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Five talking points from Barcelona’s Copa del Rey defeat to Espanyol

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Espanyol v Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

A first defeat but all is not lost

Barcelona’s first defeat of the season had to happen sooner or later but the defeat at Espanyol still stings.

Barcelona’s long unbeaten run is over, but they still have the chance to turn this tie around, although it’s not going to be easy after a 1-0 defeat.

“If you could choose a day to lose, it might have been today,” said Gerard Pique after the match and he has a point.

A goal for Espanyol at Camp Nou means Barca will have to score three to progress, but their second leg performance against Celta and their 5-0 La Liga win over Espanyol in September are reasons for optimism.

Espanyol v Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Time is running out for Denis Suarez

Denis Suarez was handed his seventh start of the season and missed a good chance to open the scoring, firing wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

He was guilty of a more glaring miss against Celta Vigo in the last round, but either way Denis now has 15 appearances for the season but is struggling to make an impression.

Valverde has already shown with Gerard Deulofeu that he will look to give other players a chance if they don’t do the business, and Denis may be running out of opportunities.

2018 Copa Del Rey Football Espanyol v FC Barcelona Jan 17th Photo by Pedro Salado/Action Plus via Getty Images

Last appearances for Aleix Vidal and Rafinha?

Aleix Vidal also had a stinker and with reports linking him with a move away that may well have been his last start for Barcelona.

Sevilla have been credited with an interest while reports have also claimed his agent has been in talks with Premier League clubs. Either way it will be something of a surprise if he does not leave in January.

Rafinha is also expected to depart with a move to Inter believed to be close, and he made his return to action after a massive 290 days out.

The Brazilian deserves some luck after an awful time out with injuries and let’s hope he can stay injury-free and get some playing time wherever he spends the rest of the season.

2018 Copa Del Rey Football Espanyol v FC Barcelona Jan 17th Photo by Pedro Salado/Action Plus via Getty Images

Busquets provides the highlight

There’s no getting away from the fact that it was a disappointing night on many levels from Barcelona, but Sergio Busquets did provide the highlight of the match.

The midfielder showed some incredible skill early on that left Espanyol trailing in his wake.

He seemed to enjoy himself all night and if Barca had taken their chances it might have been a very different result indeed.

Espanyol must take action

Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen appeared to be hit by an object thrown from the crowd during the match in what was a worrying incident.

Passions are always high during a derby but there’s simply no excuse for supporters throwing objects at players.

Espanyol v Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Pique was also jeered throughout and subjected to insulting chants and called on fans to behave themselves at Camp Nou for the return leg.

According to ESPN he said: “We hope that the supporters don’t insult the players and throw things at them. I ask the fans to be respectful. Respect should always come first.”

Hopefully those scenes will not be repeated but supporters throwing objects should be banned, simple as that.