- Arthiac Team
They say that "patience is a virtue", but at FC Barcelona, there's chaos of the highest calibre.
Ever since Lionel Messi's departure from the shores of Catalonia, FC Barcelona have never been the same club in the eyes of many around us.
In the domestic games they have played this season, there were huge patches of play in those 90 minutes where the club were being bullied defensively when they were on the attack.
In La Liga, whether Barcelona plays at home or away, the opposition does not fear the Catalan side, especially when they visit the Camp Nou. That goes without saying that a lot has changed at Camp Nou on and off the pitch.
Last week was horrendous for those who worship the club from Catalonia, as Barca were hammered 0-3 at home against Bayern Munich. Barcelona failed to register a shot on target in that game at the Camp Nou, which is an insult in itself to the club and their fans.
Gerard Pique said in a post-match interview, "In the end, I don't know how many kids we had on the pitch. It is what it is, we are what we are."
The week continued to be a nightmare for the club as they drew 1-1 against Granada at home at the Camp Nou. Granada took the lead within 2 minutes of kick-off when Domingos Duarte headed in at the far end of the post. Barcelona required a 90th minute equalising goal from Araujo, but it was not enough for the Catalans to seal a victory.
Barcelona's fans' hopes for this season have clearly been dented after their idol, Lionel Messi, left the club earlier this season, and the squad that Ronald Koeman has at his disposal is slim and thin, as they look like a side that could crack easily under slight pressure.
The steel that Koeman and his staff require this season will need to be top-notch to meet the demands of all those knocking at Koeman's door until and unless he finds a winning solution with the players he has.
How long until Koeman's tactics bear fruit?
Whenever a colossal player like Messi leaves the club at such a short notice, it always adds an added burden on the shoulders of the concerned coach and Barcelona's Dutch coach is feeling the heat much more than when he made his arrival at the Catalan club.
It's all about "Patience." Unfortunately, Ronald Koeman doesn't have the luxury that he would wish to have for the season run-in. The ammunition that he had for the games against Bayern Munich was not enough for his side to contain the threat that Bayern had in store.
In the game against Granada, Ansu Fati, Jordi Alba, Sergio Aguero and Pedri were all left out due to injuries. Those names don't need any introduction as they have put themselves in the history books for many years to come.
However, without those players on your right-hand side, it becomes extremely difficult to carry out a planned course of action.
Yes, we understand that the quality of players that Barcelona have eclipses the players that other clubs have at their disposal, but with the green light given for the use of additional physical contact, La Liga has become much more breath-taking as the lower sides bank on the slight change in rules to give themselves a better chance at competing within the division. This tests the physical aspect of Barcelona's game as they are all mostly about quality.
For the record, Barcelona have a lot of youngsters in their squad this season, which has resulted from La Liga's rules on fitting in players within a certain salary cap.
As you may be aware, youngsters need time to mend and mould themselves into the standards that their fans and La Liga demand from them.
At the moment, it seems as though Barcelona don't have enough leaders on the pitch even though they have the likes of Pique, Busquets, Jordi Alba and Ter Stegen at the helm of the squad. By the looks of it, it doesn't look like there is a player on the field who could guide the others around them as the club still struggles to find their feet domestically this season.
On Wednesday, Ronald Koeman arrived at the pre-match press conference to talk about his team and their preparation for their fixture against Cadiz, and he was supposed to answer media questions as usual, but things took a twist as the Dutch manager brought in a page or two along with him and read out a pretty extended statement to those that drew their ears to him.
A portion of the letter goes as follows:
Hello everyone, the club is with me as the coach in a situation of rebuilding. The financial situation of the club is connected to the sporting activities and vice versa. This means that we, as a team, have to rebuild the football team without being able to make any big financial investments. This needs time.
The young talent today could end up being the next big world stars in just a few years. In order to reconstruct this team means that young players get opportunities, like Xavi and Iniesta had in their day, but we must ask for patience.
He continued to read his statement, which lasted for about 3 minutes, and walked out the door.
The manager knows where he is and what he has to do to deliver for this iconic club, yet he knows and strongly feels that those connected to the club do not trust him well enough and provide him the time and space to build the players at his disposal that would generate concrete results on the pitch.
If Barcelona runs in your blood, we can understand the whistles and boos that ring around the Camp Nou during and after the game.
It's about "Patience."
The fans have their own reasons to whistle at their own players, but they cannot be blamed. These fans are used to winning and conquering opponents home or away in La Liga as well as the Champions League.
If you look at Barcelona's previous games in the Champions League, even with Messi, they were not just being beaten, they got hammered!
Here are a few results that prove our claim.
|2019-20||Bayern Munich||8-2 Loss|
|2020-21||PSG - Away||1-1 Draw|
|PSG - Home||4-1 Loss|
|Juventus - Home||2-0 Win|
|Juventus - Away||3-0 Loss|
|2021-22||Bayern Munich - Home||3-0 Loss|
In the Champions League, against Bayern Munich, it was a footballing display that showed that Barcelona do not belong among the big boys as they were defeated in a "walk-in-the-park" fashion at the Camp Nou.
It is just about "acceptance" for Barcelona fans right now. There is not much they can do on the field under the current circumstances. The domestic and European clubs around them are soaring high this season and they will continue to do so.
When it comes to FC Barcelona, at least for now, they are a long way away from the elites out there in European football. The situation might change when they have Aguero, Pedri and Ansu Fati back in the fold, but their minutes will have to be managed wisely this season given that there are a lot of games coming in a very short time-span.
The only way that we think that Ronald Koeman can get the best out of this Barcelona side is by "taking risks."
In the game against Granada, the line up set out was a clear indicator that Koeman wasn't crazy, but he had to make those changes in his playing XI given the fact that he has to preserve and maintain the energy levels of his side to "compete" in all the trophies that they participate in this season.
"Quality" on the field has to be "sacrificed" time and time again to get the best out of the ammunition that Koeman has in his armoury. Only then will this side prosper a long way this season.
At the end of the day, it's about "Patience" and "Acceptance" for those that bleed for Barca.