In the aftermath of Real Madrid's surprise 1-2 defeat against Valencia CF in Sunday afternoon's early evening kick-off, FC Barcelona approached their crunch clash with Real Sociedad knowing that a win would send them to top of the table. Even a draw would have temporarily tied them with Los Blancos in first place; yet within minutes all hope of Barça topping the La Liga standings was extinguished by Jordi Alba's own goal.
The Catalan full back misjudged the flight of Xabi Prieto's tantalising cross and in his attempt to clear the danger, he diverted the ball past Claudio Bravo. A stroke of bad luck, but just a single moment that shouldn't have consigned the Blaugrana to defeat.
In truth, while many will point to Jordi Alba's own goal as the reason for Barça's defeat, a number of other factors played am important part. The profligacy of Luis Suarez, tactical missteps by Luis Enrique and a lack or urgency displayed in the first-half by a capable Blaugrana outfit all contributed, ensuring that even after the introduction of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Dani Alves, Barça couldn't turn the score around and pick up the points they needed.
Credit to David Moyes for his tactics, and credit to the Real Sociedad players for executing his game plan. Credit too to the Sociedad fans for creating a fantastic atmosphere in which their squad could thrive, but let's not kid ourselves; this was a winnable match and we simply didn't perform.
For Luis Enrique and the rest of the squad one thing is clear: much work lies ahead if the Blaugrana really want to challenge for silverware this season.
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