It was a win yes, but that performance has to be from the bottom of the barrel. It surely can’t get any worse for Barcelona, can it?
The application from Ernesto Valverde’s side for the most part at Butarque was their worst of the coach’s reign, and perhaps even their worst for years.
A lack of first-choice full-backs is no excuse for such sub-standard fare, throughout the side.
Let’s start at the top end.
An attack worth a mere 500 million euros didn’t dominate a defence that, prior to Saturday lunchtime’s game had let in 22 goals — the second worst in the entire division.
Griezmann is going to be the next Coutinho. I didn’t want to say it but i knew it all along. Both played out of position and both under Valverde. One of the only managers that can destroy his own players.— Stan (@FutbolStanV2) November 23, 2019
Leganés weren’t bottom without good reason, and yet if you didn’t know who the teams were, you’d have thought it was the hosts who were top of the table, and Barça bottom.
Frenkie De Jong escapes criticism again, the Dutchman probably the only player in the starting XI who we can say was consistently giving of his best throughout the time he was on the pitch.
A congested midfield made chance creation difficult, but for a team of Barça’s evident quality — at least on paper — that, clearly, should’ve made no difference.
Solutions for a team that are amongst Europe’s best were hard to come by, the polar opposite to a Leganés side that enjoyed playing on the counter and looked dangerous every time they pressured the back four.
Gerard Piqué’s outside interests finally look as though they’re beginning to take their toll on the centre-back.
For long periods he appeared to be treading water, and was routinely beaten to the punch by a lively Youseff En-Nesyri.
Samuel Umtiti did little to justify regular future inclusion, and on this performance Clément Lenglet will be straight back in when he’s fit again.
Wagué and Firpo, unfortunately, couldn’t take what was an incredible opportunity for both full-backs, and if nothing else it shows how little strength in depth the Catalans have in certain areas of the squad.
And then there’s the coach himself, who began proceedings with an unusual 4-2-3-1 formation, went to a more traditional 4-3-3 before changing it again once Ansu Fati came on.
Barcelona need to look to Spurs and Bayern and follow their lead. No matter what Valverde does or who he picks, the football doesn’t improve.— EiF (@EiFSoccer) November 23, 2019
3 years in and it looks worse than it ever has. Not complicated — pull the plug. The plug that should’ve been pulled two years ago.
Why it was De Jong who made way for the youngster is anyone’s guess.
Moving the front four around and bringing on match winner, Arturo Vidal, were just about the only tactical switches we saw all afternoon. There was literally nothing else he did to affect the result, and that’s happened far too often already this season.
At Granada, the Blaugranes were similarly shocking, but they were at least in good form when they played Barça. The same can’t be said of Leganés.
If the team can’t do well in these types of games, we’re doomed when the tough ones come around. And there are a lot of tough ones next.