Ernesto Valverde started with Clement Lenglet, Arthur and Arturo Vidal on Sunday night against Girona. Although the sending off of Lenglet, which Barca plan to appeal, conditioned a lot of what happened on the field, their numbers are concerning. They lost more duels than their opponent (43-41) and sent the ball into the penalty area less too despite deploying to strikers in the second half. They played backwards passes more often than Girona too (174-113) and they also abused the long ball (39) throughout the game. Valverde put Umtiti, Rakitic and Coutinho in to save the day after a poor start to life at the club for the new signings.
It was Lenglet's first start for Barcelona. He was sent off after 33 minutes after catching Pere Pons with an elbow, which left Valverde bewildered. The central defender could not recover from his poor showing against Sevilla in the Super Copa against Sevilla. The Frenchman is one of the candidates to replace Umtiti against Tottenham after his sending off in the first Champions League game. It might be Vermaelen, who stand in though with his style more suited to fend off Harry Kane. He didn't provide the expected deliveries he was brought in to and of the 17 passes during his time on the fiel,d, five of them went sideways to Pique.
Arthur appeared as the neatest of the three new signings on Sunday night. He seemed comfortable and confident on the ball but the more you analyse his stats, it appears he was a little too cautious in his approach. Of his sixty passes, 10 of them were to Busquets and he lost the ball four times. He also committed two fouls and it wasn't long before he was booked. This conditioned his tackling and defending for the rest of the game. He looked keen to drop deep, which maybe a sign that he wants to play in a more Busquets type role but that is already well looked after.
Vidal's performance was most worrying. He gave Messi an assist and that, in principle, saved him. But he never looked comfortable playing against the counter-attacking side. The signing was made so that no more nights like that in Roma happen. He is keen to tackle, run, press and release teammates but it is less effective than it might seem. He lost the ball eight times and did not recover one, which might be most surprising. he went backwards 16 times out of his 57 passes when directness is one of his virtues.