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Barcelona’s collective disaster at Granada

No player emerges with credit from a poor defeat

Granada v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images

Where on earth do you start after a performance like that?!

It’s very difficult to find any positives from Barca’s showing at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes against Granada.

To see a team that were in the Segunda Division in 2018/19 taking the Blaugranes to the cleaners at times in the opening 45... well, it sticks in the craw just a little. Actually, it sucks.

Caught cold in the opening minute, Junior Firpo got the rudest of awakenings to his Barca career, and it appeared to affect his confidence thereafter.

Pass after pass went astray as the new boy failed to gel with his team-mates.

It’s unfair to judge him at this stage of course, but lest we forget that he was brought in to provide a high level of competition in the left-back slot for Jordi Alba.

Firpo has two more league games and a Champions League group match in which to impress before Alba returns, and frankly, he needs to up his game significantly to give Ernesto Valverde some food for thought.

Having said that, taking the youngster off at half-time to replace him with Nelson Semedo spoke volumes.

Often overrun in midfield, we therefore only saw flashes of what Frenkie can do. There was no movement from his attackers for him to work with and no cohesion with the likes of Ivan Rakitic.

Luis Suarez, Carles Perez and Antoine Griezmann were moribund as an attacking force too, with none of them managing a shot on target in the first half.

In fact, seeing Griezmann out on the left and generally out of the game was reminiscent of Philippe Coutinho’s awful time in the position, and that might suggest that perhaps the Brazilian wasn’t the problem after all.

From back to front, there was literally nothing to get excited about, and it was difficult to spot any urgency from the side.

As if to ram home the point, despite the hosts only have 30 percent possession before half-time, they still managed to be more of a threat in front of goal. That’s unforgivable.

Valverde stayed on the bench in pensive thought, rather than on the edge of his technical area berating his players a la Diego Simeone. Makes you wonder whether that insouciance translates to his players.

Once Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati came on, the Catalans did at least play more on the front foot for a while, but that’s the very least expected from any player that pulls on the blaugrana.

Giving 100 per cent shouldn’t even be up for debate, and yet most of the XI didn’t reach anywhere close to their best.

No clean sheets in the league is a damning statistic at this point, and the Granada loss is already the third game where they’ve conceded twice in 2019/20. Nine goals against in only five games is the joint worst in the division too.

It’s going to be a long, hard season...

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