The end of the road for Koeman
We all knew it was coming and it finally happened after Radamel Falcao delivered Rayo Vallecano a 1-0 win over Barcelona in another uninspiring showing from Ronald Koeman’s men.
Once again Barcelona were sloppy, predictable, enjoyed bags of possession but offered very little consistent goal threat. They still should have taken a point but Memphis Depay, usually so reliable from the spot, saw his kick saved by Stole Dimitrievski.
The result leaves Barca still without an away win this season in La Liga, having managed only one goal on their travels, and also made it three defeats from their last four in Spain’s top flight.
58 - Ronald Koeman has won 28 of his 48 games as #FCBarcelona coach in #LaLiga (58.3%), the worst winning percentage of a coach in this competition since Radomir Antic (50%, 9 of 18) with a minimum of five games. Decision. pic.twitter.com/1oleaufD4O— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 28, 2021
There will be relief that Koeman has finally gone and hope that Barca can move forward and build a brighter future under whoever comes next, probably Xavi. There’s no doubt there’s huge potential in the squad at the Camp Nou but it’ll take time to get out of this mess.
Coutinho hits 100
Koeman may have gone and it’s highly likely that Philippe Coutinho could be next. The Brazilian made his 100th appearance for Barcelona against Rayo Vallecano but put in yet another dismal showing.
The former Liverpool man, who shone so brightly in the Premier League, was guilty of regularly gifting possession away, looks utterly devoid of confidence and missed badly when finally presented with a chance in the second half.
How he manged to play 73 minutes before being hauled off is a mystery. You have to wonder what on earth Riqui Puig was thinking on the Barcelona bench too as he watched the 29-year-old toil away yet again.
We’ve said this before I’m sure but unless Barca’s next manager can work miracles with Coutinho then an exit in the next transfer window is surely the best option for all parties at this point.
Falcao loves playing Barca
The only goal of the game came from Radamel Falcao who is proving an excellent signing already for Rayo.
Falcao has more goals (4) than starts (3) for Rayo Vallecano.— Sam Leveridge (@samleveridge) October 27, 2021
He’s averaging a goal every 50 minutes, 45 seconds. Incredible. pic.twitter.com/RdDGAj524y
The Colombian finished expertly after Sergio Busquets had been caught napping in midfield to net for the fourth game in a row against Barca.
The Barca captain accepted the blame for the goal after the game after seeing his side go behind yet again.
It was s sloppy moment from Busquets, while Gerard Pique might have done better too.
Benfica: First shot on target: Goal— total Barça (@totalBarca) October 27, 2021
Atleti: First shot on target: Goal
Valencia: First shot on target: Goal
Madrid: First shot on target: Goal
Rayo: First shot on target: Goal
We just can't do this.
The goal was Rayo's first effort which continues a worrying trend for Barca and is one the club’s new manager will need to address as a priority.
Nico makes an impact
The truth is there were very few positives to take from Wednesday’s match but one player who was worth watching was young midfielder Nico Gonzalez. The youngster was back in the team after being hauled off against Atletico and criticised by Koeman.
The 19-year-old has had to be patient this season and watch on as Gavi started regularly for club and country but staked a claim for more minutes with a confident showing.
Nico was comfortably Barca’s best player in the first half, standing out with a cute pass to tee up Sergio Aguero on 16 minutes and producing a monster challenge to win the ball back after he’d lost possession.
The teenager fired wide at the start of the second half and also set up Aguero again after the break in a performance that bodes very well for the future.
Dest experiment over?
Sergino Dest was once again employed in the Barcelona attack and was once again guilty of missing another clear chance for the Catalan giants.
It might not have been quite as good as his opportunity in El Clasico but it was still an excellent opportunity to find the back of the net and should have been taken.
- Dest with a chance to equalize after a pass from Memphis, but his shot goes far wide. pic.twitter.com/ePVgaHpN9P— (@TheEuropeanLad) October 27, 2021
Of course Dest wasn’t the only player to struggle in front of goal. Coutinho, Aguero, and Gavi all had sights of goal but Barca’s finishing continues to be pretty awful.
Yet Dest’s time in the Barca attack could now be over with Koeman having departed and with Ousmane Dembele also expected back after missing the start of the season.