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Disjointed, disorganised and disappointing Barcelona throw title hopes away

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Defeat from the jaws of victory

FC Barcelona v RC Celta - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Though a title victory would still have been a long shot given their recent results, going into the game against Celta, a win was a pre-requisite for Barca in order to take the fight to the final weekend of the 2020/21 season.

A fine start for the blaugranes where the Galicians were, frankly, battered, should’ve seen more than the one goal from Leo Messi in the opening 30 minutes.

Celta simply were not at the races.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen could’ve taken one of those open top red buses around the city and still been back before the visitors had offered any sort of threat.

And then... a hopeful punt upfield, a ball inside, and despite the hosts having four players in close proximity and more in the vicinity, Santi Mina was allowed time and space to pick his spot.

FC Barcelona v RC Celta - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

No wonder the German custodian threw up his arms as if to say ‘what the hell was that?!’

From then on, all of the things that have dogged Ronald Koeman’s side during the low points of the season came to the fore.

There was no organisation in defence, Ousmane Dembele ran into one blind alley after another, Messi was crowded out by three and sometimes four defenders as he looked for an opening...

What does Koeman do, aside from giving Riqui - at last - a decent run out? The usual. Braithwaite, Trincao, Pjanic. No thought seemingly given as to whether they were needed or not.

Three players that were never going to change the status quo, but that’s all the Dutchman had to offer.

No tactical nous, no shape. It was a free-for-all in the last half-hour.

FC Barcelona v RC Celta - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

When the team needed a leader, Koeman was conspicuous by his absence on the touchline. Almost as if he’d given up on the title long before the final whistle.

The draw was a disaster, so the giving up of a late second, however fortuitously it may have arrived, surely hammers the final nail into the manager’s coffin.

Barca were so second best to every ball by the end of the match that it was unforgivable.

Remember too that a Barca goal in the latter stages - pre-Mina’s second - would’ve potentially sent the title tilt into the final weekend of the campaign.

Surely your team’s battling qualities are the very least you want to see as a supporter, but on the day, the Catalans couldn’t even offer that.

On this form, thank the lord that there’s only one more game left of the campaign.