Barcelona continued their terrible start to the season with a 2-0 loss to Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup. It was a truly horrible night for the Blaugrana, and things look very bleak before the start of La Liga this weekend.
Here’s a few takeaways from what we saw on Wednesday:
1 - Losing El Clásico twice is the least of our problems, which is a huge problem
Real Madrid won the Supercopa by an aggregate score of 5-1, and we knew before the season started that if Madrid got the trophy, Barça would immediately be in crisis. Losing El Clásico does that to you whether you're Barça or Real, and coaches and players would be in enormous pressure going into the La Liga and Champions League matches in August and September. The crisis created by Clásico losses are usually superficial and pure product of overreaction by fans, though, and the crisis goes away quickly with a few good results in the following weeks.
The problem right now, however, is that there was an actual huge crisis happening before the Clásicos even started, and the anger of the fans has grown exponentially with the way Madrid simply destroyed the Blaugrana. The environment around Barça is completely toxic right now, and a few good results in the next few weeks will not make this crisis go away. The club needs huge rebuilding from top to bottom, and what happened in the Supercopa has absolutely nothing to do with the crisis. And that's the scary part.
2 - Ernesto Valverde needs time
Even amidst the multiple hashtags calling for Bartomeu's resignation, there were a few fans criticizing Valverde's tactical selection for the second leg, but the truth is we didn't have time to see if the 5-3-2 really worked thanks to Marco Asensio's wonder goal after just three minutes. Barça were forced to attack a lot to find the goals and we didn't get to see how balanced or tactically sound the team really was, but there were a few good things happening in the second half once the system was switched back to 4-3-3.
This game was the culmination of a horrible summer in many aspects, so it's really impossible to analyze if Valverde's choices were right or wrong. He needs time to implement his style, and he certainly needs some signings as well. Thanks to the mess made by the board, Valverde's job is even harder now. GG, Bartomeu. GG.
3 - Nélson Semedo MUST play every game
The Portuguese was without a doubt one of the best performers in preseason, but for some reason he was left on the bench at the start of both Supercopa matches with Aleix Vidal at right-back in the first leg while Sergi Roberto was the right wing-back in the second leg.
As soon as Semedo came on due to Gerard Piqué's injury against Madrid, Barça improved tremendously. The right side was stronger with and without the ball, and the mighty Marcelo could not find a way to beat Semedo. Nelsinho is a fantastic right-back who has been bought to start every match, and he’s shown he can do it in the biggest game possible. Just start him, Valverde. Please.