Barcelona B, leader of Group 3 of the Segunda B with 57 points, managed to return to winnng ways this weekend after two consecutive draws. The Blaugranas hosted a relegation-threatened UE Llagostera at the Miniestadi, and at the end of the ninety minutes they ensured that their Catalan neighbours wouldn’t be able to breath any easier, dealing them a heavy 4-0 defeat that was accompanied by plenty of spectacle.
For a while now, I’ve had this feeling: this was not how it was supposed to go for Luis Enrique’s Barça. It’s not just that the team has lost games, or not played as beautifully as it should given the caliber of players at its disposal. It’s not even that Luis Enrique announced he will leave at the end of this season – that seemed likely even before Christmas. It’s that the evolution of this team over three seasons fundamentally has not made sense to me.
After such an incredible comeback, it is very hard for a single person to describe what it meant and what it felt like. So it seems like the best thing to do is curate all of the videos, tweets, images and everything in between to really get a feeling of what this all means.
To put what we have all just witnessed into words will be impossible. But I will do my best.
If any of you have ever seen The Departed (no spoilers here), do you remember that part in the elevator where you thought it was about to end well and then it suddenly didn’t end well at all? With this win over Atlético Madrid on Sunday, La Liga has become that elevator scene. And yes, Real Madrid also won against Villareal, but they were anything but convincing – and once again, dubious referee decisions (yes, again) allowed Real back into the match. FC Barcelona are closing up the gap, and Sevilla don’t appear to be going anywhere. While this ain’t Boston, that elevator scene might be playing out over the next few weeks.
This project is over. And it has ended in explosive fashion.
It was about time. Barcelona B rediscovered their best version in Cornellà, and after exhibiting their superiority against a rival which had beaten them in the first round match at the Miniestadi, Gerard’s men took home all three points with a 2-0 win that rather flatters the hosts. Barcelona B’s revenge on their Catalan neighbors was based on the team’s defensive solidity and the attacking effectiveness. The winning cocktail of the two ensured that the Blaugranas maintained their slender one-point lead at the top of the table for yet another week.
This team has not looked worse in years. After probably the worst and most humbling performance since being hammered in historic fashion by Bayern Munich in 2013, CD Leganés had been identified as a match in which culés the world over had expected a thirst-quenching response. And after a fairly straightforward goal within the first five minutes by a seemingly frustrated Lionel Messi, we could be forgiven for expecting a ruthless release of frustration. But it was not to be. Instead, as the game wore on, it seemed this would be yet another complicated evening for Luis Enrique’s men.
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.