Barcelona hosted Girona today in the second friendly of the season. Koeman opted for an experienced squad to start the match, with the exception of Trincao who started for the first time in his Barcelona career.
The first half was all Barcelona as they controlled possession and often played in the opposing half. Many chances were created early on and Trincao was once again shining as the young star has been since Barcelona signed him. Barcelona got on the scoresheet in the 20th minute with beautiful tiki taka play which ended in a tap in by Coutinho. The Brazilian has showed great improvement since returning from his loan spell and can play a pivotal role this season. Nearing the end of the first half, Barcelona struck again. This time it was Messi with his weak foot that rattled the far post but it was enough to cross the goal line to make it 2-0 going into the break.
The second half began with the same squad. Messi struck again in the 50th minute as his shot was deflected and snuck past the Girona keeper. Minutes after the goal, Koeman made nine changes to the squad, substituting every player except for Neto and Araujo. The new squad continued to apply pressure and create chances, with Puig, Pedri and Konrad stealing the show. The three young players were absolutely brilliant in attack and will be fun to watch in the near future. Unfortunately Barcelona was unable to add to the scoresheet but that does not take away from the impressive display the young Barcelona squad put in the second half.
Key points from the match
- Trincao once again showed his qualities in the first half. His speed and decision making is what the aging Barcelona squad needed going forward. The Portuguese international is proving so far to be a great signing for the Catalan club. Coutinho also played well in the first half which should be great for his confidence level as his name has appeared on the scoresheet for the second match in a row.
- Greizmann needs to step up or step out. It is that simple. In his short Barcelona career, he has not proved to be a Barcelona player. Since returning, Coutinho has been far superior to the Frenchman. I believe this is a make or break season for Greizmann and if he continues to disappoint, Barcelona should consider cashing in for him to revamp the aging backline. Another weak spot has been Busquets. Busquets will go down as one of if not the greatest holding midfielder in history, but it surely looks like his time at Barcelona has come to an end. He is miles off from his former self and will be a liability if he continues to play match after match this season. Koeman will need to be smart with how he plays the Spaniard this season.
- Puig needs to be on the first team this season. He is without a doubt Barcelona’s best midfielder at the moment. His passes break the backline of the opposing team and with the speed from Dembele, Fati, Trincao and brilliance of Messi, that can be very dangerous and just what Barcelona need to win matches this season.
Thought Barcelona is still a work in progress, I am excited for the future of the squad. Visca Barca!