Barcelona can’t keep relying on MATS
Marc-Andre ter Stegen rescued Barcelona again on Saturday, although even the world’s best goalkeeper could not prevent his team slipping to defeat.
It’s no surprise to see Ter Stegen’s brilliance anymore, although it was a bit of a shock to learn that his penalty save from Maxi Gomez was his first in La Liga.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has saved his first penalty for Barcelona in LaLiga since joining the club.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 25, 2020
Denies Maxi Gomez from the spot. ❌ pic.twitter.com/nGjUdEsEZ6
He also foiled Gomez again, and Francis Coquelin, and Kevin Gameiro in a very busy opening 45 minutes.
5 - @mterstegen1 has completed five saves vs @valenciacf_en in the first 31 minutes, more than any other league game this season. Rampart#valenciabarca #Barca #LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/CkaLJI21xT— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 25, 2020
Valencia scored two, saw another one ruled out by VAR late on but could conceivably had a few more if it had not been for Ter Stegen.
Barcelona’s defence has been vulnerable for some time now and remains so, particularly away from home. Yet Barca can’t keep relying on their goalkeeper to produce heroics every week if they are to have a successful season.
Barcelona are missing Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez attracted plenty of criticism this season, and rightly so at times, but he was still pretty good at putting the ball in the back of the net and has been missed since going under the knife earlier this month.
Barcelona have played three games under Setien without Suarez and have struggled to score in every single one of them. Lionel Messi grabbed a late goal against Granada, Antoine Griezmann scored a brace against Ibiza but the goals dried up against Valencia.
Lionel Messi tried his best, having 11 of Barca’s 14 shots during the game, while Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati both looked a bit lost.
11 - Lionel Messi has had more shots without scoring in a single #LaLiga's game in his Barcelona's career (eleven, level with vs Deportivo de La Coruña at Camp Nou in December 2017). Dismay#FCBarcelona#LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/GdOam5HoNj— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 25, 2020
Barcelona are expected to sign a No. 9 before the end of the transfer window and on this evidence that is probably a good idea. Dozens of name have already been mentioned, but Barca need to get a move on with the window due to close on Friday.
Quique Setien’s Barcelona honeymoon is over
Quique Setien’s arrival at Barcelona has been a breath of fresh air and has brought renewed optimism to a club that had become utterly fed up under Ernesto Valverde.
There have been plenty of smiles around Barcelona in Setien’s first two games in charge but those will have turned to frowns on Saturday after the new boss suffered his first defeat.
Once again there was plenty of possession from Barca, but once again very little penetration or creativity, and for the first time under Setien no goals either.
73.52% - Barcelona have lost vs Valencia at Mestalla with just 73.52% possession; the highest ratio for a loser side in this #LaLiga season after their 73.71% possession in Granada. Styler#valenciabarca #Barcelona #Barca pic.twitter.com/XgBVf6jy2q— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 25, 2020
Lionel Messi aside they rarely looked like scoring and this time were punished by Valencia who scored two but could really have had a few more.
Setien said after the game “nobody likes what we’ve seen today” and was also critical of his team’s “meaningless passes” at Mestalla.
The new boss also talked about how he has a lot to do, and it’s clear it will take time for Barcelona to implement Setien’s brand of football. Some of the early signs have been good, some not so good, but patience is the key right now.