Todibo, and two La Liga debutants in Riqui Puig and Jeison Murillo.

Of the quartet, Puig showed flashes of the brilliance that has marked him out as a special player and almost certainly a fixture in the Barcelona midfield in future. One of his passes in particular was Iniesta-esque, absolutely gorgeous.

Wague, aside from a game-saving tackle in the last minute, found the physicality difficult to deal with at times, but he too did enough over the course of the match for his appearance to be considered a success.

Murillo was okay without being outstanding whereas Todibo looked comfortable, authorative and calm. All of the qualities you want from a Barcelona centre-back.

At just 19, the young Frenchman put in an incredibly mature performance and given that the Blaugrana have often struggled with acquiring central defenders of sufficient quality, it’s imperative that his development is well monitored, and the player looked after.

The worst thing that anyone can do at this point is to start labelling him as ‘the next big thing,’ thereby placing added pressure on his shoulders.

Far better to enjoy watching him grow as a player and know that in this modern era of astronomical transfer fees, Barca’s €2m spend is next to nothing if things don’t work out.

A win, win you might say.

*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article

Jason Pettigrove

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Journalist, broadcaster, author

Jason Pettigrove is a highly experienced and UEFA accredited journalist, broadcaster and published author specialising in expert analysis and insightful opinion on elite level football.

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