This was a match to be forgotten. While most of us can agree with Lucho's decision of rotating the squad, the result fell tremendously short of what wanted to be accomplished. On paper, Alavés was quite possibly the most appropriate game in which to do some squad rotation. Unfortunately, the many changes implemented by the skipper were possibly too aggressive, and our beloved Barcelona team was much weakened. There was no facet of the game dominated by the Blaugranes, and our lack of control was met by the iron-hard will and organisation of an Alavés team that seem ready to give it their best in their stint in the Primera División. Nevertheless, rotation is essential to oxygenate a team and allow for a strong competitive showing in the final third of the season.
Our success in the transfer window that added tremendous depth and quality to the squad basically set in stone, determined, that Barcelona would rotate throughout the season. You don't buy such young, promising players to sit them on the bench and run Messi et al. into the ground. If Luis Enrique didn't lose faith in rotating the team after that devastating loss in the 2014-15 season at the beginning of the new year, in which we lost 1-0 to Real Sociedad, then he won't be disheartened with this loss. Yes, it stings, but I'd rather lose at the beginning of the season and learn from it, than at the end from exhaustion.
Watching this Alavés team play, I was struck with another thought. While I'm in no way jubilant after this Barcelona defeat, it excites me to see the quality of players in football nowadays. Every team has a chance to pull off an offset, and some teams can even have an incredible, magical season and win a title. As long as this trend continues, the sport we love will continue improving, and we will be treated to more and more fantastic games.
But now, let's get down to business and do what we came here to do...
Irish Goat's Three Gamboling Goleadores!
This is in no way an easy game in which to decide who should be a Goleador. Nobody really excelled. Alas, I have to choose some folks, so here goes. As always, don't hesitate to leave a comment with whom you think should've been a Goleador.
1st Goleador: Arda Turan
Not an easy game at all in which to attack. For starters, Alavés employed a five defender backline, and yet they didn't get complacent with their numerical superiority and stayed incredibly sharp throughout the whole game. The few times we did manage some aggressiveness, Turan was by far the best player in our offense. Despite being subbed in the second half, I believe he played better than Neymar and Paco.
2nd Goleador: Ivan Rakitić
Ivan Rakitić continued his tremendous run of form and was disruptive in defense, and tremendously aggressive in offense. Unfortunately, he had nothing to show for it. Nevertheless, more often than not he will have many successful games if he continues to play at this level.
3rd Goleador: Lucas Digne
Of all the players employed today by Lucho as part of his rotation scheme, Lucas was probably the one that played the best. We all know offensively he is not as incisive as Jordi, but on defense he is outstanding, and it showed again today. Here's to enjoying more of the talented, young Frenchman.
That's it for today! Hope you have a great week and as always Visca Barça!