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Barcelona make winning start to 2021

Ronald Koeman’s men are now six games unbeaten

ESP: SD Huesca-FC Barcelona. La Liga Santander. Photo by Pressinphoto/Icon Sport via Getty Images

It’s difficult to know where to begin.

When you’ve had 14 shots at goal within the first hour of a game, compared to none from your opponents, you really ought to be more than one goal to the good.

For some of the match against Huesca, Barca’s passing carousels were imperious. Not quite the Barca of old, but there was something there. The green shoots of some of the club’s DNA if you like.

And yet, for long periods it was turgid. Boring. As we’ve come to expect. Passing for passing’s sake with no real cut and thrust or if there was, the move came to nothing.

Messi’s flying scissor kick which probably ended in the street outside El Alcoraz summed it up for me.

SD Huesca v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Flipping the narrative for a moment, that is six games unbeaten. Small comfort when you consider how far Atletico Madrid are ahead of the blaugranes, but you have to start somewhere.

This was a game we arguably would’ve lost six to eight weeks ago. Although it felt like we ground out the win rather than completely dominated, perhaps we need to be grateful to just be picking up points, however they arrive.

On another day, as with some previous matches, we might’ve had three or four. Pedri keeps his first half header down, Messi fires in his free-kick, Dembele scores one of the gilt-edged chances he had and the talk would be how everything was starting to gel...

Koeman has probably done enough to this point to earn himself continued employment until the end of the season, but he can’t expect to stay on beyond 2020/21 if his selections and substitutions are going to continue in much the same vein.

SD Huesca v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

As individuals, there are one or two outstanding performers week in and week out and we all know who they are. As a collective for the most part, this Barca are average at best. Let’s face it, the table doesn’t lie.

For now, supporters will need to be content with what’s being served up and hope that as the injured players begin to return, that it sparks the team into life for the final run-in.

There has to be something positive to look forward to, right?

Last word deserves to go to Marc-Andre ter Stegen. On a night when he had absolutely nothing to do, he still saved us two points - because of the profligacy of our attackers. What a gem he is. Worth every penny.

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