The odd game aside, things had been looking relatively rosy for Xavi and Barcelona
That was until this week and the disappointing draw against Inter, and then a performance at the Santiago Bernabeu that’s best forgotten about quickly.
No team has the divine right to win any game of course, and Barca can’t always expect to conquer Madrid in the Spanish capital.
The least culers deserve, however, is for anyone wearing the blaugrana to give 100 percent from first minute to last.
It’s difficult to think of one visiting player that did so during the entire match at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Maybe the selection was wrong from the start? Supporters, including those that regularly comment here, have been clamouring for Frenkie De Jong’s inclusion, but, much like his team-mates, the Dutchman flattered to deceive throughout.
Indeed, it’s hard to get excited about too much after a not very good Real side managed to dispatch Barca with consummate ease.
Real weren’t fantastic. Far from it in fact. But what they were is what they always are: efficient. If a chance comes their way, invariably it’s taken.
Compare and contrast that with a Barca side who seem to need or want more chances to score.. without actually scoring.
Ferran Torres’ late lifeline notwithstanding, there was next to nothing for anyone of the Blaugrana persuasion to get overly excited about.
Against a defence which included Eder Militao, Dani Carvajal and David Alaba, that’s a criminal waste of Barca’s attacking talent.
The vibrancy that should’ve come from midfield was also completely missing.
Passes we’re laboured, balls were continually lost and, frankly, we made Los Blancos look far better than they actually were and are.
For those that think that’s an overly harsh assessment, I say this: aside from the goal, name me one other thing in the entirety of today’s game that gave you genuine belief that Barca were going to triumph.
No service to Lewy - again. Busi losing sharpness when it mattered - again. Sergi Roberto doing nothing of note - again.
If everything was looking fantastic just a few weeks ago, now look at us. A shadow of the confident, showy, expansive outfit we were gradually becoming under Xavi.
Sunday’s performance and result was a real wake-up call.
Less chances, less shots and less possession they may have had, but, and it pains me to say it, Real Madrid were good value for the win.
If that’s the best we can do in the biggest club game of the season, there’s something seriously wrong.