The Barcelona saved, at the last moment, a complicated game in Mendizorroza (0-1), with a goal from Frenkie de Jong who saved a monumental stumble before the Alaves, the penultimate classified of the League. The Catalans didn’t find a way to break down the ‘babazorro’ wall until minute ’88, when a great filtered pass from Jordi Alba allowed to Ferran Torres leave a ball on a tray for the Dutchman to beat Pacheco and give the three points to the azulgranas.
And it has been left aside that Barcelona of touch, movement and triangulation. Inconsequential possession has become the ‘leitmotif’ of the team, without verticality and without bite in the final meters, whose only solution to try to surprise the rivals is hang balls to the area, something that, against Alavés, not only did not work for him, but also constantly crashed into a wall that he did not know how to cross… except for a miraculous action in the last seconds.
Xavi arrived at Barça on November 5, although he did not sit on the bench until 15 days later. Since then, has led the team in thirteen games and the list of results has not been too favorable: adds six wins, three draws and four losses. The problem is not only that he has punctured more than won since he trained the culé team, but that neither the sensations nor the sporting moment in which the team is has improved with respect to Ronald Koeman.
Eliminated from the Champions League, the Copa del Rey and defeated in the semifinals of the Super Cup, only the Europa League and the League seem like options to continue fighting for something although, realistically, the domestic championship looks like a miracle. In fact, when Xavi took over the reins of the team, he was twelve points behind the leader, Real Madrid… and, now, is fifteen. Few green shoots except to bet on a quarry that is not saving the drift of the entity either. The best news is that he is only one point away from the Champions League.
As if that were not enough, other kinds of problems have been added to the sporting problems: with six injured -Iñaki Peña, Samuel Umtiti, Éric García, Sergi Roberto, Memphis Depay and Ansu Fati, who could even have to undergo surgery-, the ‘Dembélé case’ has joined, a situation that does not facilitate the community of the team. Economic, structural and even staff-building problems mean that Barcelona has become the house of messes, something that is reflected on the grass.
The first forty-five minutes offered nothing…or almost nothing. If in the soccer manuals it appeared the definition of zero to zero, the first half between Alavés and Barcelona would be the perfect epitome. The two teams, more aware of protecting themselves and not suffering in defense than to create: Alavés, a stealth looking to surprise by speed; Barcelona, forgetting to combine to trust everything to the centers by band. Three quarters of an hour that will not remain in the retina of ball lovers.
In fact, we had to wait ten seconds before the end of the first part to see the occasion more clearly. Barça, with a lot of possession but without depth, played and played… until they lost an absurd ball and allowed Luis Rioja hit a perfect ball Pere Pons behind the defense. The midfielder went hand in hand with Ter Stegen, but unaccustomed to being in these fights, sent a meek ball into the hands of the German goalkeeper, who did not suffer to stop it.
Salvation over the horn
The second half began with a little more spark and with a new clear chance for Pere Pons, after a great play by Joselu, which he could not solve heel. Alavés began to to believe that it could hurt Barça and began to be more vertical, while the azulgrana continued to hang balls in search of Luke de Jong hunted one…. and in one of those came the first big chance for the culé, after a beautiful cross from Pedri after free kick Pacheco miraculously saved.
From there, Pedri he started to grow in the game, with more ball at his feet and trying to manage Barcelona’s times, but again it was Joselu the one who had it, with a header that came close to Ter Stegen’s goal. However, when the game expired, in the 88th minute, a great ball from Jordi Alba behind the defense allowed Ferran Torres to put a ball to the penalty spot, where Frenkie de Jong appeared to beat Pacheco and give the three points to Barcelona.
Despite this, in the last play of the game, it would be Ter Stegen the one that would avoid the draw, after stopping a powerful header from Edgar coming out of a corner. Barcelona achieved a more than hard-fought victory against the third-last ranked team in the League and continues to be mired in a major game and identity crisis. The culés do not finish finding their style, with a boring, predictable game without too much personal stamp. This yes, the Barça obtained three points of gold on the buzzer.