how Ousmane Dembélé went from pariah to decisive player

how Ousmane Dembélé went from pariah to decisive player

Back in great shape with Barça this year, Ousmane Dembélé perfectly matches the ambitions of the game wanted by his coach Xavi, who has pampered him since his arrival. The Frenchman is one of the major assets of the Catalan club.

“He must stay.” If he had only one wish for next season, a wish he would like to see come true, it would be Ousmane Dembélé’s extension. And for good reason, since his arrival at Barça at the end of January, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has rejuvenated five years alongside the Frenchman, with whom he has reformed the same pair as in Dortmund where the Gabonese had particularly enjoyed himself during the season. 2016-2017, with 40 goals in all competitions.

With the new assist he delivered to Aubameyang on Sunday, Dembélé now has eleven assists this season, in just 14 matches (0.79 assists per match, best ratio in La Liga). Which makes him the best passer in his team and in the Spanish championship (tied with Benzema), knowing that nine of his eleven passes were distributed between the end of February and the beginning of April 2022. simply prodigious.

“I’m going to sequester him in Barcelona,” joked Ferran Torres last week. This is to say how phenomenal the resurrection of the French international is. Consider that barely two months ago, the player was shouted down by all or part of the Blaugrana supporters who wanted at all costs to get rid of him, “the traitor”, at the end of a showdown with the club. around his contract, which ends this summer.

The French world champion is the most striking example of the spectacular renewal driven by Xavi, both in the game and in the results. The arrival of Xavi has revolutionized Barça from top to bottom. Under the orders of a coach who showed him all his confidence, even in the most difficult moments, hammering home how much Dembélé was the future of Barça in his eyes, Dembélé confirmed his rise to power which began at the end of November.

Too often disturbed by physical glitches since his arrival in Catalonia (in 2017), the winger finally flourishes playing football, adorned with his clothes of light, offering the most complete version of himself since he wears the blaugrana colors thanks to the work and confidence of Xavi, who achieved what Valverde, Setién and Koeman had not been able to do before him. Ousmane Dembélé will have waited for his fifth season at Barça to devote himself fully to football, some will regret.

Unpredictable in the art of dribbling

It’s hard to fault them. Mocked for numerous unprofessional behaviors that have accentuated the existing unease around the former Rennais in recent seasons, Dembélé has apparently changed radically. Last Tuesday, he went to training on his day off, noted, a little surprised, the Catalan press. “It’s not a surprise for me, retorted Xavi. Since November, he has been exemplary, in his way of training, his attitude and his involvement.

Since his presentation as a new coach, Xavi has pampered him and given him confidence. Too often disturbed by physical glitches, Dembélé dismissed the specter of injuries. The winger appears irresistible when he goes through matches (11 in a row). If he still has to improve his finishing and scores too little compared to some of his teammates with whom he shares the poster, the Frenchman creates danger, and causes a lot of chances in a register of his own.

The variety of his offensive palette in the art of dribbling and percussion, combined with his natural ambidexterity make him totally unpredictable. The defender never knows which way he will dribble, Dembélé knowing how to hit both sides equally well. Better, Dembélé combines technical accuracy and efficiency in the last gesture. The Frenchman’s percussion has been concretized by decisive crosses in recent weeks. He also centers more than last season, nearly ten centers per game, while his average was 3.8 in the previous year. An impactful contribution that makes it essential now. Barça can no longer do without it.

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