The way that Barcelona started Sunday’s Clasico had the Camp Nou in full voice with a hope that, finally, Ronald Koeman might win a game against the eternal rivals.
However, it seemed that once Sergino Dest skied a shot which should’ve given the hosts the lead, and David Alaba whipped home a super finish after a back-to-front counter attack that he started, the Catalans reverted to type.
It was a disjointed and disappointing performance thereafter for the most part, as many of this season’s games have been.
It’s tempting to suggest that Barca were flapping around like headless chickens at times but that’s probably a bit of a stretch.
What is abundantly clear, and has been for months, however, is that Koeman doesn’t have a clue tactically, and he’s consistently shown up in the bigger games.
The defeat means that he has become the first Barca coach in 85 years to lose three Clasicos in a row, which is a damning statistic.
Let’s be clear too... this isn’t even a decent Los Blancos team, and that’s the most galling aspect.
This Real Madrid were soundly beaten by Espanyol. This Real Madrid suffered the most humiliating reverse in European Cup history against Sheriff.
There have been other performances where they’ve just about scraped home.
Barca should’ve been at least their equal in every department if not wiping the floor with them.
This was a Clasico for heaven’s sake.
Where was the desire from some of the players? Why are they launching long balls instead of doing what Barca have been renowned for for decades - short, sharp passing to mesmerise opponents?
Why was Ansu Fati played centrally when it’s clear he’s better coming in from the wide areas, and why wait until 15 minutes from the end before bringing on Sergio Aguero?
Why is Koeman’s late go-to change putting Gerard Pique up front as a supplementary attacker when Luuk de Jong is already there to supposedly do the job aerially?
The only saving grace on the day was that the result was 1-2, because on balance it could’ve been much worse.
There were some elements of good play, for example Gavi snapping at Real’s heels and generally making a nuisance of himself, Philippe Coutinho’s purposeful 45 minutes and Gerard Pique dominating Karim Benzema in almost every exchange, but they’re just crumbs of comfort on an otherwise terrible day for this Barcelona side.
How much worst can it possibly get...