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The Goleadores: Barcelona debuts its new line of sleep aids.

Side effects include moroseness at work, short fuse, and a growing infatuation for tall, dark, and handsome Frenchmen.  

Sporting CP v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

A tremendously gritty affair that could have gone either way, lending strength to the voice of many of us fans who see a team not playing excessively poorly, but not by any means equipped for long term success. I’ve not made secret my prevalence for the defensive aspect of football, as a middling defender myself, but this does not mean I want Barcelona to now adopt tactics akin to Catenaccio. Maybe our midfield inadequacy, and that is putting it mildly, obliges the team to rely on a solid defense and a devastating counterattack, yet here we will run into problems sooner rather than later if we continue playing the same three core midfielders.

If we take yesterday’s game as an example, we see some of the faults in this system. Busquets despite having an excellent touch on the ball, does not have the pace for a counter; Rakitić, as was evidenced in this game repeatedly, passes the ball like I pass a kidney stone: there’s a lot of swearing and yelling, and in the end, you’re left there sweating profusely with your d*ck in your hands (i.e. doing nothing) staring blankly ahead. Don Andrés, despite his age, is the most capable of these three on a counter, but even then, he does not have the pace he used to have for such an endeavor. So now we have Messi trying to counter all by himself and passing the ball to a Suárez who is looking very slow, hasn’t beaten an offside trap in ages, and is exhibiting some of the poorest passing and control of his Barcelona career, which invariably resulted in either offsides, or loss of possession.

Now, let’s imagine for a second that Ernie decides he likes what he sees offensively from this team so much (because who wouldn’t if you are so good the other team is even scoring for you), that he goes and says “Hey, let’s not do these overlapping runs with our full-backs because why the heck for.” We can see the genius of this line of thinking in a game where we consistently lost the ball due to extremely poor passing and almost non-existent off-the-ball movement, and its breathtaking results in an insipid offensive performance salvaged by a pinball-esque set-piece sequence resulting in a very sharp Suárez clearance of such blinding brilliance that the flash blinded defender lost all positional awareness and scored against himself.

Irish Goat’s Gamboling Goleadores!

1st Goleador: Samuel Umtiti

Since this was more of a defensive game than anything else, it would make sense if our best defender put in a decent showing, but decent showing doesn’t even come close! Umtiti was dominant. He spent the entire night savagely mauling every poor misguided fool that dared attack his goal while he was manning things. Countless blocks, innumerable interceptions, and cool, collected passing and dribbling. Ice. Cold. Samuel “Mr. Freeze” Umtiti. No?

2nd Goleador: Andrés Iniesta

I truly believe that, if given more support yesterday, we could have seen a more complete performance from Don Andrés. I start to like the way he has been playing in a game, but then after about say sixty or seventy minutes, he seems to hit a wall and disappears for stretches of the game. Again, that is understandable, but more so when you have to work twice as hard to dribble around players since your teammates make stale efforts to open passing lanes for the ball. Therefore, many times in this game, Iniesta found himself surrounded by opposing players while Busquets and Rakitić where on the other side of the pitch. Or at least that is the impression I got.

3rd Goleador: Luck

As many of you have stated in the comment sections of other articles on the site, Barcelona is doing a piss poor job of creating attacking chances, and thus far have benefitted from Messi’s incredible ability or from huge amounts of luck when the ball almost magically finds its way into the net. They have been outshone offensively in the amount of chances created the last few matches, and logic dictates we will have a very rude awakening sooner rather than later.

That is all for today! Visca Barça!

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