Cautiously optimistic. That would probably be the best way in which to describe my current stance on Barcelona after their stifling performance against Real Betis. It is, in my opinion, more than fair as they did, indeed, play good football against Betis, but it must be said there are many caveats. For starters, we were very handily defeated by Real Madrid less than a week ago. While we were hoping for rapid improvement, it is still quite early to suggest we are there. Another point is who our opponent was. Yes, we beat Betis perfunctorily, but yet again we cannot ignore our lacking skill level when we defeat a team that are lacking themselves. In summation, it is still quite premature to believe we are out of the mire, and we must be careful of not thinking our woes are over because of whom we defeated. Sorry, I understand this is a very drab paragraph but I think it needed to be said. However, those that know me can count on me to provide some positives as well!
A little bit of hope before the facts, if you will allow me. Maybe the poor player choices in both Real Madrid games were not a result of a spineless or inadequate coach, but more along the lines of a new hire who’s getting acquainted with the personnel and trying different lineups and approaches. Why try lineups out in such an important game against such an important opponent? Maybe he truly believed those were the starting caliber, gala eleven players. Let’s hope he has learned otherwise, as the player choices were quite good. Not excellent, but pretty darn good. I would have liked to give more time in the mid to a player like Aleñá, specially over a struggling Rakitić, but you can’t get everything at once. Semedo showed he deserves the start, Sergi made a massive announcement of his presence, and I didn’t hate the substitutions. Perhaps should have subbed off Paco sooner. Also, good to see some of the pressing back. On to the best players of the game!
Irish Goat’s Gamboling Goleadores!
1st Goleador: Sergi Roberto
I like this kid. I really haven’t kept that a secret nor tried to pretend otherwise, but really, how can you not? Iniesta, Xavi, and Busquets in front of you showing no signs of slowing down? Hey, no biggie, I’ll just keep my head down learning, growing, and developing in the B squad. Xavi close to retirement and Iniesta showing signs of wear, but Barcelona go ahead and buy a gazillion players for the mid? No problem, I’ll just become a jack-of-all-trades and ply my trade at right back. Finally seem like you’re going to get your shot but Barcelona go and buy what to all outward appearances looks like a mediocre player for too much money? It’s all good, I’ll just start and play a howler on the way to a match MVP. And then I’ll double down and say I’m happy and want to stay.
Seriously, this kid is mentally tough. I don’t think I would have come close to such a terrific performance after all those events, all while knowing you basically have no guarantees in your career. And he is incredibly loyal. We can’t afford to lose players like these, as they are not common.
2nd Goleador: Messi
I gave a hearty chuckle after I saw Messi hit the post for the third time in the game, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing him smirk himself at his misfortune. Best player in the world played a terrific game. What else is new? Wasn’t easy either, what with getting used to playing with two guys he doesn’t usually play with. Regardless, he was terrific.
3rd Goleador: Semedo
Loved every single second he was playing. He was terrific in attack and flawless in defense. He is extremely fast and can dribble, which will be very enjoyable to finally have a legitimate threat down the right side and not just the left, which will help to stretch the defense. If Valverde plays Denis instead of Paco in that same position, then we will hopefully have good attacking prowess down both flanks.