Time for Barcelona to give La Masia players a chance

Barcelona need to look within to help solve woes.

Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati turned the game around for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao. What did these two players have in common?

Both are products of the club’s famed La Masia academy.

For too long now, the Catalans have preferred to make splashy, expensive signings that, more often than not, have not panned out instead of giving an opportunity to their own homegrown players.

With Barça needing a minor miracle to overtake Real Madrid in the standings, there is no better time to give the likes of Puig and Fati a run out to see how prominently they’ll feature come next season.

The game against Real Mallorca aside, Barcelona’s performances since the resumption of the league have been abysmal. Despite not losing any of them and keeping clean sheets, creating goal scoring opportunities has been difficult.

That lack of creativity was on full display at home against Athletic Bilbao. That is, until Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati came on.

The La Masia players added a much needed spark.

Coming on for Arthur Melo and Antoine Griezmann, the two provided a spark both in midfield and in attack that were missing previously. A huge part of that has to do with the fact that they came up through the Barcelona system.

Therefore, a player like Fati knows the movements he needs to make up front and anticipate where a pass might go to. Puig, on the other hand, knows what is expected from him in midfield and has that bit of vision that perhaps the other midfielders do not despite his age.

Because of what Fati has shown throughout his time with the first team this season and the potential that Puig is showing, Quique Setien needs to give them a run of games to try to convince him that they have what it takes to start consistently.

Again, it’s going to take something extraordinary for Madrid to slip and Barcelona aren’t considered favorites to win the Champions League. Especially with the way they’ve been playing.

Considering Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and possibly Arthur are headed for exits, there is a spot in midfield for Puig. If that is indeed the case then it would be prudent to play him more so he’ll be ready for next season.

As it stands, the club looks disjointed on the pitch with players whose time has caught up with them. It’s why the difference once Puig and Fati entered was so apparent.

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For far too long academy players have been overlooked. It’s one of the reasons why the club is a suffering in a sporting and administrative sense. The kids can play and it’s time they get a shot to prove it.