I think it’s fair to open this particular post by saying that no one really saw that coming.
Cadiz had been good value for their win over Real Madrid yes, but Barcelona were buzzing after decent performances against Osasuna and Dynamo Kyiv.
Things appeared to be slowly but surely back on the right track, but on Saturday night the wheels fell off again.
That’s four defeats for Ronald Koeman in his opening 10 games as Barca coach. More than Quique Setien managed in his entire 20 game spell and our worst start now since 1987/88.
The problems are manifold and are going to take longer than a season to sort out. If there is one silver lining, however, we should be enthused by players such as Pedri, Ansu Fati and Sergino Dest, who offer hope of a brighter future.
For the time being, there are basic footballing issues that Koeman needs to get his head around. It may be a big ask, for the Dutchman’s coaching record pre-Barca was never fantastic in any event, and the current scenario could easily have been predicted.
Problems in attack, where the need to keep passing to Lionel Messi is getting more and more obvious and frustrating with each match, and which is stunting the professional growth of others up front, is nothing when compared with the issues at the back.
That’s now the third away match in a row where the Blaugranes have gifted their opponents a goal after, frankly, calamitous errors.
The first of those, which came at Alaves, was because of a disastrous misunderstanding between Neto and Gerard Pique. It happens, we moved on.
There can be no legislating for Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s rush of blood to the head at the Wanda Metropolitano, and then we have what can only be described as the most pathetic passage of play I’ve seen from a Barça defence for months on Saturday night.
A poor, lazy throw from Jordi Alba – to Clement Lenglet’s weaker foot I might add – left the Frenchman off balance and unable to get the ball under control.
If the German is then going to come for the ball, he must make sure to get there. Go right through the ball and hit it into the street outside if needs be, not a tippy tappy tackle that even your younger sister would be embarrassed by.
That we still didn’t have enough in an attacking sense in any of those three games tells a story too, as do Koeman’s comments post-match concerning the attitude of players.
Perhaps, when all is said and done, that’s the real problem here.
After all, errors can be corrected if there’s willingness from all sides to do so...