Season Review 2020/21: The line-up
With no European competition, and relatively few major injuries, Valencia were lucky enough to have a fairly stable preferred first XI line-up as they claimed 2nd in La Liga. With several players offering some versatility between positions, Barlow had the option of mixing it up, although especially at the back he tended to rely on the pairing of Gabriel Paulista and Mouctar Diakhaby, both who had great seasons, as much as possible. In fact the centre half pairing made the most starts during the year, closely flanked by shot-stopped Jasper Cillessen just behind them as number one.
Favouring a 4-4-2 system with natural wingers, early season it was Denis Cheryshev and Gonçalo Guedes who tended to get the nod on the wings, although the arrival of Nicolás De La Cruz in January saw the Uruguayan become a key man in the system, while the long term hip injury to Kevin Gameiro also saw Guedes utilised up front more often, with Jason stepping in to take over duties on the right. There was a similar switch in the middle of the park, where Uros Racic and Carlos Soler began the season before rookie midfielder Yunus Musah forced his way into the reckoning, going on to make a fantastic 29 starts at just 18 years old, also earning full international honours for the USA during the season.
Next season is likely to see a similar tactic employed, although with the fatigue becoming a factor as the season wore on, and the addition of Champion’s League football the coming year, it is likely some tweaks in both personnel and style may need to be made to carry the team through the season.Share this: