It was a case of deja-vu for Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night, Luis Enrique’s men taking a first leg hammering, much like they did against PSG back in February. However, this time their chances off pulling off a miraculous comeback look a lot harder indeed…
Dybala might not be the new Messi, but he might get close
Ahead of the game Dybala insisted he had no interest in being the new Messi “people should know that I am Dybala and I want to continue to be so” but he put in a performance that suggested he might just get close to the Barcelona legend.
The Argentine scored with his first two shots on target and left the Barcelona defence looking nervous every single time he got on the ball.
The real Messi didn’t have a bad game, but make no mistake there was only one little Argentine running the show on Tuesday night, and it was the man in the black and white stripes.
Barca reportedly enquired about signing him last summer and after tonight’s display, and as they watched him depart to a standing ovation, they may well be ruing the fact that they did not.
Barcelona’s defence is a shambles
The sight of Jeremy Mathieu’s name on the teamsheet will have left many fans with a deep sense of foreboding ahead of kick off and it was perhaps no surprise to see Barcelona concede their earliest goal of the season in Turin.
Dybala, with just the 14 goals already this season, had caught most of the pre-match headlines but Barcelona clearly hadn’t been paying attention, the Argentine taking just six minutes and 34 seconds to open the scoring while Mathieu and Andres Iniesta simply stood and watched.
Sixteen minutes later and he was at it again. Allowed the freedom of the penalty area, he swept home a brilliant finish to put the hosts firmly in charge.
Juventus had other chances too, Leonardo Bonucci twice almost grabbing a third before his centre-back back Giorgio Chiellini showed him how to do it.
Again, it was another defensive mismatch, with Chiellini easily beating Javier Mascherano, who seemed more interested in trying to pull him down than win the ball, to head home.
Barca conceded four on their last Champions League away trip, three tonight, and if Gonzalo Higuain hadn’t put in a display to reinforce the unkind suggestion he’s a ‘big-game bottler’ it could have been even worse.
Barca have lost their identity
You would have expected Barca to have learnt from their trip to Paris, but it was a case of deja-vu in Turin.
The visitors looked lost for most of the match, the team switching between 3-3-1-3 and 4-3-3 that left the team in disarray at times.
Yes Sergio Busquets was missed, but far too often Sergi Roberto and Javier Mascherano looked utterly lost, while Neymar spent far too much time as a left-wing back where he is utterly wasted.
Luis Enrique was tactically outclassed by Massimiliano Allegri, Dani Alves put in a display to prove how much he’s missed by Barca and this time MSN couldn’t get the team out of jail. Was there a game plan? It didn’t look like it.
Barca still managed to create chances and were a little unlucky not to grab an away goal but 3-0 is still an accurate reflection of the game.
A miraculous comeback is not out of the question, just ask PSG, but against a Juve side that has not conceded a Champions League goal in 441 minutes of football it will be a million times harder.