Koeman’s eleven squanders two goals ahead after the break and is unable to manage the score in favor with 2-3
The Barça team offers a regrettable defensive exercise and reveals itself without profession or leadership
Neither obtained the real leadership against Granada in an ignominious defeat, nor did Barça earn it, even if it was fictitiously, for a few hours, in the visit to Levante. The flame of illusion for the League, for the doublet, fragile, went out with a slight blow, after a tie so blushing like last week’s stumble, unless Atlético, who play against Real Sociedad today, and Real Madrid, tomorrow in Granada, want to accompany their illustrious friend on the path of mediocrity in the League of Errors (and mistakes).
He put out that flame himself Barça with a calamitous performance, one more. He closed the first half with 0-2 against an opponent who was neither going nor coming and lost that advantage in three minutes allowing himself to be tied, without knowing how to manage the game as expected from a team with workmanship. In the final sprint, no one demands exhibitions or virtuosity, but rather a trade. And to Barça, precisely, there is no excess. When he regained command of the party, and of the League, he handed it over again.
Messi, ready to go
The referee whistled and Messi was already on the touchline to leave the field, ashamed of what he saw and surely with himself, of his participation, so influential when scoring the first goal as with an improper loss that another from Levante generated. The captain left the others behind.
In the remodeled field where the Barça sang the alirón in 2005 with Rijkaard and in 2011 with Guardiola, Koeman’s did not even honor his predecessors with a victory, which was the bare minimum. There are remains of that champion Barça, aged and worse accompanied, without the necessary strength or the same ambition, weighed down by a generous era of titles.
Clear occasions of Pedri
They stretched the team hungry young like De Jong and Pedri, outstanding protagonists of the great Barça start. The canary had two very clear occasions (minutes 1 and 4), which he wasted, without possible apology unless youth is taken as a mitigating factor. He hit the third, on an empty goal. After the genius, of course. It may happen that Messi does not conquer the League, but he will not fail to conquer a Pichichi that deserves to bear his name.
The limit appointment against the healthy Levante, saved and delivered to the sweet life until he sealed the permanence definitively by drawing against Alavés, did not contain the added difficulty of a hypermotivated adversary, neither emboldened by his streak nor in need of points. He did not scratch the granota painting, he leaned back to see them coming, but he did not refuse the invitation to have fun.
Determined to die with the best, his chosen ones, Koeman wanted to shake up the team and get rid of the glanders that was on Saturday afternoon. Lacking different, unique, reliable footballers above all, he chose as revulsive to Dembélé. He reinforced that agitating will by placing him on the right wing, instead of Dest; that is to say, of lateral-extreme. Araujo ousted Mingueza. The only blemish was eating a Bardhi threat.
Disciplined, in the defensive phase, Dembélé lined up with the three behind (also Alba, with what there were five in the last row), but with the ball he pretended to be the forward that he is. Dembélé slackened in defense, Sergi Roberto slackened later and Dest ended slacking.
Koeman could count on Busquets, whose disappearance against Atlético was accused for an hour, until the team decided to eliminate midfield in the last minutes. He played with a protective mask, which did not limit his actions. Busquets only uses his head to think. He touched the ball once with his head and the mask bothered him: the second time, he did not touch it in a play that could have been 0-3.
But the 0-2 seemed like a sufficient advantage due to the dominance exercised by Barça and the apathy of Levante. And no. Koeman’s eleven were not enough two goals ahead to calmly face the second phase. He came out confident after the break and in three minutes he saw his precious income lost due to an inexplicable and unjustifiable defensive laxity. Where there is no young man, by the way. Where they met Sergi Roberto, who had entered for the injured Araujo, Piqué, Lenglet and Alba. Four internationals. Fear, however, had settled in the Barça ranks; far from retaking the thread recovering the ball, hiding it, he began to defend his income. To do what you don’t know.
I raised: Aitor (5); Miramón (6), Vezo (5), Duarte (4); Toño (6); De Frutos (6), Pier (6), Melero (7), Bardhi (5); Roger (6), Morales (7).
Technical: Paco López (6).
Changes: Malsa (5) by Duarte (d. 61); Dani Gómez (5) by Bardhi (d. 61); Coke (sc) by Miramon (m. 74); Sergio León (sc) for Roger (m.74); Giorgi (sc) by Morales (m. 88).
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (4); Araujo (5), Piqué (4), Lenglet (5); Dembélé (5), De Jong (7), Busquets (6), Alba (5); Messi (6), Pedri (5); Griezmann (4).
Technical: Ronald Koeman (6).
Changes: Sergi Roberto (4) de Araujo (m. 46); Mingueza (sc) de Pedri (c. 73); Dest (sc) by Dembélé (c. 80); Braithwaite (sc) from Griezmann (c. 80); Riqui Puig (pb) by S. Roberto (m. 85).
Goals: 0-1 (m. 25), Messi; 0-2 (m. 33), Pedri; 1-2 (m. 57), Melero; 2-2 (m. 60), Morales; 2-3 (m. 64), Dembélé; 3-3 (m. 84), Sergio León.
Referee: Munuera Montero (6), Andalusian.
Cards: De Frutos (m. 21), De Jong (m. 76), Morales (m. 78), Lenglet (m. 89).
Stadium: Valencia city.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.