COUTINHO FOR JANUARY
Barça contacts Liverpool’s Brazilian, who will leave for 30 million
MADRID DROPS TWO POINTS IN THE DERBI
Keylor Navas, who stopped a penalty, saved the blancos from a loss
LUIS ENRIQUE AFRAID OF SUFFERING UNTIL JANUARY
THE TEAM ASK FOR PRESSURE FOR ARDA TURAN
Losing to Sevilla at the Sánchez Pizjuán is not a cause for panic; certainly not when Barça will at worst be two points behind Real Madrid by the end of the weekend. If the Madrid derby goes Atlético Madrid’s way, Barça could even be ahead of their arch rivals (though behind league leaders Villarreal, remarkable as that is to say).
Nor is this, however, a bogey game where Barça did everything possible and the ball simply would not go in. That bad luck argument is tempting given how many shots Barça took, but how many were good opportunity shots? Sergio Rico made many saves, it’s true, but most were less death-defying miracles and more a vigilant keeper doing his job. Simply put, Barça needed to do a lot more than improve their finishing.
Lucho surprised at Sevilla result
As you may or have not noticed, the culé world is cursing the goalposts at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Things aren’t very different for Luis Enrique. The pick of his quotes from his post-match press conference was rather simple. “It was a game in which we had a lot of chances. It’s almost unbelievable that we walk out of here with just one goal,” said Lucho, who then went on with setting up a contrast of his team’s play with Sevilla’s. “They took advantage of the chances they had,” said Lucho, seemingly disappointed at his forwards. When asked about Barça’s less-than-impressive goalscoring exploits, Lucho did have some words of optimism. “We don’t have the best numbers but I’m sure that’ll change in the coming games,” said the Asturian.
You better do something to change them, Lucho.
Barcelona B are taking the very long way to the top. That is the only thing we can infer from the reserves’ performances so far. Seven weeks into the league season, Barcelona B only have 6 points, yet they have a better defensive record than the Barcelona first team. Yesterday in Valencia against Atlético Levante, Barcelona B got their favourite result, 0-0 for the second week running and for the third time overall. Just like last week against Hércules, there was the feeling that Gerard López’s men could have had more.
Unlike previous weeks, Gerard López seemed to be striving to find ways to repeat the same lineup for the second week running, a feat which has proven to be somewhat complicated for the young coach so far. For all of his best efforts though, Luis Enrique made sure that he would be unable to do so by calling up last week’s MVP Juan Cámara for the first team’s trip to Sevilla. What López was able to do though, was to retain the 4-4-2 shape, with the Samper-Ros double pivot and the Dongou-Rolón duo. Enguene and Aitor lined up as wide midfielders, while Sergi Palencia was picked ahead of Elohor Godswill at right-back.
TOO MUCH WOODWORK
MISFORTUNE CONDEMNED A BARÇA THAT DIDN’T DESERVE TO LOSE
Neymar scored a penalty and Ney, Suárez and Sandro crashed three shots into the woodwork
A PLAY WITH TWO GOAL POSTS
Piqué failed to take the shot after the post (not in the picture) first kept out Neymar’s free kick and later, bounced off the back of the keeper
Barça lost in Sevilla after Neymar, Suárez and Sandro hit the ball against the woodwork
The lack of punch and the defensive errors counted against Luis Enrique’s team
Ney saved face and made a penalty, accompanied by Sergi Roberto who also shone
Bravo joins the team on Sevilla trip
At long last, the Claudio Bravo has been given the medical green-light and is available for the game against Sevilla FC. The Chilean shot-stopper injured his calf muscle during training in September but he rejoins the team at a crucial time.
Bravo’s injury was supposed to be a chance for Marc-André ter Stegen to make his case for being first-choice keepr clear, but the German international found himself under enormous pressure as people blamed him for nearly every single goal conceded. He was indeed at fault for some of the goals but blaming him for every one is completely unhelpful. That being said, Claudio Bravo could be the starter for the match at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
Back from a tough trip to Turin, Unai Emery’s Sevilla continue their search for last season’s form in what has been an extremely frustrating campaign so far. The Europa League winners have finally joined Europe’s elite and are competing in the Champions League, but fate has it that Sevilla’s return to the UCL would feature them form this year’s group of death alongside last year’s finalists Juventus FC and England’s Manchester City. It’s not looking any prettier in La Liga as well as Sevilla – currently 16th – have only won five out of 18 possible points with a single win recorded in six games. And while both FC Barcelona and Sevilla are struggling in terms of performance, Barça are still managing to get the results.
Neymar celebrates his 100th game as a blaugrana today and hopes to dedicate a triumph to Messi
“Leo is the best and we want to win for him,” said the Brazilian crack
LUCHO, WARRIOR: “I see that there is enthusiasm to turn things around”
PREMIER LEAGUE: Mou says this is “the worst moment in his career”