Barcelona started their season with a painful 3-1 defeat at home against Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. The Blaugrana played solid football for a while, but once Madrid scored things went south fast and Barça ended up with a really bad defeat at Camp Nou against 10 men.
Here’s a few takeaways from what we saw on Sunday night:
1 - Something is wrong with Luis Suárez
Every Barça fan adores the Uruguayan, but every Barça fan would agree that Luis Suárez has not been the same for quite a while. Since the start of 2017, Luisito's level has consistently dropped, and his form is now at a worrying state. Suárez is not as fat as he was a few months ago, but it seems like he's still adjusting to the changes in his body. Remember, he just turned 30 years old and that is a crucial age for every footballer, with every meal and training session deserving extra attention to remain at the top. Suárez seems to have lost a bit of his pace, and his skill moves in short spaces don't work anymore. He used to nutmeg any defender and use his body to shield people way and find spaces for shots, but that is not happening anymore, and it's been a while since the last time.
He also took a dive that won Barça a penalty they shouldn’t have gotten, and I don't like that part of his game. We still love him because of all the great parts of his game, but we haven't seen the incredible Luis Suárez from the first two and a half seasons of his Barça career in a long time. He needs to come back, because we lost Neymar. Lionel Messi is the greatest ever, but even he needs some help.
2 - Deulofeu is not ready yet
We cannot draw conclusions from one performance, especially against Real Madrid, but Gerard Deulofeu clearly showed he needs some time to figure things out and adapt himself to the system again. The young Spaniard looked lost at times, and his decision-making was quite poor: he passed the ball too much instead of trying to run at defenders, and he kept the ball for too long in instances where he should have made a simple pass. Deulofeu has the talent and Valverde seems to be a patient coach, so he won't give up on Deulofeu as quickly as Luis Enrique did back in 2014. It's easy to look at Deulofeu's performance and think he's just not good enough, but it's early to say anything good or bad. Let's wait a while.
3 - Barça need to buy Neymar's replacement FAST
While we wait for Deulofeu to reach his potential, though, we really need to sign Neymar's replacement as quickly as possible. There's no chance Ousmane Dembélé or Philippe Coutinho will be ready for the second leg on Wednesday, and we don't even know if they'll be announced before Wednesday, but if we're really signing one of them (or both), the deal needs to be completed before the La Liga opener against Real Betis on Saturday. Deulofeu showed he's not ready to step up yet, so we need to get someone in before the fans are angry at the kid. Valverde needs to know who he's working with, and that person needs to arrive really soon.
I'm sure that big money transfers take time, but the team needs someone to come in YESTERDAY. The board is already screwed when it comes to fans trusting them, so maybe they can give us good news sooner rather than later so our anger towards Bartomeu, Robert and all the other incompetent doesn't turn into hatred. Just buy someone good already, Barto. Please.