Koeman and Barca bounce back
The team started fast with Antoine Griezmann hitting the post early on, while Ousmane Dembele (more on him later) struck after 14 minutes to send Barca on their way.
Barca had to wait until stoppage time to scored a second through Lionel Messi’s penalty but would have made the game safe before then with better finishing.
Koeman said after the win it was Barca’s “most complete game” since he took charge, and it was certainly a vast improvement on their last two outings.
There were also a lot of positives for Koeman to take after another chaotic week at the club, not least the warm embrace between manager and captain at the end of the match.
Dembele offers hope for the future
One decision Koeman certainly got spot on was to start Dembele out on the right, and the Frenchman offered hope he can finally enjoy a strong season with his performance.
His goal did take a big deflection but the crossfield pass from Lionel Messi was pure quality and Dembele’s run at the defence and decision to go for goal was a good one.
The Frenchman caused problems with his speed and trickery throughout the game, and his second goal in two Champions League should do wonders for his confidence.
2 - @Dembouz ha scored in back to back #ChampionsLeague games for the first time (27 appearances). The Frenchman has scored as many goals as he did in his previous 11 games in the competition. Growth. pic.twitter.com/RvySngPEKr— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 28, 2020
Barca will be praying that the talented 23-year-old can finally stay fit after a simply horrible time with injuries, and this performance shows if he can he will have a big role to play this season.
Pedri brings fresh excitement
Dembele’s performance was impressive but he was still eclipsed by 17-year-old Pedri who is fast making a name for himself at Barca just months after his summer move from Las Palmas.
Pedri didn’t let him down either with a fearless performance full of creativity against the Serie A champions on their own turf.
He showed a great bit of skill to leave Juan Cuadrado in his wake on the touchline, showed off some great turns near his own penalty area and offers fans genuine excitement for the future.
Time for Pjanic to start?
Miralem Pjanic was also in the starting XI against Juventus alongside Frenkie de Jong, well for the first half at least, and enjoyed himself back at his former club.
It wasn’t a perfect performance from the midfielder, who still seems to be lacking bit of match sharpness, but certainly enough to suggest he might be a regular starter soon.
An early error almost gifted Juventus a goal, when Pjanic seemed to forget which team he was playing for with a poor pass, but he did get better as the game wore on.
It’s no secret Pjanic is a great passer of the ball, but he’s also a solid defender as well as being more than willing to go for goal when he gets a shooting chance.
Pjanic has made little impact at Barca since his summer move but may be set for more opportunities now, particularly with Sergio Busquets hardly impressing so far in 2020-21.
Araujo injury highlights defensive shortage
One sour note for Barcelona was the thigh injury to Ronald Araujo that forced the promising 21-year-old off at half-time for the match.
Araujo came in for the suspended Gerard Pique, but his injury highlighted just how short of options at center-back Barcelona are currently.
Frenkie de Jong deputised in the second half and did a pretty good job alongside Clement Lenglet, but it’s not a solution Koeman will want to use regularly.
Koeman had no other defenders in his squad, with Barca B’s Òscar Mingueza also picking up an injury before the game, while no-one seems to know if Samuel Umtiti will ever return.
Barca missed out on Eric Garcia in the summer transfer window but it looks increasingly likely they will reignite their interest when the transfer window opens in January.