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Eibar debacle sees 2020 topped and tailed for Barcelona

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Disappointing end to a disappointing year

FC Barcelona v SD Eibar - La Liga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

This year has ended for Barcelona as it had begun - with everyone scratching their heads.

Ernesto Valverde being sacked with the team at the top of the table at the start of 2020 set the tone for our annus horribilis, and Eibar earning a point at the Camp Nou, only their second-ever point against us and first in Barcelona, neatly book-ended it.

What happened in between over the past 12 months is worthy of a movie all of its own.

In any event, the game itself against the Basques was flat and boring, something we’ve come to expect from a Ronald Koeman side.

FC Barcelona v SD Eibar - La Liga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

The shape and tactics were much the same as we’ve seen from the Dutchman throughout this season, and you can set your watch to the time when he chooses to bring on his subs. The same subs for the most part.

No wonder Eibar, just like many other teams in 2020/21 have found playing against us one of their easier assignments of the campaign.

Hating on Ronald Araujo for what was a basic error won’t soothe the furrowed brow either, however. He was excellent apart from that one moment, and he will learn from that mistake. A mistake he needs to make too it should be said.

Pedri, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele were other bright spots on a disappointing night, and on another day, the Dane could’ve conceivably had a hat-trick if his penalty had gone in, VAR hadn’t ruled out a fine finish and the deflection off his chest had dropped the right side of the post.

FC Barcelona v SD Eibar - La Liga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

It’s often those small margins that are forgotten about when the result doesn’t go the way expected, but those green shoots are positive aspects nonetheless.

Though a La Liga title would’ve been desired before the beginning of the season, realistically the best that we can hope for now is Champions League qualification, and woe betide Koeman if he’s unable to provide that.

With the financial situation at the club at a critical point, and of which more will be known once the new president is in place, Barca can ill-afford to have to play for a season in the Europa League.

For now, however, let’s try and remain upbeat and give the manager and the players the benefit of the doubt.

Five games unbeaten heading into 2021... a year that offers new hope and a new dawn under a new president.