After the infamous 8-2 loss against Bayern in the previous UCL edition, Barcelona scored five past Ferencvaros in their first UCL clash of the season, giving fans hope for the upcoming ‘El Clasico’.
The score may suggest Catalan dominance from the first minute, but this couldn’t be further from reality. In fact, Barcelona struggled in the first twenty five minutes. Even worse, the Hungarians started the match comfortably. The hosts lost many balls resulting in Ferencvaros threatening too many counter-attacks. Quick counter-attacks that looked to destroy Barcelona’s highline in shambles in every counter-attack, looking more than scary. Luckily enough, Ferencvaros never didn’t manage to score in these first twenty minutes.
Dominating the play
Eventually, Barcelona did get possession. Not the type of possession culés liked to see, though. Instead of a comfortable possession against a deep block, Barcelona was lost. They were lost as if they didn’t know what to do. Passing lanes are generally created only through Coutinho and Leo in these situations. The former unable to create space, Barcelona resorted to its ultimate saver: Lionel Messi. Fortunately enough, one run was enough to disrupt the defense. A classical run of Messi that eventually resulted in a foul in the box, and then, the penalty. And after the penalty, the goal. “Phew” must have been what the Barcelona players were thinking.
Funishing the first half in style
And after the goal, everything changed. Another reality. Ferenc didn’t look as solid and gradually, Barcelona woke up, Notably through Francisco Trincao. The Portuguese had earned his first start and not unnoticed either. A sensible game from the Portuguese as he provided width off and on the ball for Barcelona. It had been long since culés experienced an eventful right wing, but it eventually happened. Even better, Trincao almost scored what could have been unforgettable goals. Unfortunately, the Portuguese never found the net but had an impressive performance nonetheless.
Eventually, Ansu Fati also scored at the end of the first-half. His runs seem to be always very similar, but they always work, no matter what. With two wingers, Barcelona was more than a joy to watch. A light to the heartbroken culés. But it was not the end of the show, and it indeed lasted. Fati was happily enough combining well with Dest, Barcelona’s latest recruit. A creative ambipedal fullback who has already proved to be a very useful addition thanks to his offensive output, but also defensively solid.
If the end of the first half seemed great, the show had only begun. Two substitutions continued the feat: Pedri & Ousmane Dembele. The former was gliding through the pitch as if it were a Sunday walk, creating passing lanes all around him. Day after day, match after match, the young Spaniard proves he’s worth every pound of the five million Barcelona paid for his services. Another amazing performance which inevitably concluded with a goal in the 82nd minute, to the ecstasy of the supporters.
But Dembele impressed, too. He didn’t lose his one on one expertise. It’s still very much there. And it’s this unpredictability on the ball that allows him to score, responding to the recent critiques. In Dembele and Trincao, Koeman has two amazing right-wingers. Trincao seems to be trusted much more, but the Dutchman may rethink his stance very soon, though Griezmann still seems to be an option for Koeman, curiously enough.
Frenkie’s UCL performance already got the focus in an earlier article, but his performance wouldn’t have been if it hadn’t been for Pjanic. A start that many culés has been rooting for, and boy, were they served. Though seemingly still rusty, Pjanic seems to be the key to Koeman’s plans. With long balls, the Bosnian superstar served exquisite dishes on the pitch. His interceptions are worth highlighting too, him stopping many attacks. Whether the Frenkie-Pjanic partnership will continue is a question worth asking. The Bosnian also linked up with Leo, who was more and more involved.
Optimistic game overall
The UCL game was surely a reassuring match. Though Ferencvaros are surely not the best team, it was important for the team to convince in order to gain confidence prior ‘El Clasico’ on Saturday. Three points, the youth shining, the task has been completed!
Positional play expressed through all phases of play, a football fan that fell in love with the Beautiful Game over 10 years ago. Occasionally writes about FC Barcelona for Barca_Buzz, on tactics and attempts to explain the game to the casual eye.