Madrid, Arthur’s place in the starting lineup for Barcelona was one of the surprises against Tottenham with coach Ernesto Valverde wanting to reinforce the midfield and keep hold of possession, the MARCA said.

He played the Brazilian alongside Rakitic, Busquets and Coutinho so as to bolster the centre of the pitch after recent games and the plan worked especially in the first half, while after the break Barcelona did have more problems especially at the back.

Valverde used a 4-3-3 formation that could be varied to 4-4-2 when it was necessary to be more solid defensively as was particularly the case in the second half when Mauricio Pochettino’s side attacked.

Coutinho was the player given licence to move between the lines and at times join the attack. He got his first goal in the Champions League with Barcelona and often the presence of Dembele prevents him from having a route to goal.

Valverde gave Arthur a chance against Spurs with the player having taken part in five of nine games but started just two, in the Supercopa against Sevilla and against Girona in the league, the MARCA added.

Arthur showed that he has what it takes to be a regular in the team, offering solidity and opening up the play for the attack.

Source: Oman News Agency