Review: Barça put four past Deportivo La Coruña

Luis Enrique’s men took to the field this afternoon to make a point- that they could manage to come back from an international break and still play at the highest level. And that is exactly what they achieved.

No one likes the international break, and it is for good measure. The international break has a way of halting momentum, usually at crucial junctures of the season. However, at this stage, it might have come to our advantage. Lucho’s men took to the field after a chaotic match, away at Celta Vigo, which saw us concede four goals. On paper, Rafinha had been scheduled to start as a “right back”, but not for the first time this season, this move turned out to be smoke and mirrors. Lucho once again to chose to live life on the edge by using a 3-4-3 formation, with Rafinha, in fact, pushing forward to occupy the right-forward slot, with Arda Turan right behind him operating as a right-wing. Jérémy Mathieu, Gerard Piqué, and Javier Mascherano occupied the three-man defence, in what promised to be an interesting choice, as our defence had been battered in our previous outing against Celta Vigo. Luis Enrique had once again rolled the dice, and it all went in his favour.

The game started at a fast pace, as the ball was flung side to side to open Deportivo up, who initially seemed determined to clamp down all possible danger, especially whenever either Neymar or Luis Suárez received the ball. Luis Suárez could have opened the scoring in the 7th minute, as he missed what seemed a simple open header. This, however, mattered not, as Rafinha opened the scoring through an excellent effort on his weaker right foot. The Brazilian will be ecstatic with his performance this afternoon as he was a livewire and constant threat on the right flank. This goal also came at a crucial juncture in the game as Lucho’s men have been prone to dragging out games longer than they should when they have not taken advantage of early chances. This seemed to ease the pressure, as the tempo increased a notch, with Neymar remaining a bundle of creativity in Messi’s absence.

An area that will continue to concern Lucho will be our consistent inability to get the ball out of defence from the restart. There were instances in which Deportivo pushed high up the field during these moments, which resulted in sloppy play and dispossession of the ball. Mathieu was guilty of some cringe-worthy moments of sloppy play and slow feet when he was put under pressure in the first half, however, still managed to put in a solid 90 minutes.

Rafinha’s second goal came off a toe-flick into the net after a set piece. The Brazilian at this point had scored two goals and looked capable of a third. This was then followed by a vintage Luis Suárez goal, which came off excellent link-up play between himself and Neymar. Suárez managed to lose his marker after some smart movement and an exquisite first touch, which set himself up for a fine left-footed finish, all at the tail end of the first half.

The third goal allowed Lucho to breathe, as he brought on Paco Alcácer, who had what can be described as an unlucky performance, to say the least, as the Spaniard missed a number of chances to get his name on the score sheet. Still, the Camp Nou faithful remained calm and supportive of their charger, who now should be desperate to put the ball in the back of the net. Messi was brought on for Sergio Busquets in his first performance since returning from injury, as he operated in a deep-lying playmaker role, pulling the strings and remaining a constant threat. It didn’t take long for Messi to get on the scoresheet, though, as Neymar once again provided the assist, as Messi was met with a slick pass while making a run into the box to finish at the near top corner.

From here on, it was unrelenting pressure from Luis Enrique’s men, who played with no mercy and looked to prove a point. International breaks can always prove tricky, as they suck out whatever momentum had been created by the team. Deportivo’s right back Laure was given a red card after what looked to be an elbow on Neymar’s chin, to make matters worse for Gaizka Garitano’s men, as the pressure piled up. In the end, it was a comfortable afternoon for Lucho and co, as the Camp Nou faithful went into carnival mode and enjoyed the rest of the evening. This was an important victory, and a standard bearer to look at as how to react after an international break.

Luis Enrique should be very pleased with this performance. It is the exact response he will have wanted after a losing to Celta, and the exact kind of platform to build from, with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City looming this coming week in what promises to be an interesting UEFA Champions League group stage match. There were some signs that Lucho already had his eye on Wednesday’s encounter, as Andrés Iniesta took no part in today’s game. And so we move our attention to what will surely be a circus of media attention as Pep once again comes “home”.


