Well, that was fun, wasn't it?
Actually, no. It was painful, but it had a happy ending.
FC Barcelona might have saved its Liga season on Sunday night, as a Sergio Busquets goal gave El Blaugrana a last-second 1-0 win over Valencia CF at the Mestalla.
Yes, we should all be happy that Barça got the win, but let's not get too carried away. Barcelona looked poor for most of the game. Lionel Messi was off, as was Neymar. The Barça back line was in trouble for most of the game, with Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu and Jordi Alba receiving yellow cards in the first half. The midfield was not their usual self, but for obvious reasons (more on that in a minute).
But for me, the person that was off on the night was Luis Enrique. As most of you, one of my criticisms of Lucho is the fact that he gets his lineups wrong for certain big games. Against Valencia, Lucho decided to go with Busquets as a CM and Javier Mascherano at CDM. This did not go well, as the flow in the midfield was on there, and an offensive midfielder like Ivan Rakitic was needed. Also, I did not like the fact that Lucho made his last two substitutes, Pedro and Rafinha, so late in the game. Did he not hear about and learn anything from Tata Martino's mistakes?
After the game, Lucho said (via @barcastuff), "The goal wasn't just luck. We work hard on set pieces and it was well-executed."
Um, what? No, Lucho. Luck was most, if not, all of it.
For me, Sergio Busquets just saved Luis Enrique from a week of torture from the media. Once again, Barcelona saved themselves from a disaster in La Liga. But how many times can the team have "luck" on their side? Yes, winning at Valencia is never an easy task, but this team didn't show much at all in the game. How can the team that looked like the 2009 Barça last week against Sevilla look so poor the next week?
I'm happy Barcelona won, but let's keep it real, Valencia deserved a draw. They were putting tremendous pressure on Barça, and came very close to scoring on various occasions. But let's give it up to Claudio Bravo for the great game. His tremendous save on both a Sofiane Feghouli shot and later an Alvaro Negredo shot late in the game kept Barcelona alive.
Incredible save by Bravo https://t.co/W5a7sJ5eT6— leo genio (@K_Blaugrana) November 30, 2014
Gerard Pique also had a solid game. Yes, I am giving Mr. Shakira the credit he is due, especially for his goal-line clearance in the second half.
The referees were simply awful in the game. Luis Suarez had a clear, onside goal in the second half that was
robbed disallowed by the line judge. I was furious, as were all Culés.
This is all I'll say about this.
I can't help but think that if a certain other team was playing Valencia, refs wouldn't have called offside, probably given 2 PKs by now....— Xoel Càrdenas (@XoelCardenas) November 30, 2014
Also, the referee gave Lionel Messi a yellow card for informing the referee that he got hit with a bottle by a Valencia fan during the Busquets goal celebration.
Liga refs are the worst. If the La Liga powers that be have any dignity whatsoever (which I doubt), they will take away the yellow card given to Messi. And to that Valencia fan: you are scum and make good Los Che fans look bad.
"A win is a win", but if we continuously say this about FC Barcelona, this means this team is playing bad, deserve to lose, and is barely surviving.
I'm getting tired of seeing my team "barely surviving."
La Liga will slip away if this continues, and the way "that team in white" is playing, Barcelona cannot continue to display this kind of poor football. Yes, credit goes to Valencia for a good game, but Barcelona has enough talent, skill, and football intelligence to get a better performance. Can't win them all, but a solid performance is expected. Lastly, Lucho cannot continue to make lineup mistakes. I could understand it when it was Tata, as he didn't have European club experience. But Luis Enrique is supposed to be a (somewhat) seasoned manager who knows La Liga and knows FC Barcelona. Now that we are in December, let's hope to see Lucho and his men end 2014 on a roll. Barcelona's biggest game of December comes on the 10th of the month, as PSG comes to the Camp Nou. Both teams have already secured a place in the knockout stage, but a win gives Group F's first place to Barça.
Got the win against Valencia. Graciès Bravo, Pique, and Busi.
Let's go home and regroup.
Whether winning or losing, the hard work to try and get better never ends.
Tw Luis Suarez: "Tough win but 3 very important points. Congrats for the great goal, Busi! Great effort from all!" pic.twitter.com/b8LpBaO3KV— barcastuff (@barcastuff) November 30, 2014
My thanks to @barcastuff for usage of tweets.