Tonight is a night for celebration and jubilation.
With La Liga officially wrapped up, Barca seemingly doesn’t have a lot to play for at this moment. But you’d be wrong if you thought along those lines, since Barca still have one more important match to play, one that would give the fans even more reason to celebrate besides the obvious one we’re all thinking of.
With a win tonight, Barca could give their fans an double dosage of dopamine, which includes a pretty win against Real Sociedad as well as the league title celebration after the match. A loss? You’d still have an exciting league title celebration after, but the mood would be dampened for sure. So for Barca’s sake, they’d be better off siding with fighting for a hard earned win.
Enough of the rambling, let’s get to the match.
Well, let’s just say the first half was a bit of a buzzkill for Barca fans.
The atmosphere was charged, likely because every knew tonight was such a special occasion. However, Barca apparently didn’t get the memo, as they put in a pretty dull showing in the opening 45 minutes.
The first and only crucial letdown, was the opening goal scored by Sociedad. The goal was a result of some careless play by Jules Kounde, who lost possession in his own half, igniting a dangerous counter for Sociedad. Alexander Sorloth picked the pocket of Kounde, and then fired a squared pass towards Mikel Merino, who fired a shot through the legs of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and into the back of the net.
Certainly wasn’t the best start for Barca, but there was still time to reverse the mistake, so the pessimism wasn’t all that high. However, the mistakes continued to pile up for Barca.
Poor defending, turnovers in the attacking third, poor retaining play in the midfield, it just seemed like Barca was out of sorts.
Maybe that’s why Sociedad pounced on the mistakes and continued to create chance, or maybe Sociedad is simply a desperate team fighting for Champions League football and their play reflected such (both can be true), who knows. But what we do know is that Barca weren’t good enough at all in the first half, and that they needed to wake up if they wanted to even make this match competitive in the final 45 minutes.
Unfortunately for Barca, the second half was almost as bad as the first, if not worse.
The second half was pretty dreadful to watch in all honesty.
Barca still dealt with the same problems, as well as the same stagnation in attack that has plagued this squad few too many times this season.
All the while these struggles were going on, Sociedad found a way to score their second goal of the game. This time by way of Sortloth, who found himself involved in another goal scoring action for Sociedad.
Sorloth got the goal by combining with the rest of the Sociedad front line, before thrusting himself in on a 1v1 against Ter Stegen. Sorloth found the finish easy, and it looked easy too, because he simply slid the shot past Ter Stegen with his left foot and calmly into the back of the net.
Now Barca were down 2-0, and the celebrations were in serious danger of being trampled on because of an uninspiring display at the Camp Nou. The unexciting action continued for Barca even after this goal too, which was probably the biggest indicator that the intensity and focus just wasn’t at the level where it needed to be.
In the end, Barca found a way to get a goal back, but it was too little too late.
Barca lost their first match at the Camp Nou this season, by a score of 1-2. But again, this night was more so about the celebrations, so the result wasn’t the most pressing thing in the world.
But still, a win would’ve felt nice.
Barca is very, very lucky.
If this was on any matchday that held any sort of importance, we’d have some serious discussions about why the performance was the way it was. Luckily for Barca, this was on a title celebrating night, so the performance itself won’t be a significant point of discussion any time soon.
Looking forward, there’s not much to look forward to in terms of meaningful results for Barca. Instead, we should look out for individual performances from fringe players that are connected to exits from the club, as well as any potential young players that haven’t received much game time so far this season.
Those names include Ansu Fati, Pablo Torre — who had a pretty decent cameo tonight — Franck Kessie, and Ferran Torres. Those are the more notable ones, but they’re also the only ones you should expect. Other young players are either fighting in the third tier of Spanish football with Barca Atletic, or are representing their countries in the ongoing U-17 Euros (Lamine Yamal).
That’s about all I have from tonight, so enjoy the title celebrations and try to not sink in the sea of ongoing transfer rumors.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match will be on Tuesday. It’ll be an away day, as Barca travel to face Real Valladolid, a side fighting to avoid relegation.
See you all then!