Everyone expected that Barcelona would lose a lot of its prestige after the departure of Argentine star Lionel Messi, but that things reach the point of losing the “Clásico” site at home for the second time in a row, this shows that it is more than losing the services of a player, even if he is the size of the best player in world six times.
The most prominent evidence that it is not about a player, but rather a playing system, is that Real lost the efforts of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo in favor of Italian Juventus in the summer of 2018, and this season lost its captain, defender Sergio Ramos, who walked in the same direction as Messi by moving to Paris Saint-Germain, but this did not affect The Royal Club, which finds itself a point away from the lead and five from its Catalan rivals, after its victory over the latter 2-1 in its stronghold “Camp Nou”, also tops its group in the Champions League.
And Sunday’s victory was the fourth in a row for Real against its rivals in a scenario that has not happened for 56 years, which confirms that the issue is not related to a player, even if he is the size of Messi, because the Argentine star was with the team in its past three losses.
But there are things to be commended for Barcelona’s performance on Sunday, which is that he stuck to the philosophy of possession, had the most shots on goal and might even have saved a point had American Serginio Dest shown his composure in front of goal.
It is certainly not possible to accuse the players of Dutch coach Ronald Koeman of lacking effort or ambition in a team of four players under twenty years old, including Gavi, who has become at the age of 17 the youngest player to start in the Blaugrana squad during the confrontation with “El Clasico” for 80 years. years.
Barcelona struggled hard and played well within its capabilities, and this was indicated by its player Sergio Busquets, saying, “We continued to control the ball, but it was difficult for us to create clear chances.”
“They scored this goal in the first half and backed it up. It was unfortunate because we tried, but things didn’t go as we wanted.”
It is true that Real was not the team most in control of the ball, but it is more dangerous on goal, more solid and more diligent in following a clear plan drawn by its Italian coach, Carlo Ancelotti.
– Suffering against adults –
Real relied on the counter-attack, which came from the two goals, and created more opportunities, and if the Argentine substitute Sergio Aguero had not scored the goal to reduce the difference in the seventh minute of stoppage time, the result of Real’s 2-0 victory would have been completely fair, as was the case in the match he won. Neighbors Atletico beat the Catalan club 2-0 at its Wanda Metropolitano stadium before the international break, in one of their most convincing victories over Barcelona in many years.
And it seems that there is a pattern that has begun to impose itself on Barcelona, which is the suffering against the big teams. Since Koeman took office, his team has played six matches against Atletico and Real, losing five of them and drawing one.
In front of Saint-Germain in the second round of the Champions League last season, Barcelona lost 2-5 in the two matches, then lost this season by one 0-3 against Bayern Munich and Benfica in the group stage.
Since its victory over the current leaders of the local league, Real Sociedad, in the first stage, Barcelona’s four victories have come at home against much lesser teams, namely Getafe, Levante, Valencia and Dynamo Kyiv of Ukraine (in the Champions League).
What is worrying is that these results are an indication of Barcelona’s current level and position, affected by its inability to find a suitable replacement for a player like Messi, French Antoine Griezmann, who returned this season to his former team Atletico, or Uruguayan Luis Soares, who joined Atletico last summer and contributed to Led him to his first league title since 2014.
And if there is no noticeable change in the team’s performance, Barcelona may find itself struggling to be among the top four, so what if it comes to competition for the title.
– ‘We’re growing little by little’ –
In the current reality, Real, Atletico, Sociedad and Sevilla seem stronger than Barcelona.
Barcelona coach Ramon Blanes admitted that “we do not have players of the quality and strength that we had before. This is a team in the process of rebuilding.”
But during the rebuilding process, Barcelona cannot afford to be swept away because the financial consequences of failing to qualify for the Champions League will be very dire and will increase the scale of the economic crisis it is currently experiencing.
And things should not reach this point, because Barcelona is waiting for matches at hand, at least on paper, against Rayo Vallecano, Alaves, Celta Vigo and its neighbor Espanyol in the local league, which will give him the opportunity to return himself to the circle of conflict if he succeeds in investing it.
History indicates that Sociedad will not be able to hold on to the lead for a long time or stay at least against Barcelona, which still has good players as well, even if Dutchman Franck de Jong suffers from injury now and his performance is much less than his usual level, and even if his other star, young Ansu Fati has just come back from a long injury that kept him out of action and hasn’t regained his full fitness, which was hit Sunday with a knee injury that he hopes is not a serious one.
The return of Aguero, Frenchman Ousmane Dembele and Pedri will make a big difference in the attack.
For Koeman, “the tournament is very long and we have to keep improving.”
However, Barcelona cannot relax even for a moment, as two defeats in its first three matches in the Champions League left it third in Group E, 6 points behind leaders Bayern Munich, while it occupies ninth place in the Spanish League, three points behind the last fourth qualifying for the Champions League. West on the leader Sociedad.
For Busquets, “there is a small gap but I think we are growing little by little. We have to keep going.”