Barça
Sports 24/10/2021

Barça show their powerlessness in front of half the world (1-2)

Without ideas or leadership, Koeman's side fall to defeat against Real Madrid in yet another painful 'clásico'

3 min
Ansu Fati, after missing a chance during the Barça-Madrid game

BarcelonaFollowing Barça has become an act of faith, an agony. An exercise in masochism where you endure the wounds in expectation of a pleasure that doesn't always come. The clásico against Madrid, instead of being a day to take heart from the future, has been a new act of penance. A new wound in a torture that has been dragging on for too long. Barcelonismo bears the cross of following a team without ideas, which could have done even more damage if Madrid had been more successful in attack (1-2). This is the sad reality. Kun Agüero's goal, with 20 seconds left, was like an unfunny joke, when there was nothing left to do.

We can't criticise Koeman for hiding the reality because in his press conferences he has taken it upon himself to prepare the members for the next defeat, making sure he finds a good headline for his project: it is what it is. And what there is is a team, tactically and collectively, inferior to Madrid. A sad spectacle. So sad, that at times, the fans are left with their eyes lost in the horizon, not even wanting to get angry. When a strong team crosses paths with the azulgrana team, something breaks in the stadium. In top-level football, playing with passion is not enough to paper over the cracks. And Ancelotti's Madrid have taken advantage of Koeman's decisions to squeeze out their vertical attacks. Fortunately for Barça, they were not having their day in front of goal either. Instead of two, there could have been more goals.

It is true that Sergiño Dest could have changed everything if, instead of shooting into the second tier, he had sent the ball into the back of the net when the fans were already getting up from their seats to shout for a goal that never came, but it was a mirage. Courtois didn't have much work to do, apart from catching sideways crosses. And Madrid gradually made the game their own in a stadium where they have become accustomed to not being beaten. Koeman has in fact lost three clásicos in a row. Bad sign.

Alaba, celebrating Madrid's goal at Camp Nou

And Barça came out in high spirits on a day when more than 85,000 people filled the Camp Nou once again. Like a student flat being tidied and cleaned all day when their parents came to visit them, Barça tried to give the fans who returned to the stadium their best side. With the 4-3-3 of the last few days where Dest plays as a winger, with Gavi making his debut in a clásico against Modric, a player who made his debut in the first division when the former was one year old. They are 17 years apart. Koeman has opted for Mingueza at right-back, leaving him alone against Vini Junior. And the Brazilian has always won the duels. Ancelotti's team didn't need the ball to be in control. Every counter attack revealed the tactical poverty of a Barça side that ended up hurting themselves in a counter attack where Alaba, a centre-back, crossed the entire pitch alone. Nobody followed him, in a kind of collective Barça suicide.

Benzema forgives

Koeman, aware that the game was going badly, continued to insist on praying for Coutinho, bringing him on for Mingueza at half-time. Dest had to dance with Vinicius. And it was the Brazilian's turn to try and prove why the Dutchman is still the only person who trusts him. Countinho has become the great metaphor to explain the drift of recent years of a club that fled forward, sinking deeper into the mud of debts and senseless decisions. And now, of course, it is difficult to change the course of a ship adrift for too long. Barça is a badly written draft, a declaration of intentions like those at the end of the year that nobody fulfils, the shadow of times that were better. And defeats like these hurt because not even the promise of a better future arrives. A collective shipwreck where not even the spark of Ansu Fati or Gavi's outburst has allowed us to dream. Those who ignited the hearts of Barcelona fans not so long ago, like Memphis, are now also being punished in the corner. Beyond Busquets, there was little else. At the start of the second half, it was clear that the stadium was facing a defeat foretold, despite the attempts to ward off evil spirits by cheering on a team that repeated in the second half the sins of the first.

Barça kept hanging balls until the end, until Agüero, when the match was already dead, scored his first goal in his Barça clothes. The resource of those who have no ideas, who have no magic. The resource of a Koeman who in the clásico has lost the credit he regained against Valencia and Dinamo. His destiny seems to be to walk the tightrope until Laporta's patience runs out. On the day of the clásico, the one where more than 600 million people watch the match on television, Barça has been left naked again. Powerless, without ideas.

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