|Aleix Vidal vs Borussia Monchengladbach
After spending 6 months without playing due to the transfer ban, new signing Aleix Vidal returned to action for Barça in January 2016 but just like his other partner Arda Turan, he didn’t quite put up good performances during the final 5-6 months of the season.
Some said it was due to irregular playing time, he needed more time to adapt. After Dani Alves left in the summer to join Juventus, coach Luis Enrique decided not to bring in a new right-back, stating that he places his trust on Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal. It turned out to be a fight for the starting spot between these two which the former eventually won after putting up good performances early on while Vidal didn’t live up to expectation.
Aleix Vidal wasn’t getting games anymore after he played really bad against Alavés, he wasn’t even making squad lists and he got frustrated and kept being the culprit off the pitch with sources suggesting he was in a personal spat with Luis Enrique.
Right now, Vidal has featured in two of Barça’s last three games, against Hércules and Borussia Monchengladbach and he performed great in both, especially the game against Gladbach at the Camp Nou where he was crucial to Barça’s 4-0 win.
After missing out on so many games, one would expect Vidal to fumble but he stood up against the task and put a lot of effort, showing he really is interested in fighting and is fighting for a starting spot. Truth be told, he put up a more complete performance than we’ve seen recently from Sergi Roberto, he could easily beat his man, his pace helped him in defence and above all his link up down the right with the midfielder was top draw. He looked very composed and didn’t ever slow down Barça’s attack once. His composure and calmness down the right was another thing that was great to notice.
Vidal got himself an assist, doing fantastic to find himself some space down the right before unleashing a superb low cross to set up Arda Turan for his second goal. He also had a hand in the Turk’s other two goals. Vidal was electric down the right showing great enthusiasm and he played like he’s been the starting right-back for a very long time.
Speculations have arose recently about Barça wanting to sign a right-back to replace Vidal with sources claiming he is very likely to leave in January 2017. Lots of names have been mentioned including Shakthar Donetsk captain Darijo Srna, but Vidal’s perfect performance on Wednesday night might just be enough to convince the club and Luis Enrique that there is some pure quality left in the former Sevilla man. He was great and his versatility is also a plus as Luis Enrique can deploy his as a RM in his spare 3-4-3 formation.
It is still unclear if Aleix Vidal will be staying or not, one game may not be enough to stamp his place in the team, but it is a certainty that he has the quality Barça saw when they scouted him during his time at Sevilla. He looks to be the most intelligent among all four fullbacks and the only one who can comfortably dribble past his marker in tight situations. Another thing is sure, if Vidal continues to put up such display as vs Borussia Monchengladbach, then there will be a real fight for the right-back spot with Sergi Roberto, he has it in him.