Match Review: PSG vs FC Barcelona

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 14: Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain scores his team's fourth goal past Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona at Parc des Princes on February 14, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It’s difficult to put into words the 90 minutes of football I have just watched. Going into any big match Barcelona almost always seem to find another gear, create a bit of magic and come away with a good result, even when they aren’t at their best. Tonight’s game was dreadful. It’s hard to describe it in more detail than that.

Barça started the game flat and the first goal came 18 minutes in from Ángel Di María, a wonderful free-kick that was helped by a defensive wall that left something to be desired. After going 1-0 down, it felt like another game where conceding a goal would make Luis Enrique’s men wake up. It didn’t.

The first half continued but Barcelona were still on a completely different planet, and not in a good way like we so often see. André Gomes had a half chance that he put into the side netting in a match where the Portuguese midfielder lacked any real quality once again.

Later on in the half Lionel Messi lost possession after pressing from Adrien Rabiot and all that Marco Verratti had to do was jog forward unchallenged, play a simple pass to Julian Draxler and it was 2-0.

Barcelona looked completely clueless, they failed to retain or circulate the ball, the midfield, as we have seen so often in recent months, was nowhere to be seen even with the return of Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta,

Sergi Roberto was having an absolutely torrid time at right-back as Unai Emery clearly encouraged PSG to get at him to expose his clear defensive frailties, but it’s harsh to single out Roberto as it would be very difficult to give any player other than Neymar and Marc André Ter Stegen more than a five out of 10.

At half-time it already felt like Barça were looking for a miracle, but with the players in the squad hoping for a miracle isn’t as desperate as it might sound, but Barcelona continued their horrible performance into the second period.

10 minutes into the second half Di María found himself in shooting range after a move that started from goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and the Argentine curled a shot into the top corner. Once again Barcelona failed to put any pressure on the PSG attack and paid the price.

At 3-0 the only real positive could be getting an away goal and Luis Enrique looked to Rafinha to provide some inspiration from the bench, replacing Gomes, but he struggled to make an impact and it wasn’t long before PSG made it four.

Right back Thomas Meunier cleverly got past Neymar who seemed to be the only player even attempting to make a tackle in the build-up. The Belgian jogged through the Barcelona midfield with unbelievable ease, played a simple pass into Edinson Cavani who smashed his shot past Gerard Piqué’s attempted block and Ter Stegen’s attempted save.

Samuel Umtiti had a header hit the post in another of Barça’s few chances late on but even scoring one goal in this tie would have been very undeserved for Enrique’s men.

Barcelona have completed remuntada’s before, but overcoming a four-goal deficit is a massive ask even for a team with the stars that Barça have, and especially if they play anything like they did tonight.

It is inevitable that criticism is going to be everywhere after tonight’s result, and Enrique’s position at the club is a huge talking point at the moment. It seems unlikely that FCB president Josep Maria Bartomeu will relieve Enrique of his duties at this stage but the Asturian leaving when his contract expires in the summer seems almost certain.

Next up for Barça comes a league game at home to Leganés followed by an away trip to Atlético Madrid.


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  • Peter Tinkler

    I didn’t expect such a beating, but I never felt an away win was on tonight.
    It’s all so easy to criticise everything now in hindsight, but that wasn’t a normal loss. That was a annihilation. Deeply troubling to see such a lack of effort. Sometimes you lose, but not in that way in such a pivotal game. It really could have been a heavier defeat. What is particularly hard to stomach is there is definitively no chance of a comeback. I lack the imagination to envisage anything even remotely resembling anything of the sort. And quite frankly they don’t deserve it. A great pity to be out without a fight so soon. What next? A time of deep reflection and a tirade of social media nonsense.
    Well done PSG. The sad thing is, I don’t even think they’ll get close to winning it either…

    • Eivind Niclasen

      It´s a season to forget. It was the right thing to do to give Luis Enrique a two year contract in 2014, but it should never have been extended. It was clear from the beginning of the season that he is drained and out of ideas. Lucky thing that Barca wouldn´t have been allowed to win the league anyway with the imminent sale of Ronaldo to the Chinese league this summer. Papa Perez wants to give his golden boy a parting gift in the form of a rare league title; it has been evident since early in the season with Barca getting consistently robbed while the merengues were only required to show up with the officials doing the dirty work. Simeone was right when he claimed that the league is rigged in favour of RM.

