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Barcelona’s defence the only disappointment in Betis win

A win but some poor goals conceded

FC Barcelona v Real Betis - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

As ever, a Barca v Betis fixture provided the usual amount of entertainment, and it became a game you couldn’t take your eyes off very quickly into proceedings.

On another day, Antoine Griezmann might’ve had a first half hat-trick, and his lack of confidence was evident with a poorly taken penalty.

After Ousmane Dembele had done himself the power of good with a rocket, a late first-half equaliser once again laid bare the problems that Ronald Koeman has with his defence.

It’s worth asking the question as to why Sergino Dest, clearly an upgrade on Sergi Roberto in the right-back slot, was left out against the Andalusians.

FC Barcelona v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

There’s been enough in the American’s fledgling Barca career to suggest that he should be a fixture on the right-hand side, which has once again become the weak link for the team.

In a sense, with five goals scored, it seems almost unfair to be critical of the squad, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the back four don’t appear to be good enough.

On Saturday, goals were scored to enable a glossing over of the shortcomings. We should bear in mind, however, that Betis are almost always the most accommodating of opponents.

Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet are fearsome competitors aerially but are now leaving a lot to be desired on the deck.

There’s no pace to speak of in the centre of Barca’s defence and if either Roberto or Jordi Alba have to come inside to cover for the same, it leaves the Catalans exposed on one flank or the other.


Woe betide Barca if we play the high line and a ball is floated over the top because there’s no way that we’re winning that footrace.

Talk of Memphis Depay being signed in January is misplaced. Koeman should be looking at another centre-back, particularly if Umtiti goes.

Moreover, if and when Ronald Araujo is fit again, more than cursory minutes should be handed to the youngster. Thus far he's proved himself to be an able deputy and definitely deserves more chances to impress.

To end on a positive note, how good was it to see the fire in Leo Messi’s belly after coming on. I doubt he’s hit two harder shots in an age. Have that!

There’s still a long, long way to go this season and if Koeman can iron out the issues with the back four, then at least we still have opportunities to win something with the Argentinian on the pitch.

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