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Auba offers timely reminder to Barca as Kounde fails his big audition

Awkward situations for both

FC Barcelona v Manchester City - Friendly Match Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

I don’t think I’m alone in not seeing any sense to playing friendlies during the season.

What started as an occasional inconvenience is now becoming a real annoyance. I don’t understand the logic because surely a pre-season run out would be much more beneficial.

That’s in no way intended to be disrespectful to Juan Carlos Unzue and the cause for which the game was played.

A game in which Inaki Peña was handed a rare start and them came up with the most basic of howlers to allow Man City to open the scoring through Julio Alvarez. Fortunately, the Camp Nou crowd got behind him and the youngster did redeem himself in the second half.

If the idea of these games is to engender confidence amongst those players that have generally seen less minutes, then Peña and Jules Kounde clearly didn’t get the memo in the opening 25 minutes.

FC Barcelona v Manchester City - Club Friendly Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

If it was to give Xavi an idea of the true depth of his squad, it probably fell short as an exercise too.

Passages of play were far too sloppy for the most part.

Perhaps the ongoing uncertainty over Kounde’s registration has been occupying his mind more than it should - and who can really blame him.

It’s an astonishing situation that the club find themselves in again, the type which culers surely thought was in the past.

Will they register the player in time? Almost certainly. But the entire contract saga being played out in the public domain is nothing more than a circus sideshow.

The sooner the club manage to extricate themselves from this situation the better.

It wasn’t all bad news mind and there were some moments to savour on the night, even if they were few and far between.

FC Barcelona v Manchester City - Friendly Match Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

For example, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave a timely reminder of what he’s all about with a fiercely struck equaliser.

The Gabonese looked sharp and interested throughout, and one has to question the wisdom of potentially letting him leave at this juncture, if indeed that’s still a possibility.

All of the news filtering out suggests that Auba will soon be plying his trade at Stamford Bridge, which begs the question as to who will understudy Robert Lewandowski, particularly if injuries take hold of the 34-year-old. Ansu? Ferran?

The latter is still struggling. I mean REALLY struggling. Against City’s academy prospects, the youngster appeared to be wading through treacle at times. It’s little wonder he was replaced at the break.

On a brighter note, Frenkie de Jong appeared to be an entirely different player to the one we’ve seen so far in the 2022/23 campaign. That’s as much to do with being given the freedom of Camp Nou to play in as is playing him in his proper role. His goal was a just reward for his industry.

As with Auba, do we really want to see another player of such undoubted quality being allowed to or forced to exit - just to satisfy the money men at the club?

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