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  • Kneowell Anyanwu

    Lucho shouldn’t have benched iniesta, it’s simple maths, rafinha, arda and rakitic can’t create a thing, why didn’t he play Aleix vidal? Paco is useless, Mattieu has no business being on our defence. It’s clear now that Lucho is a mediocre couch, he’s too stubborn and lacks the tactical acumen befitting of a barca coach, our football is regressing, why make so many changes? Why not start with our regular 11 then change when we are 2 or 3 goals up? The board should sack Lucho, he’s killing barca.

    (I took this off the tongue of many cules here that were waiting and wishing we lost the game just to prove their points)

    • Travis Morphy

      Hahahaha I must admit u got me I was like damm are you the one saying these only to get to buttom of ur msg to show u April fooled me lol forget those useless cules they are glory hunters some will even call for Messi to start these game believe

      • Kneowell Anyanwu

        Lol, I already had that typed when I saw the line up and wanted to immediately paste it on the Match Preview, I just didn’t want to go ahead of myself so I waited patiently for the game to be over. If you can’t trust a coach with all the trophies he’s won in the shortest time then you may never trust him ever. Wait till we draw or lose a match, you’ll see those set of cules immediately splash such comments at every opportunity they get to breathe, it’s a very pathetic trend. All they see and look forward to is an MSN scoring and assisting each other, they never see a mascherano leaving his lines to press the opposing midfielders so as recycle the ball to our attack, neither do they see a rakitic running everywhere, they never appreciate the daunting efforts of all members of the team, rather they chose to praise only MSN for our victories and trophies but don’t fail to pounce on the coach when we lose or draw a single match. Very annoying set of fans crippled with ingratitude. They simply don’t remember days like this when a Rafinha stole the show, or when a sergi roberto called the shots, or when an arda turan and a rakitic combine to give us a much needed victory all adding valuable 3points here and there, they don’t believe the coach is responsible for these too, they only wait till MSN combine and score to tell you “surely you can’t give lucho any credit for this”… it’s just very funny and pathetic. Anyways I’m not surprised, even the great Mourinho once stated that Failure only has one father, the coach, while success has many fathers and attributed only to the players. Such myopic cules only agree with that comment.

        • Grega Kavčič

          Clueless dude strikes again.

          The only improvements seen under LE are sadly for him, stuff that Unzue does. Lucho and Zidane are both clueless. Zidane is lucky and can still mask his icompetence becouse the team respects him very much,

          Lucho already spent all of his credit this year. Celta is really poor right now and points like that will be hard to find at the end of this season.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Lol, Grega my dear friend, it’s ok that we disagree on many grounds without disrespecting each other.
            I completely agree if you call Zidane lucky and clueless even with the UCL trophy, that could be a coincidence. But can one be 7 times lucky? Oh well, I can also consider Lucho lucky to have these players just as pep was lucky to have his calibre of players in his days in barca (pep himself mentioned yesterday that big clubs in Spain are able to achieve and stay up there in the past 7 years in the European competitions because they have excellent players) that establishes the fact that no coach gets lucky without excellent players to execute the coaches ideas or strategies. You say Lucho is clueless, but I would rather believe our players (iniesta, rakitic, mascherano) who all came out to say Lucho’s ideas are clear and straight forward then in his first season, and over two seasons he’s also acquired the right players who has helped execute these ideas which has helped him get ‘lucky’ with his supposed cluelessness. So I guess it’s a case of Lucho creating his own Luck.
            You wanna give his credit to Unzue? Oh well, you might as well give pep’s credits to Tito who was just as visible and active besides pep the way Unzue is to Lucho. And don’t forget, Lucho recruited Unzue, again, that’s Lucho creating his own luck, that’s a smart coach. The world’s best and most celebrated CEOs and bosses are not the ones who are everywhere doing it all by themselves, but they are those who have been able to identify and hire the best and smartest talents out there while also maximizing the available resources they have to suit the specific goals and overall vision of their businesses, this throws Lucho in the mix of such CEOs/ bosses. Hate him all you want, but remember this, no one equals pep’s 2 seasons scorecard being clueless, no one achieves huge success in almost record time being clueless, that’s not just possible even where you come from.

          • Grega Kavčič

            He is not a difference maker, I give him more credit for coaching barca b than the first team. He will never be a success after barca and he WILL quit himself becouse he has an ego problem.

