Barcelona failed to win a third straight match and dropped two points at home against Deportivo Alavés thanks to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. In the first game under interim manager Sergi Barjuan, Barça certainly looked a lot more like Barcelona in this one and created enough to win comfortably, but they couldn’t score more than the one goal against an Alavés side that fought hard and earned a valuable point.
For the first time in a long time, it was possible to actually recognize a Barcelona team on the pitch. Sergi Barjuan’s side came out in a 4-3-3 with the wingers playing wide and the midfielders running the show, and the offensive moves looked sharp and creative. Barça also pressed well without the ball, and had over 70% possession for the entire half.
There weren’t any great chances, but they could have scored when a Memphis Depay corner found Eric García who headed it on target but Sivera made a top save. A few minutes later, Gavi found Jordi Alba all alone inside the box with a glorious lob pass, but Alba couldn’t sort out his feet and didn’t make any contact with the ball.
Alavés offered zero threat on the counter and slowly began showing cracks in defense, and Barça were the better team at halftime despite the game being goalless. The signs were encouraging, and the goals felt like a matter of time ahead of the second half.
Barça started the second half with a goal, and what a goal it was: after a nice triangle between Gavi, Philippe Coutinho and Jordi Alba down the left, Alba found Memphis Depay at the edge of the box and the Dutchman fired a glorious curler into the top corner for the opener.
Alavés then put together their only meaningful attack of the entire game just three minutes later and scored with it: Luis Rioja went on a great solo run down the left, made a great one-two with Joselu and rounded Marc-André ter Stegen before finding the net for the equalizer.
The visitors sat back for the final 40 minutes, including stoppage time, and defended their goal with everything they had while Barça looked for a winner. The Blaugrana created two golden chances with Memphis all alone in front of the keeper, but Depay hit the post then the goalkeeper and couldn’t score his and Barça’s second.
As we reached the final minutes Barça continued to attack with poise and never resorted to aimless crosses into the box, but they could not find one last chance to score a winner and the final whistle came to give each team a point.
The result is disappointing at home against a relegation candidate, and Sergi Barjuan won’t be in charge for long but the performance was quite good. That felt like Barça again, and the team looked a lot more cohesive and organized than they were under Ronald Koeman. There is hope, my friends.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza (Ez Abde 80’), Piqué (Lenglet 70’), García, Alba; Gavi (Puig 70’), Busquets, Nico (Balde 80’); Dest, Agüero (Coutinho 41’), Memphis
Goa: Memphis (49’)
Alavés: Sivera; Navarro (Martín 20’), Laguardia, Lejeune, Duarte; Pons (Pina 62’), Ndiaye, Moya (García 80’), Rioja; Méndez (Pellistri 62’), Joselu (Sylla 80’)
Goals: Rioja (52’)