Barcelona B are obviously going through a rough patch. For yet another week, Gerard López’s men have failed to win, extending their winless (and also scoreless) streak to three matches. The Blaugranas at least got a point from their visit to Atlético Levante, after two successive defeats that nobody really saw coming. As Gerard López correctly pointed out in the post-match press conference, neither team deserved to win on Sunday.
There has been a lot of finger-pointing going around since our loss to Celta Vigo. A lot of it has come Marc-André Ter Stegen’s way. And sure, he made yet another crucial mistake that cost us points, on a weekend where Real Madrid had dropped points and had presented us an opportunity to make up the points deficit. And sure, this is definitely not the first time Marc has done something of the sort. And yet again, sure, Claudio Bravo was mostly immune to any such mistakes (as we saw on his Manchester City debut). But is it fair to put so much blame on one man?
Much has been made of Sergio Busquets’ recent performances. After all, his form has been rather patchy, to say the least- similarly to that of his team. For the most part, Sergi has been at his brilliant best. That being said, some of his performances have raised some concerns. A pattern has started recently, whereby teams playing a high-intensity press system have managed to make life difficult for Busi. But why? Surely, Busquets has come up against dozens, if not hundreds of teams, employing such a system.
Defeats are, just like wins, a part of the beautiful game. They all hurt, but some defeats hurt harder than others. Barça B suffered a defeat of the painful type this weekend, succumbing to their first home defeat of the season against Catalan neighbours Cornellà. Gerard López’s men controlled the match from start to finish, and should have really clinched the three points from the first 45 minutes of the game. A less intense second half though, coupled with a hotly contested decision by the referee to award the visitors a penalty five minutes from time meant the hosts were left empty-handed.
In a weekend after Champions League play midweek where FC Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City, and Real Madrid all failed to win, the pressure was on FC Barcelona to impress away from home against Celta de Vigo. A win at the Balaídos would also mean Barça would vault to the top of the La Liga table. Unfortunately for the Catalans the Basque side dominated the first half so completely even a mighty club like Barcelona were unable to come back after a late Marc-André ter Stegen blunder.
The second match day in Group C of Champions League play sees FC Barcelona secure a late win two to one away to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Thorgan Hazard gave the home team an early lead in the first half, but second half goals from Arda Turan and Gerard Piqué gave the blaugrana all three points to keep the side top of their group table.
Gerard López´s Barcelona B seems to loving hard life. Nothing else can explain the reserves astonishing knack for getting themselves into trouble, only to stage great escapes just minutes later. This weekend’s match was just another link to the chain of great escapes. Against Mallorca B, a promoted side which had only picked up 4 points from a possible 15 prior to kick-off, Barcelona B could be forgiven to think that things would be sort of easier. The Blaugranas though, always love some drama: they had to fall behind, see the rival have a player send off, equalise and then take the lead, spurn dozens of chances to seal the win, concede an equaliser and then score a late goal to get three points.
FC Barcelona turned up the tempo after a late red card from Gijón and won round six of La Liga away five to nil. Early goals from Luis Suárez and Rafinha gave Barça a secure lead, but it wasn’t until Alberto Lora earned his second yellow that the match was truly put away. After the red, Neymar scored a brace flanked by a goal from Arda Turan in the 85th minute.
Round five of La Liga sees Spain’s first marquee matchup of the season as Barcelona ties Atlético one apiece. The encounter was a defensive one with Ivan Rakitić giving the blaugrana a lead just before the break with a header. Ángel Correa tied the match after a nice dribble and a Javier Mascherano slip.
The last three matches against Atlético Madrid have brought almost no fruit. A 2-1 win in the first leg of the UEFA Champions Quarter Final in Camp Nou (against a 10 man Atlético), a 0-2 loss at the Vicente Calderón in the second leg, and now a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. There are few sides, if any, that are capable of nullifying our team the way Atlético are. Then again, there are few sides, if any, that are capable of the defensive discipline Diego Simeone’s men are. When these two sides clash, it is a battle of Attack vs Defense. A true battle of opposites. So then, does this mean that Atlético indeed has figured us out, and if so, should we be concerned?