      A cup win may be on the distant horizon, but that´s it. Luis Enrique has turned into Jordi Roura, so the team is left floundering without direction and leadership. It´s also imperative that the board should start to search for Iniesta´s longterm replacement, but his name for sure ain´t André Gomes. Fabregas was the wrong fit for Barca, but Gomes is even worse. A fresh start beckons this summer.

      • Grega Kavčič

        Roura was better. LE is clueless and did damage… a lot of it this year! He even f*** up his “own” buy Vidal. The bromance with gomez and roberto is sickening.

        …but but… he rotates the squad! What a load of bull***. He may have even gotten rid of Messi who every game till last night saved his inept ass.. guess he should have scored 5 huh.

        PS. LE is the highest paid manager, even more than pep and mou! What the f****. :/

        • Kneowell Anyanwu

          and then I wonder, did anyone say all this about pep when he helplessly lost 4-nil to Everton and to Leicester? Was roura better than him then? Why did he ever lose by that margin to a lowly team not even near the calibre of psg? Isn’t he a protegee of the founding father of total football? Didn’t Madrid annihilate a Bayern side led by pep in a champions league tie? Is this kind of loss peculiar to lucho alone? Didn’t we get raped by Bayern with Xavi the maestro and what have you? Was it lucho then too? Why do you have a penchant to magnify things out of proportion once it’s lucho ‘s name attached to it? Lucho ain’t renewing this summer and frankly I am glad he won’t, not because I want him out, but because I want your beloved coach to take over (whoever it is) so that whenever we lose or draw you will be objective enough recognise the fact that coaches do the talking and players do the playing, maybe then you start pointing some fingers to the right quarters on the pitch. Yes you can blame lucho for a number of things, but not for Vidal’s absence cos he started getting his deserved play time and started ahead of roberto, who would you rather play at right back since Vidal is out for the rest of the season, you can’t also blame him tonight that Andre gomes was poor tonight after a very impressive last 2 games (if you were coach you will play the guys in their best forms). And oh go ahead and blame lucho that Messi lost the ball that led to the second goal, Or that messi went missing. Grega I honestly do think lucho should be blamed for stuff like tactics, but for obvious players indiscipline on the pitch and lack of character? We all should be objective enough to point fingers at them.

          • Peter Tinkler

            It was a collective failure. LE made mistakes, and the team as a whole didn’t turn up, which includes the genius of Messi. However, what Barca have given us over the last 8 years or so makes up for this catastrophe. We are blessed to have witnessed so many extraordinary moments of outlandishly good football. A lot of teams (including big clubs) are content with brilliant performances and results occasionally. We witnessed them on nearly a weekly basis…for years.
            What a privilege. Then one terrible result comes along, and people scream their outrage. Grow. The. F**k. Up.

          • Peter Tinkler

            PS. I enjoy your cool headed, rational views Kneowell.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Thanks Peter, can say the same for you too

          • Pius Kamau

            Hahaha bromance is a nice thing but lemmi give you a red alert warning: Barcelona seems to be heading in the wrong direction unless somethings change.

          • Pius Kamau

            Dude, the fact that some Barca players don’t want Lucho should end this debate pronto. it’s not about winning and losing, your favorite hero Lucho who’s tactical prowess seems fictional CHANGED AND TRASHED BARCELONA’S FOOTBALLING MODEL AND PHILOSOPHY. His buys says it all, his non-existent tactics stays it all, we lost to Bayern 4-0 because of GENUINE UNFORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANTIAL FACTORS – remind me when Barca lost with 4-0 margins 3 or 2 times in the span of a season to underdogs (Celta, Bilbao)….what in blazes is wrong with you man??…..have you ever provided any valid reason for you consistent support for Luis Enrique?…if so kindly do give just 3 reasons.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Whatever makes you comfortable man, like I said, I can’t wait for your new manager already, and hope that,call them false equivalencies, but they still happened and my darling pep wasnt spared either. So why should I beat my head about what you imagine about the man?

