Messi news; after falling awkwardly on his right arm consequence of a challenge in a innocuous part of the field is Real misery. More Real misery with another ridiculous result against Levante.
Lionel Messi left the field last night in the 26’ minute in the top-of-the-table clash against Sevilla. First reports suggest 3 weeks recovery period in which Barcelona will play some very important matches; Inter in midweek Champions League and El Classico next weekend.
By the time he was forced off he’s already done his job for the night; set up Coutinho for the opener and then doubled the lead with a trademark finish from the edge of the box.
Barcelona had a healthy advantage when Leo walked off the field and managed to hold on to it till the end even if Ter Stegen was called to the rescue on more than one occasion. His double double-save interventions provided the foundations for the team’s eventual win. Suarez from the penalty spot and Rakitič with a spectacular volley were the other scorers for the home side to clinch the result that brought Barcelona back on top of the league.
Sevilla had more than enough chances to cause the upset at Nou Camp but failed to take them in crucial moments. While pushing to get back in the game had a glorious chance to make it 2-1. However the aforementioned Barca goalkeeper proved to big an obstacle. Just 2 minutes after failing to close the gap Sevilla was in even greater backlog. Suarez escaped his marker and was brought down by the goalkeeper in the box; penalty for blaugrana, 3-0 and game virtually closed. From a wonderful chance to re-open the game and make Barca sweat for the points, Sevilla blew it! Big time!
The visitors managed to pull one back with a deflected shot that evaded the German in goal and suddenly the Andaluzians were back in it. At 3-1 for the home side Sevilla again had a goal denied by the incredible goalie.
Ter Stegen proved his worth with fantastic saves however Sevilla attackers have their fair share in promoting the goalkeeper. In both occasions first save was top notch and Sevilla players hardly could do much better. But the second shot in both situations had to be much, much better! No matter whom you play, you have to take advantage of opportunities like those!
Anybody thinks Barca players would allow these kind of chances to go wasted? Surely not!
It’s a real shame because Sevilla demonstrated that can play Barcelona evenly and restrict them to only 52% of possession! We’ve already established in the past that possession itself means very little however the Catalans make it one of their main points and Sevilla matching them in this segment mean that they’ve managed to limit one of their main weapons.
No matter the important win and claiming first spot again I’m convinced Valverde would trade the 3 points with having Messi at disposal for the next few fixtures. Dembele, coming on for the injured star, proved very irritating. Some of the coaches reactions to the young French actions said it all.
This is not funny any more! Real’s struggles were well documented the last month or so but with the last defeat at home to Levante the word crisis best explains the situation. Even if the European champions threw everything but the kitchen sink at the visitors still couldn’t capitalize on it. Over 20 attempts on goal, denied by the frame on more then one occasion and the goalkeeper producing a few miracles himself ended in another shameful result that has to bring some changes.
Real Madrid can’t be dependent on Marcelo’s right foot to produce goals, even if fortune really wasn’t on their side this weekend. Courtois barely had anything to do but to pick the ball out of his net, twice, meanwhile his colleague across the pitch had an eventful afternoon .
Santiago Bernabeu is a hostile environment for the home side when the performance isn’t spectacular enough no matter the result. You can only imagine what’s like now when beside the entertainment the result is missing too.
Lopetegui must be feeling the pressure since voices growing louder of Perez holding intense talk with Conte to take over. Since Real has a fortunate history with Italian coaches, just think of Ancelotti and Capello, this could be a solution to shake a bit the team and at least secure some points.
Luckily, Champions league is right behind the corner and Victoria Plzen can serve as a morale boosting opponent before the trip to Barcelona next weekend.
Surely Levante currently finds itself in heaven as beside taking the biggest scalp in the world in their own back-yard! With these 3 points they hold 7th position with only a point shy of the famous opponent the just beat. And with more goals scored.
Elsewhere, Atletico drew away at Villarreal and Valencia also got only a point from Leganes.
However, the biggest story of the season so far is the incredible Deportivo Alaves! Before Barcelona’s win last night the leader of the Spanish league after Friday night’s win in Vigo against Celta. Extremely economical in terms of goals, with only 12 scored in 9 games, however enough to generate a breath of fresh air in the high places of the standings.
Even if we’re only half-way thru the 9th round, there have been enough good and bad news. Surprises and confirmations that whatever happens in the other matches won’t change the general feeling; giants are suffering and it’s the occasion that must be taken advantage of.