Three matches without win were more than enough for high-aiming Barça B. The FC Barcelona reserves managed to rediscover their scoring boots after three goalless matches and after dominating Catalan neighbors Sabadell for the best part of ninety minutes on Saturday afternoon, the Blaugranas got a comfortable win. The win was the first for Gerard López against Sabadell, but nothing would have been possible without the poacher instincts of Dani Romera.
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.
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.
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.
If there’s something that characterises this year’s Barcelona B, then that must be the team’s incredibly strong fighting spirit. In the five matches they have played so far, Gerard López’s men have won four times, and for three of these wins, they had to wait until the final ten minutes to score the winning goal. It was no different this weekend. Against Atlético Baleares, a team that came to the Miniestadi for Saturday’s match while on a four-game unbeaten run, the reserves left it late to seal the three points that rubber stamped their return to the top of the table after last week’s defeat saw them drop from the top.
Good things can’t last forever. Barcelona B’s winning run in the Spanish third tier came to an end on Sunday at El Collao, against a combative Alcoyano side that will certainly rival the Blaugranas for promotion. Gerard López did say last week that the match against Alcoyano would be war; the coach was proved right as the game was intensely contested and, above all, contained lots of controversy. The Blaugranas almost completed a miraculous comeback after coming back from 2-0 down, but this time round, they were defeated in the same way that the won last week, thanks to a late goal scored by the hosts.
During the international break, attention usually swings away from club football. For Barcelona B though, the weekend was not the time for switching off. Gerard López and his charges hosted Villarreal B, one of the promotion contenders this weekend, in a match the coach conceded last week would be one of the toughest for the team in the first round of the league season. The Blaugranas though, riding the wave of positivity that has been carrying them for the past two weeks, managed to sink the Yellow Submarine and take a win that installed them as the sole league leaders. To get there though, the reserves had to suffer.
Barcelona B kicked off their 2016-17 season on Saturday, and after last season’s disappointment, Gerard López’s men did what they had to do to start their season on high note. In front of just 850 spectators at the Miniestadi, the reserves began their quest to come from the ‘well’ (a name for the Segunda División B due to the complexity of its promotion system) against tiny Atlético Saguntino, who just gained promotion to Spain’s third tier after negotiating the way up from the Tercera División. Gerard’s side dominated the match from start to end, but once again the team’s defensive frailties meant the match went for a grandstand finish, with MVP Marc Cardona sealing the win and three points for the reserves in stoppage time.
On Thursday the 21st of July, Barcelona and Hamburg reached an agreement for the sale of 20-year-old Alen Halilović for 5 million euros. Barcelona have the option to buy the Croatian back over the next two seasons for 10 million euros as well as the first option to purchase the player for as long as he is at the German club, but is this the end of Halilović’s Barça dream?
For most top clubs around the world, preseason is a bit of a pain, with lots of travelling and a lot of hard work to prepare for the upcoming season. The Barça squad, which will be unfamiliar due to the Copa América and European Championships, will have a training camp at the St George’s Park training complex in Burton-upon-Trent in England between the 25th and 30th of July, before playing their first preseason fixture in Dublin, Ireland against Celtic on the night of the 30th, then on to Stockholm, Sweden to play Premier League champions Leicester City on the 3rd of August and finally they come back to the United Kingdom to play Liverpool at Wembley in London, England.
Over the years, Barcelona have preferred to field very rotated sides in these friendlies, with lots of youngsters joining the trip to gain quality experience with the first team squad and coaches, and showing what they can do with the possibility of more first team action in their minds. But which youngsters could take the trip to England for the training camp?