Barcelona’s anxiousness over life with out Lionel Messi has been a recurring theme in current seasons.
Even he couldn’t bail them out of their worst La Liga begin in 25 years.
Newly promoted Granada shocked Barcelona 2-0 on Saturday regardless of Messi approaching at halftime, due to a fast strike by Ramon Azeez within the second minute and a penalty by Alvaro Vadillo within the 66th.
Messi was influential, creating a number of probabilities that neither he nor his teammates may convert. In consequence, the intimate however raucous Los Cármenes venue watched Barcelona limp to only seven factors from its first 5 league matches, the bottom complete since taking 5 over the identical stretch to start out the 1994-95 marketing campaign.
A lot of the criticism has fallen on the shoulders of supervisor Ernesto Valverde, and he doesn’t appear to have any solutions for a facet utterly devoid of creativeness and incisive play. Large summer season signings Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong failing to register so far, and the expertise within the facet woefully underperforming. The lone shiny spot has been the relative emergence of 16-year-old Ansu Fati, however he’s too younger to be a constant match-winner.
Barcelona was behind the 8-ball virtually instantly on Saturday, when Roberto Soldado dispossessed Júnior Firpo and performed Antonio Puertas across the stumbling fullback. Puertas’ cross was deflected the place it was met by the onrushing Azeez (through beIN Sports activities):
Maybe a foul may have been known as on Puertas early within the build-up for shouldering down Clément Lenglet earlier than the 50-50 ball arrived, however Barcelona nonetheless had a lot time and house to get better such complaints would fall on deaf ears.
Puertas performed a covert function within the second purpose as properly. He ducked away from positioning towards Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal within the field on a cross, and Vidal’s arm was raised anticipating contact. As a substitute, the ball deflected to the bottom and VAR accurately awarded a penalty:
Vadillo coolly despatched goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen the improper course to double the benefit:
So Messi and Barcelona chased a path again into the sport, and it by no means got here.
For its half, Granada is now prime of the desk on purpose differential by way of 5 rounds. Not unhealthy for a membership that was within the Segunda División a season in the past, though a winner in Sunday’s Actual Madrid-Sevilla match would overtake them.
In order that they’re in unfamiliar territory, even early within the season. Barcelona, in the meantime, is in distressingly acquainted territory in needing Messi as a lot as they ever have.
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