It’s a new day in Barcelona.
Reality has set in with hopes dimmed, but that doesn’t mean Barca fans have nothing to look forward to.
Ronald Koeman will be fighting the rest of the season to prove he can adapt and steer his team in a positive direction.
A new president will soon outline a vision for the future.
The players will have an opportunity to play hard and compete for a spot in what will hopefully be a quick return to the top.
But change and experimentation is needed. On Sunday it begins against Cadiz.
Transition to the youth
In a season that was never going to be about trophies, Ronald Koeman can finally do what he should have done from the beginning.
Focus on the future.
One of the biggest frustrations about PSG was the deja vu.
We love our Barcelona legends for their past accomplishments, but they keep proving year after year that they are holding the team back.
Sergio Busquets in particular has been left behind by the modern game.
Muscle and speed is missing. Ilaix Moriba can provide that.
Creativity and ambition is nowhere to be seen. Riqui Puig can provide that.
The same goes for Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, and Clement Lenglet on defense, even though they will continue to play with all the injuries. But why not bring in academy players to rotate when possible?
And what about Konrad de la Fuente? You can’t tell me he isn’t capable of playing at the highest level until you actually give him a chance. The forwards could use the competition.
If Barcelona is going to fail to win trophies anyway, let’s do it by giving the precious minutes to those who have a chance of being part of the future.
It’s the only way to learn what value we have in waiting as the club looks to invest in a new project after the March election.
Dembele steps up and silences his haters
Because of their price tags, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, and Philippe Coutinho will be the scapegoats any time Barcelona suffer a bad defeat.
Amid the PSG consternation perhaps no one has taken more heat than Dembele.
Should he have been more clinical? Yes. Should he have tracked back more on defense? Obviously. Ditto for literally everyone else on the field who failed offensively and defensively.
Did he have his worst game in a Barcelona shirt as many have suggested? If he did, then I’ll take his worst day over the best day of most others.
Still, he needs to know that there are many critics who are going to hold him to a double standard.
Ultimately, he needs to score goals and keep emphasizing the defense, which has been an area he’s excelled at lately.
PSG was just a set back. Dembele took for granted the help Sergino Dest was going to need with Killian Mbappe around. This could easily be a criticism for Koeman as well.
He should be motivated by this. For his own sake, whether his future is in Barcelona or not, the best way for him to take a step forward is to be more selfish.
Now I know that many people have already falsely weaponized this against him.
The truth is Dembele has evolved into an unselfish player, especially when he plays alongside Messi, knowing that he prefers a more controlled and calculated pace.
If this continues we will never see the best Dembele.
The Frenchman should be going straight up the field as fast as possible every single time.
From there, his teammates need to catch up and be targets in the box, something they struggle to do.
If Griezmann joins Dembele in this new approach it could be both of their salvations.
It would also mean Barcelona is finally tapping into their star potential.
Don’t be fooled twice by Cadiz
Cadiz started the season hot.
Barcelona and Real Madrid found out early on.
On December 5th, Alvaro Negredo dispatched Barca in the 63rd minute in route to a 2-1 victory.
Right now they can’t buy a win, losing four out of their last five.
Barca should be aware that the bottom has dropped out of the Cadiz defense. In their last three games they have given up four goals each time.
In the last fixture between the two sides, Cadiz was sound defensively and brave on the attack.
Negredo leads the team with 6 goals and 3 assists. Barca should be familiar with him from over the years, and don’t want to be beaten by him again.
He’ll be joined up top by the Honduran Anthony Lozano who has 3 goals.
Another player to look out for is midfielder Salvi who is one of the main play-makers.
It would be encouraging to see Barcelona shake off their disappointment from the Champions League with a thundering offensive performance against a struggling side.
Expect to see Koeman start to shake things up with the lineup, but regardless of who plays the Catalans have the talent to overpower the men from Andalusia.
The next chapter in the season starts now. Time to start building towards a new and better future.