The match between Villarreal and Barca was a crazy and unexpected match. In our post-match thoughts we remember how we thought it would be a tricky match. In addition, the fact that Valverde had to rotate affected the team’s performance, mainly on defence. However, the rotations can’t be the excuse for the bad performance by most of our players. But, the two fast goals in the end of the match kind of saved our night with the 4-4 result. These are the main conclusions after yesterday’s match.
Awful match for Umtiti and the Defence
Our whole defence looked terrible yesterday, and it seemed like every attack by Villarreal was a potential goal scoring opportunity. However, the player who got most of the blame was Umtiti. The French defender did have an awful game, but I think we should not forget there are other players in the defence. In addition, Umtiti just got back from a long injury, and he’s still not at his 100% condition, so it’s unfair to blame only him. Although he is not at his best shape, Valverde placed him in the right side of defence, and that can’t be good for a left-sided CB. Therefore, Valverde is also responsible for the awful defence, and the fact that he didn’t make a change doesn’t help him.
Another thing that should take into account is that the midfield failed to take control of the match. Barca always play with a high line of defence. Therefore, the more our midfield control the pace of the match, there are less counter-attacks. However, yesterday our midfield looked shaky and failed to control ball. Busquets lost balls he usually doesn’t, Vidal and Arthur were far away from each other, and the whole system looked bad.
Coutinho and Malcom are back?
The start of the match was very good for us. Although Messi didn’t start the match, it looked like Coutinho and Malcom are up for the challenge, and took control of the attack. In addition, by the 20th minuted it looked like we’re heading into an easy match, with both Coutinho and Malcom scoring. However, the rest of the match was terrible, and Barca almost lost. Therefore, in a whole both Malcom and Coutinho did not have a great match, but the numbers do help them this time. As I said before, the only way Coutinho should play as a winger, is if there is a natural winger on the other side. Today, with Malcom and Coutinho’s combination turned into two fast goals. Therefore, with better midfield and defence, it should have been a great match for the two Brazilians. However, it does seem like both Malcom and Coutinho arrive in good shape to the peak of the season, when we’ll need them the most.
With Messi there’s always hope
We’ve seen it many many times before, how Barca arrive to the last minutes with their back against the wall, and then everything changes. However, even the most optimistic fan couldn’t believe Barca won’t lose the match yesterday. The players looked tired, out of shape and out of will to fight. But, then there was Messi, who came just in time and scored the goal from the freekick. In addition, Suarez was also there with his “killer instinct”, and equalized this crazy match. With this goal, Suarez became the Uruguayan with most goals ever in La Liga, surpassing Forlan with 129 goals.
In the Villarreal – Barca match Messi scored his 47th career free-kick goal, with 41 of them scored for Barca. This season Messi leads the league in goals (32), Assists (12), Key passes (81) and free kick goals (6). In addition, he tops the league in goals from outside the box (9), successful dribbles (112) and accurate thorough-balls (17). We thank @messistats for that information.
Heading for Atletico
After the 4-4 draw with Villarreal, Barca remain at the top of the table, with 8 points ahead from Atletico. Therefore, the match against Atletico will be a vital one. Will the league open up? Or will Barca virtually secure the league championship? With fresh Messi, Rakitic and Pique, and with the Camp Nou, we should expect a win. However, yesterday’s match should be a warning sign for Valverde and the players.