Pedri’s New Position For FC Barcelona Which Was Vital In Atletico Madrid Win

Pedri excelled in a new position for FC Barcelona on Sunday, as the Catalans beat Atletico Madrid at the Metropolitano and extended their points lead at the summit of the La Liga table.

With Robert Lewandowski suspended, first team coach Xavi Hernandez had no real out-and-out striker at his disposal.

When the line up was announced around an hour before kick off, it appeared that he had opted for a 4-4-2, with Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele as his front duo.

Barca usually field a midfield trio with pivot Sergio Busquets providing support to Pedri and either Frenkie de Jong or Gavi.

Though De Jong was once deemed surplus to requirements with the club trying to sell him to Manchester United for a fee of around €80mn ($85mn) in the summer, his upturn in fortunes and new “untouchable” status means that Gavi has often been dropped to the bench.

With all four mentioned men chosen, though, Gavi occupied the right flank while Pedri operated as a ‘false’ left winger.

While it wasn’t his most polished display with the final ball often lacking and failing to meet its target, the stats show that Pedri still put in a strong display on both sides of the ball which was vital for Barca sealing one of their biggest wins of a title-challenging season.

Across the match, a tireless Pedri pulled off 10 recoveries which was his highest tally in a single game for Xavi so far.

He was also the player that created the most chances, completed the most dribbles and crossed the most. And though his pass after slaloming by a number of Atleti players on the edge of the box failed to meet Gavi directly, the 18-year-old’s rough shaking off of his marker paved the way for Gavi to set up Ousmane Dembele’s 22nd-minute winner which guaranteed victory.

Pedri also relished his new role. “I am closer to the area and it is more comfortable [for me] to create from there, in addition [to the fact] that the team has superiority in the middle,” he noted, while also blaming Xavi for his role in Dembele’s strike.