Barcelona vs Cadiz was the perfect opportunity for Blaugrana to show there is still ambition and fight in this team. Atletico Madrid’s last two games were considered a failure with only 1 point taken. A potential win would’ve seen Barcelona climb the table again and shorten the distance to rojiblancos.
Barcelona vs Cadiz – the line-up
Many people questioned the decision to start with the same team that was trounced by PSG in the Champions League. However, Ronald Koeman wanted to get a reaction out of these players. The season became a fight for personal pride, not challenging for trophies, so from that point of view, the squad should be more than equipped to try and win this game.
Sergio Busquets recorded match number 400 for Barcelona in La Liga, coming behind only to Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta in the red and blue shirt.
Final third questions posed by the low block of Cadiz
Barcelona struggled to maintain a high tempo and threaten the opposition more seriously. Lethargic and very predictable movement limited the opportunities for a surprise in the final third. The spaces behind the defensive line were minimal and that made Barcelona circle around the penalty area without much success even in the second half.
Few half-chances like this combination between Pedri and Messi, however, the amount of players in yellow close to the situation is staggering. The only goal for Barcelona came from a lack of concentration from two Cadiz players and a very sloppy challenge on Pedri meant the referee had no other choice but to point to the spot.
Messi scored giving the much-needed advantage for the Catalans.
How Cadiz did it?
Cadiz approached that game extremely cautiously. Their defensive shape resembled the lowest of blocks you can imagine. Sometimes even including 9 players lined up at the edge of their penalty area. Spaces were non-existent.
A mix between 5-4-1 and 6-3-1 in defence means the Cadiz players had to put an incredible shift in defence and soak as much pressure as they can. Ledesma was forced to make some great saves once again.
With the low block, Cadiz felt comfortable absorbing the pressure and just wait for a counter-attack. And that’s how the best situation in the first-half came along. Cadiz played the ball out wide and that meant Barcelona had to defend facing their own goal. The backline is not structured and that means gaps appear between the midfield and the defence.
Sergio Busquets can’t back to cover the space, Pique’s positioning does not help either and Cadiz were millimetres away from taking the lead at the Nou Camp. Barcelona seemed content with the fragile lead and Cadiz just stayed in the game. Their strategy worked wonders. A long ball in the 89th minute saw Clement Lenglet made his regular defensive blunder. He couldn’t judge the flight of the ball, had no situational awareness, and just made a harsh tackle trying to win a 50/50 ball in his penalty area.
The innocuous situation gave a golden opportunity to Cadiz to take a point away from the Nou Camp. Penalty scored. Point taken. 4 points from two games against the Catalans this season for Cadiz.
Yet another opportunity went along. Uninspiring, lacklustre, and quite frankly depressing style of football offering little to no excitement. Constant defensive blunders, lack of energy, and absence of ideas. The story of Barcelona’s season summed up in one game. Yet again. With that, the last hopes of something meaningful this season has gone through the window. The more the opportunities come along, the more Barcelona show they have no fight left in them. Another match, another bitter disappointment.