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Five talking points from Barcelona 1-1 Eibar

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Ronald Koeman’s men drop points again

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

Disappointing end to dismal 2020

Barcelona’s draw against Eibar felt like a fitting end to what has been a troubled year at the Camp Nou both on and off the pitch.

The team were without captain Lionel Messi and it showed, while there were plenty of familiar problems on display once again.

The Barca defence generously gave up another goal, the attack missed too many chances, and big-money buys such as Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and Frenkie de Jong offered very little.

The draw also means that Barca’s hopes of winning the title now look a distant dream. Even Koeman admitted after the match it will be “very difficult”now for his team to catch Atletico.

Time to practice penalties?

Yet it could all have been so different if Martin Braithwaite had scored an early spot-kick after Ronald Araujo was fouled in the penalty area in the opening minutes.

With Messi missing the Denmark international stepped up and promptly dragged a poor effort wide of Marko Dmitrović’s post.

Barca’s penalty record this season now makes for pretty poor reading.

An early goal could have changed the whole complexion of the game. Barca did still create enough chances to win but they really can’t afford to be passing up opportunities like this.

Another defensive mistake costs Barca

It was certainly an eventful night for Araujo who handed Eibar the opening goal on a plate after yet another defensive mistake.

It was an unfortunate moment for Araujo who has looked good so far this season and clearly has a big future ahead of him. Young players will make mistakes, and learn from them, but there’s no doubt individual errors continue to cost Barca this season.

Araujo does deserve credit for not letting the mistake affect him afterwards and also for fronting up after the game. The defender faced the media afterwards and swiftly took responsibility for the goal.

Dembele offers hope

There were few positives to take from Tuesday’s performance but the main one was the sight of Ousmane Dembele back in action for Barcelona once again.

The Frenchman came off the bench at half-time to replace Sergino Dest and certainly made a difference to the Barcelona attack.

Dembele missed a pretty good chance before he equalized with a well-taken goal, his fifth of the season, and also caught the eye with a rabona cross

Of course question marks remain over whether he can stay injury-free this season, but this was certainly another encouraging performance from the 23-year-old on his return to the side after several weeks out.

More injury misery for Coutinho

Yet it was another difficult night for Coutinho who started on the bench again for Barcelona but did came on for the final part of the game. However, the Brazilian did not last the 90 minutes after picking up a knee injury.

Barca have since confirmed he will be go under the knife, and Coutinho looks set for a lengthy spell out. AS say four months, Mundo Deportivo go for 8-10 weeks and ESPN say “months.”

It’s not clear exactly how long Coutinho will be out for but it’s certainly a bad blow for the 28-year-old who has already missed a chunk of the season with a hamstring problem and has fallen out of favor after a bright start to the 2020-21 campaign. Might Coutinho’s injury offer Riqui Puig the chance of more game time?