Barcelona wasted a golden chance to go 10 points clear at the top of the La Liga table and saw their lead shrink down to seven points instead thanks to an embarrassing 1-0 defeat away to relegation candidates Almería at the Power Horse Stadium on Sunday. The Blaugrana played a pathetic match from start to finish and deservedly lost a game they didn’t seem to take seriously, and have now lost two in a row for the first time this season.
The first 45 minutes were among the worst of Barcelona’s season so far, with a lethargic, uncreative attacking display with lots of possession but so many sideways and backwards passes that brought no threat to an Almería backline that barely had to work at all in the entire period.
Barça never came close to a real chance, and allowed Almería to score with their first attack of the game as Luis Suárez played a pass over the top to El Bilal Touré who beat Andreas Christensen for pace and fired it home off the crossbar.
The home team had two big chances to double the lead immediately after the opener and Marc-André ter Stegen needed to make an important save, and despite the threats from the hosts there was no urgency or intensity to Barça’s play in the final 20 minutes after Almería’s goal.
The Blaugrana kept playing as if they were winning 4-0, and at halftime they needed a lot of improvement in all areas to have a shot at a second half comeback.
Xavi Hernández made a halftime change with Raphinha replacing Franck Kessie as Barça became more attacking, but it didn’t improve their play at all. The Catalans kept moving the ball very slowly and sending pointless crosses into the box that resulted in absolutely nothing, and the Almería center-backs got to practice their headers in the first 30 minutes of the period.
As we reached the final 15 minutes, Xavi decided to send youngsters Pablo Torre and Angel Alarcón off the bench to try and inject some youth and energy into a pathetic performance, and both kids played well and made the team slightly more dangerous as they kept sending crosses and creating a few good chances through the air.
But time quickly ran out on the visitors, who avoided further embarassment thanks to a save from Ter Stegen to stop Embarba on a late counter-attack. But the final whistle came to sentence a horrible loss for a Barça team that clearly took Almería for granted and paid for it.
They deserved to lose, and unlike the Old Trafford defeat there are no reasons to feel encouraged or proud. Barça were pathetic, and the entire team and Xavi should be ashamed. Just plain horrible.
Almería: Martínez; Chumi, Ely, Babic, Akieme; Baptistao (Pozo 83’), Eguaras (Samu 83’), De La Hoz, Robertone (Embarba 76’); Touré (Kaiky 89’), Suárez (Ramazani 76’)
Goal: Touré (24’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto (Torre 76’), Christensen, Eric (Araujo 67’), Alba (Alonso 67’); Kessie (Raphinha 46’), Busquets (Alarcón 76’), De Jong; Ferran, Lewandowski, Gavi