Opinion: Ousmane Dembele is Barcelona’s secret weapon

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 13: Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at Nou Camp on March 13, 2019 in Barcelona, . (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

We give you an insight into why we believe that Ousmane Dembele is FC Barcelona’s secret weapon for today’s match at Old Trafford.

Earlier on Wednesday, we all received a report from FC Barcelona’s official website about Ousmane Dembele getting his medical clearance to play the Champions League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford later today.

When the initial call-up list was published by the Catalan club, we could see players who don’t usually make the trip to games like this one but manager Ernesto Valverde decided to bring all the players on the expedition because he wants them to experience the series alongside all their teammates.

This meant that even players who were injured got the call, also players who won’t even be on the bench such as recent transfer Jean-Clair Todibo who was recently signed and is not part of the players who can perform in the competition.

This information made everybody think that Ousmane Dembele could in fact only be part of the squad as an observer but the club dropped the news just a few hours ago, turns out that the French winger has been training alongside his teammates since last week and he was also part of the squad that trained this Tuesday at Old Trafford ahead of the match.

In the very few videos that we could see of Dembele training with all the rest of the squad, we could in fact see the Frenchman making sprints and dribbles without a single problem.

Even though this match is not the return leg and obviously not as risky, manager Ernesto Valverde already revealed that he doesn’t feel like risking the French player in the same way he did when the Catalan club played against Olympique Lyonnais.

The manager already offered his opinion on how complicated Manchester United will be at Old Trafford, but he also specifically spoke about the Ousmane Dembele situation before we even knew that he was getting medically cleared to play this match.

“I don’t know, we’ll see how he is in tonight’s training session to see if he can be fit or not,” said the manager via Sky Sports when asked if he would use Dembele for this match against the Red Devils.

“Regardless, it’s not the same situation as against Lyon. It’s not the second game, it’s the first leg. We have to be aware that in the last game we perhaps forced it a little. We’re not going to run that risk this time, just in case it reoccurs.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Chris Smalling and Nemanja Matic of Manchester United look dejected during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Manchester United at Goodison Park on April 21, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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Everything changed now that we know Ousmane Dembele has been medically cleared to play this match, Valverde will not be as quick to use him from the very start of the match but the player proved that he is fit to play during the training session and he obviously wants at least a few minutes to enjoy at Old Trafford.

The scenario in which Dembele will most likely get some time on the pitch is as follows: if the match becomes easier to win against the Red Devils he will come on the pitch late in the game in order to get some participation.

However, there is also an emergency scenario in which the manager might choose to use his best dribbler on the squad if Manchester United scores more than two goals and FC Barcelona can’t find a way to get the ball in the back of the net.

Ousmane Dembele remains the fastest offensive player that FC Barcelona has at the moment, but that skill is also a liability for a player who is currently coming back from a hamstring injury.

But there really won’t be anything else Valverde can do if the local squad gets them in a corner, odds are that it won’t happen because FC Barcelona is the wide favorite to win this match.

How many minutes do you think Ousmane Dembele could get against Manchester United later today? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.