Disaster. Speechless. Embarrassing. Even these words can’t fully captivate the frustration and depression that this Barcelona performance caused. Barcelona’s embarrassing performance in Paris today was jaw-dropping. PSG came out and rocked them from start to finish with no mercy. Worst of all, the team never showed any form of resilience and desire to crawl back and fight. They crawled up and accepted the defeat. A historical defeat leaves them with a foot and half out the door and only the fanbase seems to care.
On paper, the lineup seemed competitive except for the re-appearing achilles tendon: Andre Gomes. I am aware I am not a World class coach. Sure I led my girls to a State Cup championship but I cannot compare my knowledge and ability to lead to a coach like Luis Enrique. Nonetheless, even I can easily spot that Andre Gomes has no business within Barcelona’s starting XI.
Get him as far away from the starters as possible. Don’t even bench him. Don’t even bring him along in the trip. Leave him at home with his family. He does not deserve to wear the illustrious blaugrana jersey. A player of his ability should not even be mentioned in the same sentence as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. Provides little to nothing when he has the ball. Seems stranded and slow in the midfield when it’s time to track back and recover. Whenever he steps on the field, Barcelona practically play with 10 men. Somehow, despite his awful performances, Luis Enrique continues to start him over Ivan Rakitic.
Let’s not get off track. Gomes inability to perform even the slightest defensive effort wasn’t the only issue with the team today. It was an important piece but Barcelona’s embarrassing performance went deeper than that. Aside from Ter Stegen and Neymar, every player representing the Catalan side was near awful today. Truthfully, the scoreline showed it.
Unai Emery has been studying Barcelona for years since his time in Sevilla. He deeply analyzed every single aspect of Barcelona’s gameplay and exploited it to perfection. He was aware that Barcelona’s right side was exploitable since Sergi Roberto is still adjusting to his new defensive position and he receives little to no help. Julian Draxler and Blaise Matuidi consistently created havoc for Roberto on that left wing.
On the defensive side, PSG would force and even bait Barcelona to play down the right flank knowing that Roberto would be less threatening offensively than Jordi Alba and Neymar. The transition from mid to defender will take Sergi Roberto some time like it took Mascherano back in 2011. Difference is, in Barcelona’s system, Roberto is expected to go up and down the right flank flawlessly like the great Dani Alves. But as we can easily see, Sergi Roberto is no Dani Alves.
Sure, it was an amazing tactical game by PSG from start to finish. The french champions were determined to eliminate Barcelona once and for all and they did just that. Maybe Emeri played them some Friday Night Lights or had some Coach Carter-like practices leading up to this. Regardless of what his tactics were, they worked to perfection. Even then, we expected more from Barcelona. There’s always been teams that have been tactically genius and give them a fight. At the end of the night, hard work, resilience and magic save the day for them. It’s worked against Atletico and Bayern amongst others. Of course by magic, I meant the mission guest of honor tonight: Lionel Messi.
With the middle of field strategically swamped, Messi and Suarez had little to no touches of the ball. For the first time all season, Messi didn’t touch the ball in the opponent’s penalty box. Suarez was as invisible as Real Madrid treble (it’s been a long day let me enjoy this shot at Madrid). We’re so used to seeing Messi finding a way through tough and congested defenses or Suarez fighting through tackles to create an opportunity. Just not today. No heart no desire no magic. Just no Barcelona.
Barcelona’s embarrassing performance tonight will go down in history has one of the most epic and humiliating matches in history of the Champions League. A chance for rivals to crack jokes and attempt to drive the attention away from their club’s misfortunes. What can we really say to defend our team? Why stick our neck out and fight for our team’s colors when the player’s themselves did not? Like I said before, it seemed as if the only ones affected by today’s result was the fans.
— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) February 11, 2017
Barca is dead under Enrique. Some will talk of results & trophies but Barca is so much more than that. #LuchoOut
— Jay Guevera (@babajay1) February 15, 2017
90 minutes still left to play. 90 minutes to score at least four in front of a radiant and anxious crowd in Camp Nou. If this team is playing at the level that they’re capable of, nothing is out of reach. Luis Enrique needs to make drastic changes if he wants to keep his team in the most important club competition in the World. With Messi leading the way, we’ve learned that nothing is impossible and that Messi can make the impossible probable. That’s only if they want it. Only if they leave sweat, blood and tears on the field for the club. If they fail to complete the miraculous comeback, Barcelona’s embarrassing performance tonight will live in history.