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Dembele and Raphinha must take blame for toothless Barcelona performance

Disappointing showing from the wide men

FC Internazionale v FC Barcelona U-19 - UEFA Champions League Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Every striker in the football world is often only as good as the service they receive.

Robert Lewandowski is, perhaps, a notable exception, given that he can carve out chances from almost nothing.

However, when he’s nullified in a match as he was against Inter, the reliance on decent quality service is obvious.

It was arguably the one area where Barca were lacking in a game which they dominated for long periods.

Despite having two of the most exciting wingers in European football’s premier competition in Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha, the Catalans were moribund as an attacking force when playing via the wide areas.

FC Internazionale v FC Barcelona: Group C - UEFA Champions League Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Time and time again, the French World Cup winner and the Brazilian weren’t able to find the Polish international or beat their marker in a foot race.

On the odd occasion that they did, their final ball was abysmal.

Before the hosts opened the scoring in first half injury time, there were at least half a dozen occasions where the two wingers, had they been on their game, should’ve carved out a half chance or better.

Dembele in full flight is a sight to behold, and he would’ve had culers off their seats at various stages of the first 45.

How disappointing then that every foray deep into opposition territory came to nothing. That is the one area of his game that he must improve. No more excuses or leniency.

A supposed world class exponent has to be hitting the mark each and every time he pulls on the shirt, and particularly against the big sides in the top competitions.

Were Tite an interested observer, Raphinha won’t have done himself any favours in terms of booking himself on the plane to Qatar.

Much like his colleague on the opposite side, his passes were often laboured and lazy, they lacked direction and also purpose.

When one considers how on top Barca were in terms of possession and control, it’s a criminal waste of their talent.

Despite the end result, a good win at Camp Nou against the Italian giants and it’s possible that Barca’s Champions League destiny will remain in their own hands.

A drop down into the Europa League doesn’t bare thinking about at this stage. If it were to come to pass, this game will be pinpointed as the one where the Champions League aspirations bubble was burst.

Apportioning blame won’t change things, but Dembele and Raphinha should take a good long look at themselves in the mirror after this game because their performances were nowhere close at the level Barca demand.

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