Since Frenkie De Jong’s signing for Barcelona, he is yet to make waves for the club.
The Dutch international midfielder has not exactly been playing in his favoured position as often as he would want and that is a major factor in his average start to the season.
Apart from his superb passing ability, one of De Jong’s greatest strengths is his ability to carry the ball from his own half to the opposition half.
This allows him to sometimes beat the opposition press with the ball at his feet.
All these can only be done with a place in the midfield for his team. That is why he was bought and that is where he should play.
In his debut against Athletic Bilbao, he was man-marked so his influence was reduced.
In their emphatic win against Real Betis, De Jong played on the left flank and had a decent game but it was evident he wasn’t involved in the important moments. He gave no key passes in that game and his pass map, as well as his heat map, illustrated this.
De Jong’s pass map vs Betis
De Jong’s heat map vs Betis
The match against Osasuna was no different. Before he was moved into midfield where he made his first key passes (2) this season.
On the left he was poor, he did not link up well will Jordi Alba and he kept finding himself in the same areas as Rafinha which meant they were getting in each other’s way a lot in the game.
He sometimes came very deep to get the ball and that left his position vacant.
De Jong’s pass map against Osasuna
De Jong’s heat map against Osasuna
When he moved into the centre in the second period, it was a different story. He was more involved and made more of an impact on his team in his favoured position.
Going forward his manager should look to play him in central midfield where he has the freedom to get about the pitch and make things happen. He is an all-round player that needs to show it.