Trying something new with a halftime recap.
In a word, abysmal. If Barça has two quality Xis to call upon, the other one must be missing. This group hasn’t played together? Sure, if you buy that, or don’t have eyes. They’re terrible. The only good thing about the half has been Alejandro Balde, who continues to hammer nails into Alba’s coffin.
Raphinha put that early chance off the post, then Cadiz realized how slow Barça was playing and that all they had to do is move a little bit to shut them down. The team just isn’t good enough at any level of play.
Ferran Torres will likely have people find good things about his play. But FC Barcelona might as well have put 55m into the wood chipper. I get stress every time I say this. But every outing he proves what? That FC Barcelona might as well have put 55m into a wood chipper. He adds absolutely nothing, except the occasional stupid shot. There was even a moment in that half where Raphinha got a great cross in to the far post. Lewandowski would have been celebrating the goal. Torres? Head in hands at the run not made.
Meanwhile, Memphis Depay rope-a-doped his way into a stay, and you can be forgiven for thinking he is sabotaging play out of spite. Slack movement, sulky, scuffed a shot a player worth any kind of a damn puts away. A disgusting exhibition from a player who should be happy to have gotten a second life.
Bellerin doesn’t offer anything that Dest doesn’t. Enough said.
More crucially, the team doesn’t have any life, any creativity, any zest. De Jong has a moment tailor-made for him to take a match over, to do that stuff that so many insist he can. He’s a cipher. A few moments, but mostly just part of a wallpaper of adequacy. Nobody is doing anything. If that doesn’t change, if speed of play doesn’t accelerate, if mediocre performers aren’t pulled, look for an egg-on-face draw in Cadiz.
The penalty? Sure, those have been given. But Balde was going over as soon as there was contact. A different player maybe gets that one? Not a newly promoted kid from the B team. Yes, referees roll like that.
Now for the second half.