There is no end to the agony of Barcelona, with Ronald Koeman as the main martyr. The grandeur, the magic is gone for good. A powerless, sad team drew 1-1 at home in the nick of time against the diminutive Granada.
Through Edwin Stores
The decline. The slow decline. The unrecognizable team, so far from the glory of the best days. FC Barcelona on late Monday night took a step further into the quicksand it ended up in a year, perhaps longer ago. A treacherous surface from which Ronald Koeman does not seem to be able to pull the team out. One early goal from Granada was enough to shake the once proud stronghold. Araújo’s late equalizer was little consolation, as two expensive points were lost.
Losing 3-0 at home to Bayern Munich last week was painful. But that was still quite in line with where the ailing Barca stand in Europe. Without Messi, with many injured and unknown youngsters who get a chance from Koeman. Balde, Demir, Gavi… Nobody knows them, but there isn’t much left either, so there is some credit. Or wash.
Because six days later, not being able to master Granada either, in perhaps the only battle this season where the blaugranas have any chance, a long competition where everyone loses points and doesn’t easily win their matches, that is deadly. For the coach, for his team, for his young players and invisible stars such as Memphis, Frenkie de Jonge and everyone else who remains, although the old guard only allowed Busquets to start in the base.
Koeman knew beforehand that this duel would be his first in an endless series of exams, which he would only pass if a prize was won at the end of the school year. But in football, a coach often cannot even finish that school year. And so Koeman also knows that the criticism, the pressure, the call for his departure will only increase in the coming days.
The question of which other trainer can get this team to win again is difficult to answer. The soul is gone, the heart ripped out, not only by Messi’s departure, but at least he was still a peg to rely on, and above all to instill constant fear into an opponent. This Barca doesn’t do that anymore. Memphis, having started so well this season, was best against Granada at taking crosses from free kicks; furthermore he could not free himself from a prison with countless strict guards.
Just before half time, the strong-heading defender Araujo was close to the equalizer after a first half without chances. Barca were already behind then, long ago. Within a minute and a half, Granada had taken the surprising lead via Domingos Duarte. The remaining hour and a half were a tough test of impotence, with no football, with sporadic chances.
An endless suffering, for the spectators who have already abandoned the team. Only two-thirds of the allowed 33,000 socios had asked for a ticket. The feeling is gone, both the corona pandemic and the club’s deep crisis have chased away the ever-critical supporters, all orphans of Messi.
After the break, Luuk de Jong was allowed to show up again, as a possible savior. The former team of the tikitaka went to try with high crosses. Frenkie de Jong swam around in a murky pond, where no one from Barça saw any clarity. Eighty percent possession without any danger, like a fisherman staring at his motionless float for hours. Luuk de Jong, otherwise invisible, had the best chance in the final phase, but headed over from close range. Moments later, Araújo did it again, but with success. But only good for a meager tip and hardly any relief.
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Even after a hard-fought point against Granada, Koeman continues to suffer at powerless Barça | Foreign football
Source link Even after a hard-fought point against Granada, Koeman continues to suffer at powerless Barça | Foreign football