A Narrow Escape

FC Barcelona traveled to Real Valladolid in the second week of LaLiga and escaped with a narrow 1-0 win away to Real Valladolid. FC Barcelona played a kind of ok game for most of the match on that newly laid so-called pitch but scored a goal in the second half before needed help from VAR to avoid conceding a last-second equalizer. Some will say Barcelona received a helping hand from VAR. In reality, though the technology aided the match officials for both the goals. One was allowed and other got disallowed. Anything else would have been unjust.

La Liga must look into this matter first rather than giving more importance to organize glamour games in the United States.

 

Alone with manager Ernesto Valverde, many Barcelona players expressed concerns about the state of the pitch in post-match interviews. With a new playing surface laid earlier in the week by Real Valladolid ahead of their first fixture at home since returning to the first division of Spanish Football. While VAR was a step forward for both the teams, pitches like this one represent a regression and players would have got injuries just because of the inability to prepare a suitable surface by Real Valladolid. I think La Liga must look into this matter first rather than giving more importance to organize glamour games thousands of kilometers away in the United States and again the spectators were the losers on Saturday. At least Liga president Javier Tebas was watching and twitted that “The state of the pitch at the Jose Zorrilla didn’t meet the minimum conditions demanded in a COMPETITION like LaLiga,” and “Obviously, a disciplinary case will be opened to determine the responsibilities.”

It was hard to see how FC Barcelona will find a way in that awful pitch since their style is based on intricate passing along the ground, but by half-time there was improvisation and planned high crosses into the penalty area, and a low Philippe Coutinho shot that sought to take advantage of the uneven nature of the pitch. By halftime, the pitch was cutting up, and some Barca players were left visibly frustrated as they struggled to impose their usual passing style. It was from an aerial ball that the goal finally came in the second half. Luis Suarez pumped a cross into the area, and it appeared to be heading out of play until Sergi Roberto reached it and headed brilliantly back across the box for Ousmane Dembele to volley home. After Ousmane Dembele gave the 1-0 lead in the 57th minute, Keko thought he had snatched a stoppage-time equalizer for Valladolid but was denied the goal as the VAR ruled that the winger had netted from an offside position.

FC Barcelona needs an alternative for him.

 

Ousmane Dembele has been the subject of significant transfer speculation with many expecting him to leave the club he only joined a year ago, and the interest from Arsenal and also from Liverpool and singing of Malcom made his life difficult in Barcelona camp for sure. But the World Cup winner was the best player on the pitch for the Catalans and looked most likely to make the difference, and so he did. This performance will hopefully spark the talented winger’s career into life at the Camp Nou.

Luis Suarez

On the topic of Luis Suarez, its time for Barcelona to seriously took for a better alternative who can replace him. Just like last season this season too Luis Suarez started with poor performance and missing that killer instinct for goals. Top of that Valverde never seems to bench or substitute Luis Suarez. Luis Suarez was substituted just three minutes before the 90 minutes of the game by Munir, that was only to waste time and not a tactical change for sure.

In the end, it was just a narrow escape through the pitch didn’t help, but the performance was really disappointing. FC Barcelona has to improve if they want to win another treble.

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