Barcelona 5-1 Ferencvaros: Editorial Review
Koeman had an excellent opening of Champions League campaign for Barcelona with 5-1 victory over the Hungarian Giants Ferencvaros. Messi opened the score for Barcelona with a penalty. With Fati, Coutinho, Dembele and Pedri on the scoresheet alongside captain, Barcelona showed immense quality in this game. In this editorial review, our editors will talk about their view on this brilliant five-goal haul of Barcelona over Ferencvaros.
A positive team and individual performances
What a start to the Champions League Campaign! Its always the best thing to start on the right path, and Barca did it today.
Ferencvaros were an unpredictable side. The start of the game was a bit nervy one as Barca, despite trying hard to dominate, they weren’t able to do so. And Ferencvaros gets the credit for that. They were confident while carrying the ball to the attack and an attack boasting of fast players, and they did give Barca a scare.
The nerves were settled as Barca started to dominate the ball and won 50-50 challenges. Messi after an amazing run was fouled which led to the penalty and the captain scored to make it 1-0. Another goal came by Ansu Fati after a beautiful lobbed pass from De Jong.
The positives from the first half were Trincao and Pjanic. Both knew what to do when they got the ball. Trincao was very efficient, and his decision making was quite impressive. Pjanic’s play and positioning helped us see a different version of Messi and De Jong.
The second half started on a good note as Coutinho got his goal after a fantastic team play and a cheeky assist by Fati. Despite dominating the ball, a long ball from Ferencvaros sent the attacker away, and Pique pulled his shirt which led to a penalty ultimately which made it 3-1 and he was sent off.
Pedri and Dembele rounded off the scoring and Barca finished with an impressive 5-1 score. What’s more important than the goals in this match is how the team played. Koeman might have his answer for the right flank, as Dembele and Trincao played very well.
Busquets is a far better player now coming off the bench as he can be used to see out matches. The pair of De Jong and Pjanic looked great. And, as soon as Alba is back, Dest should start at the right-back position. He was very efficient with what he did with the ball.
Overall an outstanding performance keeping in mind, the Clasico is the next match we play. The games are coming thick and fast now, and it is more than important Koeman have a perfect starting XI sooner rather than later.
A decent first UCL match with good overall involvement
Although it’s only Barça’s first UCL match, one thing can be said about this side, and it’s that Barca has involved most of their players in both phases of the game.
There’s a lot to improve on, especially defensively during counters, and another particular improvement to be made is losing the ball during the transition. Barca at the moment has a long way to go before they can be considered a proper contender for the UCL, and whether this team is actually capable of it, only time will tell.
It seems as though with every match, the squad understands each other’s movements better, complementing each other better. It’s only natural that the team needs time to settle, as a lot of changes have been brought in to the team, and even a completely different system.
Barca over both halves were good, but they need to step up if they aim to do well against more vigorous opponents. The real test will be against physically dominant, and higher intensity sides which have wreaked havoc against Barca, over the past seasons. Dest showed his defensive stability and was constantly a reliable option during the build-up with his overlapping run.
The front 4 of Messi, Coutinho, Fati and Trincao saw an increased linkup play, something that the team missed against Getafe. Good linkup is crucial for Barca to beat the low block, along with positional fluidity. The Messi-Coutinho movement creates space, giving chances to Fati and Trincao to run in behind.
Griezmann is more static upfront and cannot partner with Coutinho and play off of each other as Messi and Coutinho do. Neto deserves a lot of credit for how he’s been playing. He’s really stepped up since Ter Stegen’s absence and has been solid between the sticks. All this while he hasn’t been played as regularly.
Pedri’s maturity is a clear indication of his potential, and he should be given more minutes often. Only proper rotation can get the best out of the current squad, and to figure out the balance, will be Koeman’s biggest challenge.
In conclusion, a positive start for Barca, although they have to work much harder to do well against stronger opponents. Only time will tell if this Barca side can change the course of recent history.
MOTM: A lot of players had a good game; it has to be Pedri for me, specifically for his awareness.
When I saw the starting lineup, I was convinced about the kind of game it was going to be. Griezmann was benched, and Trincao got his first start on the RW, Messi up front, Fati on the right-wing, Coutinho as the CAM, De jong and Pjanic starting in the double pivot with Busquets in the bench. Roberto as RB, Dest as LB and, usual Pique, Lenglet duo in the central defence.
One of the reasons for this lineup was rotations, considering our fixture ahead; but still, we could see how much of quality Trincao possessed. Not just Trincao, Fati, who’s barely 17 years old scored the second goal of the game from a delicate ball from De jong.
Messi was on terrific form tonight. He was making those typical Messi runs, dribbles and had also his name on the scoresheet with a penalty goal which he had won himself in such a beautiful way. Trincao-Messi linkup from the right side probably has made Koeman rethink on giving a chance to Griezmann in that position. Trincao was excellent.
Coutinho hasn’t looked back ever since he came back from Bayern. He’s doing everything possible for the team. Pjanic and De jong were also very brilliant. The thing about Pjanic is, he can execute some difficult forward passes bypassing the defensive line which creates lots of chances for the team.
De jong seemed more comfortable alongside Pjanic as both Pjanic and De jong likes to strive forward instead of staying there just holding the ball for possession.
Pedri who came on as sub later on yet again showed his quality. His decision-making ability is so much more brilliant than the speed booster Dembele. Dembele was also useful in terms of getting his name in scoresheet and assist list as well, but he’s yet to mould himself in the right shape in terms of decision making. He will probably be there soon.
Pique got a red card at around 68 mins which I felt like it was quite unfair. Still, Barcelona didn’t look much fragile as they are used to being; they managed to finish the game with utter domination.
Dest was brilliant; he was actually running his lungs out as he had said in his press conference after being announced as a Barca player.
It was a brilliant team victory, and I am sure Messi was pleased too. Barcelona needs to keep this form; Koeman needs to figure out his best men. There’s still some room for improvement tactically, but we will get there soon. It was a great game from Barcelona’s fan perspective.
Visca El Barca!
MOTM: All of the youngsters who played in this game won my heart but, probably Messi was slightly better than all of them. It’s Messi for me.
Something to hold onto
The first champions league game brought about a confident statement about the players for the hustle and bustle that the next few weeks will offer especially with high octane games like the Clasico and away champions league game against Juventus.
Koeman rightly responded with changes in the lineup- Trincao in for Griezmann (who didn’t play a single minute) and Pjanic for Busquets both of whom observed their starting XI debuts.
The game started rather spectacularly for the Hungarians having a goal disallowed early in the first half while continuously swarming Barcelona’s defensive third, especially with Coutinho and Trincao finding it a little challenging to read their captain’s movement.
The constant fixture, however, was Tokmac Nguen using his pace and clever movement to run in behind the centre backs who couldn’t handle the pace. Once into their element, the home side enjoyed superiority in the opposition half.
This was well documented in the second goal with Coutinho taking up the space left by Messi and dragging the centre-backs deep while a lofted ball from Frenkie led Ansu Fati and Messi to make a run in behind (with the former scoring).
Another interesting aspect had to be the runs of Messi when Pjanic had the ball, who very often looked for the furthest option down the field. After the subs came on, Pedri and Dembele, both of whom scored to gain confidence.
MOTM: Though Messi had a stellar game, I would appoint Coutinho & Fati as joint MOTM as their movements were really crucial to attack the backline. Especially the Brazillian (as depicted in his goal) maintained width when Fati played narrow while also moving higher to compensate for the lack of a true forward.