Passing %: 94% (59/63)
Completed Long Balls: 2
Successful Tackles: 5
Successful Dribbles: 3
Sergi Samper and his teammates were unceremoniously dumped out of the NextGenSeries on Wednesday. Barcelona’s Juvenil A side faced a well-organized and impressive Chelsea side who managed a 2-0 victory despite being a man down for most of the second half.
You could argue that Sergi and company were unlucky; they had the lion’s share of possession, and even had some quality chances. The fact of the matter is, they did not create enough chances for the possession that they had, and Chelsea were efficient and finished the two chances they had.
We did get to see the many facets to Sergi Samper’s game during the full ninety minutes which only cemented for me the young midfielder’s prominence at the youth levels at both La Masia and with the national team.
For most of the first half, Samper was contained by a high Chelsea line, meaning that the eighteen year-old had to rein himself in and show some of his intangible qualities. He was often found as part of the back-line, covering for one of the full backs or centre-backs as they marauded forward. His positioning and sense for the ebb and flow of the match is remarkable for a lad of his age and his movement reminds me of Sergio Busquets. Like Busquets, Samper is not the player with the most pace, but his footballing intelligence and positional awareness is second to none for players his age.
After Hunte was sent off for his second yellow offense, Sergi Samper was really let loose and begun bossing the game, bringing his more offensive talents to bare. His passing became more dynamic as he fed his wingers and strikers in an attempt to level the match.
Samper had a number of chances himself, including an attempted lobbed shot trying to catch goalkeeper Beeney off of his line but the Chelsea keeper did well to tip it over the bar. Samper got frustrated late on in the match and received a yellow card for dissent.
His competitive spirit and obvious strengths in defense and attack make him a complete midfielder. He is not long for the Juvenil A team and will soon play for Barca B. It is only a matter of time before he receives his first team debut, maybe even this summer.