I think we all agree that the Spanish Super Cup is the less important tournament out of all the ones that are played throughout the season, it is the less prestigious one. However, now that the new format takes place in the middle of the campaign, the outcome has an influence that can turn into a boost ahead of the second half of the year. It can be the motor for the winner and a bone for the looser. Valverde was fired last season after falling in the semifinals of this competition. This title is a turning point that marks the rest of the season.
Marcelino has been at the San Mamés´ bench for four days and Athletic have already experimented a notable improvement. High pressure, intensity, 4-4-2 on a compact block, speed on the ball circulation and fast transitions through the wings in order to finish plays with crosses or a last pass by Muniain any to a reference striker like Raul García or a fast one like Williams. All that added to a doble midfield where Unai Vencedor stands out and a solid defensive line.
Marcelino´s hand is not going unnoticed and his playing style fits in perfectly to the Athletic´s philosophy, as this coach can make them succeed in the long term. He faced this competition warning from the first press conference that they were only two games away from winning a title and now they are just one after beating Real Madrid. The Super Cup, both for Athletic and Marcelino, can be the motor to boost a team that started off the season very close to relegation and now can look into higher goals like reaching the Europa League spots, a climb that we have already witnessed on previous years.
Koeman´s Barça improves:
Barça have really improved these last few weeks. Their biggest obstacle is defense, but they have been able to dominate the games more through the possession and so they now defend themselves with the ball on their feet, which is what they must do. On the other hand, there has been a tactical change by Koeman that has been the key: he has dispensed with the 4-2-3-1 system that he had keep so far the entire season and now he has moved to a 4-3-3 with a triangle in the middle where Busquets is the pure midfielder and then Frankie de Jong and Pedri play beyond him.
The Canary looks like Iniesta as days pass by, has been showing very high technical skills and, the most important aspect, has been creating a really interesting connection with Messi forward, but no doubt that this tactical change has benefited Frankie de Jong the most. He does not have as many defensive tasks as he used to and now he has more freedom to move throughout the middle just as he did for Ajax. As a consequence, he now can drive the ball, build plays and finish them from the second line. Forward, Démbelé is in a very high level and Griezmann has been participating on Barça´s goals recently. Messi´s possible absence due to an injury will be crucial, but I believe that he will be on the pitch.
The Super Cup´s influence:
It might not be the most important tittle, but will mark a potential momentum on any of the teams participating: it can be a great opportunity for Barça to lift a trophy this season if we look at LaLiga´s table and see their low performance in the Champions League. On the other side for Athletic, which have less pressure, it can be a big achievement taking into account that they would have beaten Real Madrid and Barcelona if they won, plus they also have the Spanish Cup final against Real Sociedad pending. The Super Cup will be a turning point on Barça and Athletic´s season.