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            which barca players if I may ask?

        • serko10

          dude, why are you still posting here regularly? You have too much sense for this place. Don’t you ever get tired of some of these delusional people so far off from reality and grasping at straws so absurdly hard trying to grasp at non-arguments, logical fallacies, false equations, diversion tactics, removing all nuances and context to suit their agenda? I gave up and once in a blue moon come back here to confirm every time the same situation that people here have 0 vision of the bigger picture and many here i suspect do not watch every game closely, because the way they speak means either their minds are closed or their eyes are damaged.

          • futbolistaviva

            Why are you trolling here if you think you know more than everyone else?
            You sound like the so-called President of the USA.

            You are not a fan of football if you think you know more than anyone or cannot have an intelligent discussion.

            Grow up and stop acting like the man baby running the USA.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Wonder what you always come back to this ship to do? your new found ship isn’t home like it promised? lmao

          • serko10

            lol man. you crack me up. hilarious . no, seriously, you crack me up. always. not intentionally, but you do.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            Naaah you amuse yourself cos quite frankly I ain’t amusing, yes there are arguments about lucho that are valid like I always maintain, but I mentioned pep cos I’ll love to see such arguments against pep in this space like we see in England how he’s stubborn to what he believes in, losing heavily yet keeping faith more like same thing we criticized lucho for

        • futbolistaviva

          I think if you care to discuss the facts like an adult, Lucho has won far more trophies than Roura ever did or will.
          Another fact you should learn is that in club futbol, Lucho is the Keith highest paid manager in 2017.

          • Pius Kamau

            Please get some little reality check – LUCHO CHANGED BARCA’S traditional footballing philosophy and all the basics were trashed. He showed a gazillion times he’s an average manager, our board also is to blame for hiring pathetic coaches.

      • Kneowell Anyanwu

        Really don’t know where you got this news of Ronaldo going to China from, you keep repeating an unconfirmed story, does Ronaldo look to you like he’ll agree to play in China? Hell no! Not when he’s still capable of scoring 40-50 plus goals a season and is seriously looking to overtake Messi’s balon dor record. Come off that story pal, china ain’t happening for Ronaldo this soon, Psg maybe (since they are about the only European club that’s magnanimous enough to offer to hand Perez a blank cheque for Ronaldo) but certainly not china where his fame will die and where he won’t be recognized on the balon dor podium ever again. Not even Perez can force that move in my opinion. But then again, it remains to be seen.

        • Eivind Niclasen

          Ronaldo isn´t scoring 40-50 goals per season anymore. His CL tally this season is a meagre 2 goals and he is trailing Messi and Suarez in the league. The story about Ronaldo going to China is still just a rumour, but it makes sense. He can´t do it from the wing anymore, because his accelleration has left him. Therefore he has been converted into a no.9 by Zidane. Even though playing closer to goal, his decline is painfully apparent, and the papers have started to write about the likes of Bale and Vasquez instead. Aduriz and Iago Aspas look far more dangerous than Ronaldo does this season, to be frank.
          I don´t think his vanity will permit him to continue at RM next season. The press still fawns over him, because his PR team is good at virtue signalling. The latest piece of ludicrous do-goodery involved saving a dog kennel somewhere in Portugal. How desperate is that? Players usually vanish from public view when they go to China, but that could change if some Chinese club with more money than sense decides to inherit his current contract. Rooney is going to China, so imagine them playing together again. The PL fanboys would cry tears of joy.

          We all know the press would follow Ronaldo to the end of the world, so why not China? Plus, Papa Perez may be an immoral shitbag, but he knows a good deal. He could probably still get an outrageous fee for Ronaldo by shipping him out to Beijing.