            Believe our players? Dafuq you really serious? Would like to try some of the stuff you are smoking dude.

            So… should I also trust what Real players are saying? That CR is the best by far, Messi not even close? Everyday you can read bullshit like this and they are not even asked by journalists. Why? Becouse they know wat they will say and just blow smoke up their teamates asses or coaches. Happens in every team. Mou came to Madrid, CR was THE best player by far! Now ask him. The spanish league was the best by far…now ask him. Pep also same bullshit.

            If a player like lets say Arda started placing CR above Messi there would be turmoil even if Leo would not give a f***. If Leo would not back lucho in public the journos would have a field day, Marca would move all of them to barcelona to poke in every whole possible so they would fall out.

            No… they can. It is just like formula 1. You cannot fail with a car that is a second faster on a lap. You can f*** tactics on a race or two but cannot loose the title. Lucho is f***** up races with a very fast car.

            I’ll give the point to you as far as Unzue goes, count him in luchos favour… pretty poor if you have to go to these details to make him look good. 🙂

            Funny how you have not answered 90% of my post and still wrote a ton. :S

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Muse yourself all you want Grega, yeah I get it, Lewis Hamilton is the best in the world because he drives the fastest car on track, messi is the best because he plays a different ball, it’s a coincidence that isco named his dog messi, pique is vocally pro catalan because he want s to make the spanish press feel good, messi is called the best in the world because pep and those who regard him just wants to make him feel good. Yeah lucho is f****** up races with really fast cars and has won 5 out of 6 races in 2 seasons (something a Lewis Hamilton and pep would be proud of. How about that for a fcuked up driver with the fastest car?) and yeah pep always talks bullshit but it’s still easier and makes common sense to take the bullshit of worldclass players and coaches than take the bull crap you post on here and frankly if you smoke the pot I smoke you would find it hard to believe the bull crap you post too.

            Lucho won’t be a success outside barca? Oh well it looks like Lucho has got himself a hater as an eternal follower, LMAO! News flash, I only give a fcuk about what he does at barca. As much as you follow pep I doubt you would want his man city to win if we met in the UCL final (except ofcourse your hatred for goes that bones deep that you’ll rather see your club fail under him)

            About Lucho and Unzue, well it’s a pity you would isolate him of the contribution of coaching staff, his own team he personally assembled, who goes that low?

            Apparently the ton I wrote caught your fancy and made you write 2 tons, so much for one who’s not worth talking to. Wow am I not flattered?

          • Grega Kavčič

            Not only balbla its blahblah blah.

            Where in your posts do you see me dissing Messi? Some of you other so caled cules had him finished a while back and placed your bets on Neymar already. That was really a new form of stupid.

            Maybe lucho could draw you what I mean on a drawing board or iPad…atleast he would be useful for something. 🙂 I don’t care much about Pep, he gave up to early and was really poore with regards to a plan b. Here, we have no plan A, so cheers to the players keeping motivation up high, coes luchos tactical know how surely won’t help.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Like I said, muse yourself, and kid yourself too. I have never dissed a douglas, let alone messi. Whatever you think of lucho, I can’t stop loving the “lucky, clueless, fcuked up coach with zero tactical nuance”. Such coaches seem to have a magnet for trophies, and don’t I love trophies!

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            And uhmmmm, guess who trashed us 4-0 last season in the league, then guess who won the league.

          • Grega Kavčič

            Oh I forgot you are really not worth “talking” to.

            Leicester also won the EPL last year, look at them now. Celta this year is very poor and can only be judged on this years form and team and why the hell not? Last year they were a top 4 team just a few fu’ps @ seasons end.

  • Kneowell Anyanwu
  • I really would have preferred that Vidal played, and we used 4-3-3 instead of 3-4-3, the players don’t look comfortable in that system.
    also Masche and Mathieu need to be benched

    • Kneowell Anyanwu

      The coach plays according to the formation which he thinks will win the match especially in the absence of messi, we played 4-3-3 against deportivo in camp nou in the past 3 meetings, the players were comfortable, we didn’t win any.

  • James Anderson

    Great post… Its really appreciable… keep sharing!!!