The Blaugrana could have crushed Actual Valladolid 1-Zero to stretch their Liga lead however the show raised severe doubts over their Champions League hopes
First, the excellent news: Barcelona suffered no accidents in beating Actual Valladolid 1-Zero on Saturday evening to maneuver seven factors clear on the high of La Liga.
Now, the dangerous information: every part else about this efficiency.
Certainly, one of the best factor that one may say about it was that the second half wasn’t fairly as horrid as the primary.
Barcelona had been atrocious within the opening 45 minutes, showing to play the sport as if it had been actually a warm-up for subsequent week’s Champions League conflict with Lyon, and so they solely led on the interval because of a penalty from Lionel Messi.
In reality, they had been fortunate to not be behind, with Nacho having blown a rare four-on-two break simply moments earlier than Gerard Pique – of all folks – was bundled over within the Valladolid space within the 43rd minute.
The centre-half’s choice to enterprise ahead was hardly shocking.
Barca had been sluggish and stagnant in midfield, and totally ineffective in assault.
The temptation would in fact be in charge Kevin Prince-Boateng, who endured a horrendous Liga debut for Barca.
Nevertheless, it’s not his fault that the Catalans opted for a cut-price possibility through the January switch window when their want for one more high quality centre-forward has been evident since Paco Alcacer was allowed to affix Borussia Dortmund at the beginning of the season.
Krzysztof Piatek was accessible however he was allowed to affix AC Milan, that means on the identical evening he was plundering his sixth aim in 5 appearances for the Rossoneri, Boateng was toiling up entrance for Barca.
It was truly robust to observe. The likeable and multi-talented striker practically cleared the stand with one effort halfway by way of the second half.
When he was put clear by way of on aim moments later, he did not even handle to get a shot away, which prompted an embarrassing try and win a penalty, after which a determined enchantment for a nook.
Finally, he may do nothing however put his head in his arms.
This was a nightmare first Liga outing for Boateng after his dream transfer to Camp Nou and it’ll hit him laborious.
However he should not be made the scapegoat on an evening when so many gamers underperformed.
As Pique identified afterwards, whereas this may increasingly have been a much-needed win for Barca after back-to-back attracts in La Liga, they had been collectively terrible.
“It is vital to choose up the three factors, however we have now not performed properly and the emotions on the pitch weren’t constructive,” he confessed.
“We struggled in opposition to them. We weren’t shifting the ball fast sufficient and once we do not try this, we endure.”
Boateng’s efficiency could have painfully illustrated how brief on high quality cowl Barcelona stay up entrance however it’s value noting that foremost man Luis Suarez missed three sitters after being launched halfway by way of the second half.
The sport additionally strengthened the suspicion that Ousmane Dembele is – a minimum of till he matures – going to be a type of gamers who’s both unstoppable or unwatchable.
The irritating Frenchman was inevitably changed by Philippe Coutinho, who, much more predictably, didn’t impress.
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Even the good Lionel Messi endured a irritating night, lacking a second penalty within the dying levels that will have made the sport protected.
Because it was, Barcelona moderately fell over the end line, doing nothing to banish the suspicion that their Champions League hopes will as soon as once more hinge solely upon Messi’s genius.
That’s actually not excellent news. Actually, it’s not even information in any respect!