Jack of all trades, master of many. Sergi Roberto is a tactical advantage. His ductility and versatility is a blessing for the coach, who can use him in different role throughout the season, but even during a single game Sergi can occupy multiple zones at the same time despite apparently being in a single position.
Apart from his switch to right-back in the second half, when he acted as a left midfielder the Catalan delivered a masterclass of positional intelligence. Previously it was Sergio Busquets who used to drop between the two centre-backs to take the ball out from the back. But this did not benefit Busi, who needs to be in front of the backline. Thus, yesterday it was Sergi who formed the back 3, positioning himself next to Lenglet as a left centre-back when building up from deep.
With such set-up and superiorities at the back, this also allowed Jordi Alba to be more offensive. Villarreal had no clue of what to do with Roberto’s tactical mobility. Then, the La Masía graduate had the capacity and freedom to move forward, carry the ball, link up with Alba and the front three…Continuously compensating the others’ movements and benefitting the team too.
These functions were given to Iván Rakitić against Atleti, and the Croatian already did really well. But this role gets even more enhanced with a ball-carrier like Sergi. It brought the best out of his virtues and gave him a lot of space to cover. Sergi was tailormade for such role, and such role was tailormade for Sergi.