It was a game where the scoreline didn’t totally reflect the state of the game, but culés should be very satisfied with the 3 points. FC Barcelona finally managed to take 3 points against Málaga for the first time since Luis Enrique has taken the helm. With shades of Sergio Busquets’ volley at Mestalla last season, Thomas Vermaelen stepped up to win the game and ensure that the club stays 2 points ahead of Real Madrid. More after the break.
Barcelona B have turned a page this season, trying to make a new start in the Segunda B after last season’s disastrous performances in the Liga Adelante. We at totalBarça have decided to go along with the team and are pleased to present our new weekly ‘Barça B roundup’ series. In this week’s inaugural edition, we will look at Barcelona B’s not-so-wonderful debut in the Segunda División B, as well as this week’s news.
On Sunday, Barça opened La Liga against Athletic Bilbao, a team that had bested them convincingly in the Super Cup and convinced the world the champions were in peril. They traveled to San Mamés without Neymar Jr., Gerard Piqué, and Jérémy Mathieu, and over the course of the match lost Dani Alves and Sergio Busquets to injury. The average age of the Catalans’ substitutes was somewhere around 20 years old. And yet, despite all that, Barça won convincingly, just as my colleague Enrique had predicted – all this while title rivals Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid struggled against newly promoted Las Palmas and Sporting Gijón. So how did they do it?
Not much to say. Run that game again and a remuntada isn’t farfetched. FC Barcelona played a very satisfactory first half, taking the game to Athletic Club from the onset and rarely taking their foot off the gas. There was plenty of visible hunger and desire, that at times turned into impatience, and a good serving of slick football courtesy of Andrés Iniesta and Luis Súarez. Gerard Piqué hit the bar early on, which just may have been the impetus to inspire Barça and unnerve Bilbao. But as Barça pushed and pushed, Bilbao found gaps opening up to them and only a poor finish from Jaiver Eraso 37 minutes in kept the tie alive. Not long after, Barcelona finally scored following some delicious football and an exquisite chested assist from Suárez to Messi.
A night to forget, that’s what it is. After a troublesome match in Tbilisi, many hoped for a better showing from FC Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup as the quest for the sextuple continues. That, sadly, wasn’t nearly the case. Yesterday Barcelona lost 0-4 to Athletic Club in the competition’s first leg at the San Mámes, with Aritz Aduriz scoring a hat-trick and becoming the first player since 2005 to achieve that feat against Barcelona. Many issues are to be addressed and many questions will be raised, but what should culés make of this defeat?