Primera Division

Why was Philippe Coutinho hooked at half-time against Cadiz?

The Brazilian's career at the Catalan giants is going nowhere fast and was compounded by another poor display

2:45pm on Sunday 6th December 2020
Paul Macdonald

Philippe Coutinho's Barcelona career continues to go nowhere fast.

The Brazilian was substituted at half-time in the 2-1 defeat to Cadiz on Saturday evening, the latest in a long line of ineffectual displays in a move which just hasn't even threatened to work out at any point.

Barca simply look like a more balanced team when Coutinho isn't in it, and that was reflected in his 45 minute performance against a Cadiz side which camped inside their own half and challenged the visitors to break them down. And the likes of Coutinho couldn't answer the question.

Philippe Coutinho
AM (CL) - Barcelona - 28 yrs
Dec 5, 2020
45Minutes played
1Total shots
0Shots on target
1Duels won
86Successfull passes %

Against Cadiz, Coutinho completed 47/54 passes, not a ratio you want from a creative player. He is playing safe passes and is happy to pass on the creative responsibility to other players. Whether this is due to the presence of Lionel Messi or just a continuing lack of confidence, it's not what Coutinho is in the team for. If he's not creating openings, then what exactly is he doing?

As it turns out, not much. He made one key pass during his time on the pitch. By comparison Francisco Trincao made three and he was only on the pitch for 15 minutes.

Coutinho's two other key attributes and the reason why Barcelona spent such a gigantic fee for him, were his long shots and also his dribbling ability. And yet here, he did neither. One shot from a tight angle flashed miles over the crossbar, while he didn't even attempt a single dribble in the game.

It's reflected in his expected numbers. Expected goals of 0.14 and Expected assists of 0.1 against a promoted team who hadn't won a game at home all season really isn't good enough.

Philippe Coutinho transfer?

Coutinho hasn't become a bad player. Indeed he was a useful part of Bayern's Champions League win last season. But everything about his time at Barcelona just gives off bad vibes. He has never seemed like a proper fit and that situation isn't changing.

The fact is that with Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann drifting off the front, Coutinho just occupies the same space. Positioning him nominally on the left of the three behind in a 4-2-3-1 gives the team zero width as he moves infield.

And yet, with Ousmane Dembele picking up a hamstring injury which will likely keep him out until next year, and Ansu Fati missing until March, there's precious other options available to Ronald Koeman.

It's a situation that is difficult to resolve, and one in which no-one gets what they want.


Cadiz 2-1 Barcelona: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats

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