Well, yet another frustrating ending to a game Barcelona should win, this time vs Osasuna. The match started well for Xavi’s players, as the team wanted to turn things around after the KO from the Champions League. Nico scored his first senior goal after a great assist by Gavi. But then Osasuna came and equalized the match after 1 minute. And in the second half Abde scored the second goal of Barcelona vs Osasuna. However, the team failed to keep the lead, as Osasuna scored the equalizer in the last minutes of the match.
Barcelona came to the match vs Osasuna with Memphis and Alba joining the injury list. Xavi started the game with 3 center backs, including Umtiti (!). For the Frenchman it was his first minutes this season. Moreover, in the attack we saw Dembele and Abde on the wings, and Luuk de Jong as the striker. With Memphis, Ansu, Braithwaite and Aguero out, ‘Luukaku’ is the only fit striker.
Although the game ended frustratingly, I will start with the positive points, and then address the negative points as well.
- Abde Ezzalzouli was easily the Man of the Match for Barcelona vs Osasuna yesterday. The Moroccan won 4 fouls, 11 duels and 5 dribbles. Moreover, Abde scored his first goal for the first team, shot 3 times and touched the ball 55 times. Impressive performance from the 19 years old winger who arrived in the last day of the summer transfer window. He looks like another bargain with enormous potential.
- Nico and Gavi. Gavi and Nico. Who would have thought just few months ago that they will be so vital for us. If there’s something positive with so many injuries this season, is the fact that we game a proper chance for the youngsters to shine. We need to also thank Ilaix and Wijnaldum who preferred money and left room for the wonderkids to grow. Hopefully, soon some of the injured players will be back and we’ll have a better team.
- January is approaching. With Pedri, Dani Alves, Alba, Memphis, Braithwaite and Ansu Fati available by then, we can expect a lot more from this squad. Moreover, hopefully new signings will arrive next month.
- Xavi didn’t have a preseason, and he lacks so many vital squad players. However, you can see the improvement already. However, I didn’t understand with some of his decisions. After the game, Xavi spoke about how the team failed to control the ball in the last minutes. But when your fullbacks are Mingueza and Araujo – natural Center Backs – Of course you will drop deep. I don’t know what Dest and Balde did to Xavi, but I think they could be useful yesterday.
- Shocking stat: Barça conceded 5 goals from the last 7 shots at Ter Stegen. The German goalkeeper is probably in the worst form of his career. Is it reversible? I don’t know. But recent rumors suggest that the club looks for a competition for him.
- Luukaku de Jong played 95 minutes yesterday. 0 goals ; 0 Assists ; 0 Shots on target ; 0 dribbles. Moreover, the Dutch lost the ball 12 times. I know Luuk was the only striker available, but him playing the whole game is sad. I believe it’s better to play without a natural striker than to play with him. Demir, Riqui, Jutgla could all do more in my opinion.
- The main problem of our squad is that we have legendary veterans who can’t play twice a week 90 minutes, and young wonderkids. The youngsters should have better and worse days, as it’s only natural. But the biggest problem is the ‘Mid Generation’ of players in the age of 24-30. Those are the players that should be in their prime. But in Barcelona we have: Frenkie De Jong and Dembele who are pretty well but not enough. Then we have Ter Stegen, Coutinho, Umtiti, Lenglet, Memphis, Braithwaite and more. They are the core problem in the squad right now.
Xavi is improving the team, but he’s not a magician. We need a lot of patience, and January is approaching. Some players will be back from injuries, and others will arrive. I’m expecting us to perform a lot better in the second half of the season.