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Barcelona’s performance was far from classic

The champions barely deserved a point at the Camp Nou

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

That was shameful and pathetic.

The first goalless draw in El Clasico for 17 years wasn’t poor because of the fact that we couldn’t score against an ageing Real Madrid side.

It was a shocking display of ineptitude from virtually every Barcelona player on the pitch.

With one or two exceptions, it was as if one of the biggest fixtures of the season meant little to those in Blaugrana.

Even Lionel Messi was guilty of waltzing about in a daydream on more than one occasion.

Antoine Griezmann certainly didn’t deserve to be hooked for Ansu Fati. Anyone with half a brain could see that Luis Suarez brought absolutely nothing to the party, but somehow he remained on the pitch.

We should give credit to Zinedine Zidane, however hard it is to swallow. Once again he got his tactics exactly right at the Camp Nou, where he remains unbeaten as a coach in five games.

His side were everything Barca were not. Vibrant, decisive, super hard working and disciplined in both defence and attack. They simply never gave the hosts any room in which to work.

Playing a deep block seems to be a tactic that opposing teams are favouring against the Catalans now, and it’s beginning to prove vastly more effective.

On another day the Blaugranes would’ve been soundly beaten, and there’s not a single supporter who could say that it wouldn’t have been deserved.

Why is it we play better at the Santiago Bernabeu against Los Blancos than on our own patch?

If there is a positive to take from the match, it’s that we didn’t lose and still have a tenuous hold on first place in the table, albeit on goal difference.

But too many more performances like that and we’ll be well down the pecking order when it comes to handing out the silverware at the end of the season.

We badly missed having Arthur in midfield. Frenkie de Jong did some good things but his driving runs weren’t matched by his midfield colleagues and he was forever outnumbered.

Losing Busi to illness probably didn’t help matters, though given how the game panned out, it’s debatable as to what sort of influence he would’ve had on proceedings had he played.

Though a large majority of Barca’s fan base will surely blame Valverde for the debacle, this one is on the players too.

They need to take a long, hard look at themselves over the winter break and decide just how badly they want to win trophies this season.

Performances like the one on Wednesday night are simply not acceptable.

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