Barcelona met Benfica last night for what was a crucial night fur us. We could see how much the team wanted to win. Moreover, with few big misses and a ruled out goal, it was very close. But at the end of the day, Barcelona will have to go and win in Munich in order to get to the knockout stage. Other option is that Benfica will lose vs Dynamo Kyiv, but it’s better not to rely on that.
Although not winning last night disappointed us, I think we can all agree that there’s a ‘wind of change’ at the Camp Nou. The losses vs Bayern and Benfica in the 1st 2 matches made life very hard for us. But unlike these losses, yesterday we could see a team dominating at most parts of the game. Moreover, you can sense the change in the spirit of team, led by the coach.
- In the first 20 minutes, Benfica couldn’t pass the ball. Barcelona absolutely dominated the game, and was very close to score. Araujo, Alba, Memphis and Gavi had clear chances to score, but couldn’t convert them. The game plan of Xavi worked perfectly. But sadly, the goal didn’t come.
- Busquets continues to perform great in the system of Xavi. Moreover, he set an example to the younger players, leading them throughout the game. With 14 ball recoveries, 12 duels won and 3 key passes, it was a great game for Busi.
- Ronald Araujo with yet another great game last night. Returning from an injury and an international break where he didn’t play, The Uruguayan did a great job. With 5/5 tackles, 6 ball recoveries and 0 fouls committed, we say once again what a beast we have in our defense. Araujo’s goal was just the best ending for his great game. But sadly, his goal didn’t count.
- Yusuf Demir finally showed us why the club wanted him in the first place. After a long time at the ‘Freezer’, Demir started the game and did well. Moreover, he almost scored a stunning goal. Hopefully last night’s game will help him regain his confidence.
- Ousmane Dembele showed us why Xavi wants him fit and ready so bad. He actually changed the game completely once he entered the field. Hopefully, this time the club will make sure he stays fit. When he’s at his best form, he’s a perfect player for the system that Xavi uses.
- Nico and Gavi. Just AMAZING once again.
- Just like in the game vs Espanyol, we dominate the play, but fail to ‘Kill’ the game. So many chances missed, and we almost conceded in the last minutes. Life will be much harder for us now, and Europa League is more than possible this season.
- Memphis Depay is really an enigma for me. The guy can create a chance from nothing, and he’s one of the only natural goal scorers left in our squad after the departures of Messi and Griezmann. But, he misses a lot of chances, and he loses the ball too many times. Xavi will have to work with the Dutch on these aspects.
- Clement Lenglet. If there ever was a chance for a redemption for the French defender, it was last night. But once again, Lenglet was our worst player on the field. Benfica realized that, and once they started attacking from his side, the chanced arrived.
- Going to the Europa League would be a true disaster in a sporting aspect. But more importantly, it would be a huge loss financially. And with Bayern as our opponent in the last match, it’s more than possible.
A lot of reasons to be optimistic after last night’s clash between Barcelona and Benfica, but the result makes us a lot more pessimistic. Hopefully we can turn this around. Let’s just say that with Koeman we shouldn’t even buy the ticket to Germany. But with Xavi, it would be possible. Very very tough, but possible.