          • Kneowell Anyanwu

            dude won the balon dor and world best just a couple of months ago, and yes he’s still got it in him, it’s just half season And he’s got about 25goals in all competitions, go ahead and bet against him scoring 40-50 at your own peril.
            secondly, the press follows no one to China because in footballing terms china is not recognized on the global stage.
            Perez might have a thing for good deals but Ronaldo is too big for him to just throw Around anywhere you need to understand that.
            I’m not saying Ronaldo will remember when ain’t in Madrid, psg looks the most likely destination cos they’ve got the cash to throw around, his next stop may be back to man u. But that’s less likely.
            Dudes stillhingry for personal glory, china ain’t gonna help that ambition

      • futbolistaviva

        You are such a negative person like Debbie Downer.
        FYI, Roura never won a trophy.
        Cronaldo isn’t going to China.
        I think you should stop watching Barca as you are not a fan of the club.

  • futbolistaviva

    What a rough night for us cules. That was a good old fashioned butt kicking.
    PSG were very physical and a much deserved win for them. Congrats to them and their fans.
    I think the tie is over.

    The match was won in midfield. Rabiot, Verratti, Matuidi and Draxler were outstanding.
    Big props to Unai Emery as he knows how to stack up against us from his days at Sevilla.

    Barca had no bite in midfield. Iniesta was a shadow of himself. Gomes is just over his head and cannot put together 90 minutes of disciplined futbol. He is a train wreck offensively.
    Busquets, as good as he is, is just so slow against a side like PSG.
    Why Lucho stuck with a 3 man midfield against PSG 4 is mystifying. I think he will not be renewed and possibly might get sacked before the season is out.

    Messi and Suarez were way off form and Neymar despite showing a couple of decent runs, consistently gives the ball away after dribbling into 3-4 defenders and cannot seem to hit the broad side of a barn with his shots.

    The back four for Barca is a never ending box of chocolates. I honestly thought Roberto played his best match at right fullback in months. Umtiti had a very poor night.

    PSG played the way tonight that Barca used to. A relentless high press.

    • John Southard

      Picque also had a very bad night. Neither him or Umtiti would step up and challenge the attacker with the ball. Then they were constantly caught in no man’s land between the attacker and the runners. The whole team collectively played like crap to be honest. None of them were quick to the ball. Never seen Messi lose the ball so much. A complete mess. Messi seriously needs to stay over on the right side. This crap of moving him underneath Suarez often means there is literally no right forward and it creates big holes for the other team to exploit. Maybe this was the plan. But in other games where he was definitely playing right forward again he drifts to the middle so often they don’t have to play Barca straight up.

  • Jerapat Dusdeesurapoj

    Umm…I hope this will open the board’s and all their stupid supporters’ eyes.

  • Jerapat Dusdeesurapoj

    Is there anyone still supporting Enrique in here?

    • David

      No, but he still deserves the utmost respect on his way out. He played his part, and as fans of such a great club, let’s please be classy about this.

  • Jason Rodriguez

    It’s weird that LE said that he played a 4-2-3-1 formation, when that’s not how it looked like! I think that -that formation would have worked, but only if he utilized the right players! Plus, it should’ve been a formation that has played together in the past, and not just every now and then!

    • Bastion

      Is this a joke? hahaha you literally have no midfield there. Rakitic and Gomes are all lungs, no sense of first touch or control. PSG wouldve scored more with that lineup you have there

  • papa

    i am convinced Messi had a fall out with something, somebody, he looked very disinterested. i know his look, he just could not be bothered. I suspect it was because Gomes was included in the squad, he wanted another formation. it is just my feeling. No tears will be shared by me when Enriues leave

  • Zafar Saidov

    Well the Coach should be resigned last night after the game.. because he messed up all the things.. 1 gomes should stop bi in 11. 2 iniesta should be benched. 3 Sergio roberto is not the right person on the right back.. honestly i have seen him last night at the game if the coach was near to me i have already punched himmm.. lucho seeing the problem coming from these players he should benched them immediately.. all the goals was teally simple gogoal which PSG did not deserve them.. the only problem those goals came from nowhere honestly..

  • Omar Hunte

    Luis Enrique’s overall report card has got to be on a D average by now.
    From man management to tactics to decision making has been very poor.
    Personally, I am not going to miss him when he’s gone.

  • Pius Kamau

    I wonder where Knoewell the fanatical Lucho apologist is????