F.C Barcelona played relegation-threatened Leganes in Barca’s second game since La Liga’s return. Barcelona Vs Leganes was the first game in the Camp Nou in 102 days. And it is fair to say that it was a rather underwhelming and unconvincing performance. Despite all that, there are still lots of things to discuss and dissect about this game—specifically, the goals and key moments. Read the match Report here
The predicted xG for Barca was 2.09, and Leganes’s projected xG was 0.64. Barca ended up with an xG of 1.53, while Leganes ended up with an xG of 0.86.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto (Semedo 53’), Piqué (Umtiti 72’), Lenglet, Firpo; Rakitic, Busquets (Vidal 62’), Arthur (Puig 72’); Messi, Griezmann, Fati (Suárez 53’)
Leganes: Cuéllar; Ruibal, Awaziem, Tarín, Bustinza, Silva (Rodrigues 70’); Mesa (Assalé 45’), Pérez, Recio (Bryan Gil 85’); Eraso (Amadou 62’), Guerrero (Carillo 70’)
11′ Leganes with a big chance. Eraso received the ball in a quick counter-attack on the left and cut inside. It was Lenglet who stopped the threat of a shot. The ball jumped in the air and landed kindly on Guerriero’s feet. He hit it, but Lenglet miraculously saved it on the line. Barcelona was completely wide open at that moment. It was as if the whole midfield and the fullbacks lost focus.
13′ It’s Another Big Chance for Leganes. Recio creates the chance, and Guerriero shoots it narrowly wide. Very close to going into the net. Once again, the whole team found sleeping. The Offside-Trap didn’t work at that moment.
If any of these two chances went in, Barca would’ve been in a lot of trouble. The team was already lacking creativity, and that would’ve made things a lot harder. Setien would’ve indeed been thankful to Guerriero for missing two easy chances. These were critical moments because they would’ve changed the whole trajectory of the match.
31′ Rakitic, who had been decent up until that point, plays a great ball into Griezmann. Griezmann heads it, but it is a big miss. Anyone with better heading ability would have hit that on target.
36′ Unai Bustinza with a horrible rugby tackle on Messi. In my opinion, t should have been a red card, but the referee ushered a Yellow. If the red card was given, the game could have gone very differently, in Barca’s favor.
56′-59′ Gerard Pique was in some discomfort. Thankfully it was just a knock.
64′ There is Some brilliant and electric football by Barcelona. Messi in the creator role sends an outrageously gorgeous through ball into Semedo. Semedo with an excellent cross into Griezmann and a delightful finish by the Frenchman. But unfortunately, it was ruled off for offside. Very close indeed.
Riqui Puig came on late into the second half and brought a lot of dynamism and energy to the midfield. He was confident and very nearly scored.
It was the La Masia youngster Ansu Fati who scored an absolute wonder goal in the 42nd minute. It was Junior Firpo who showed passion and won the ball right outside the box and played a simple yet effective pass into Fati. That was an uplifting moment for the youngster, a cathartic moment for the fans, and a redeeming moment for Firpo. The game overall might not have been the best, but Ansu Fati was the most significant positive. He has the world at his feet and a bright future ahead. He is also just 17 years old, and I have high hopes for the lad.
The second goal was by none other than Lionel Messi, who has returned from the break with style. Two goals and two assists in these last two games. The undisputed G.O.A.T. Messi was determined to make something happen, and it was an unbelievable, almost Alien dribble past half the team. Such strength, tenacity, and determination by the captain. After the ridiculously amazing dribble, he tried to play a one-two with Suarez and was taken down in the box. Penalty awarded. There was a significant delay due to the V.A.R check, but Messi kept his cool and smacked it into the bottom corner. The keeper went the wrong way. It was a brilliant penalty goal with so much power and accuracy, and it sealed the game.
My opinion on the performance:
It was an excellent performance by Messi and Ansu. There were standout performances, but the team as a collective played poorly. There was too much sterile possession and not enough creativity and penetration. Individual brilliance won us the game with a bit of luck, But I am always optimistic under Setien. There were significant rotations, and Leganes only sat back and defended with a low-block. Fingers crossed, I am hoping for the best in the next game.
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