Barcelona have been putting on a different display of football when they are playing in the UEFA Champions League and this game was similar to their previous 2 matches in this season’s group stage. The major difference between the recent games in La Liga and the Champions League, is that Barcelona are leaving with 3 points. A squad depleted for choices as many first team players tested COVID-19 positive, Dynamo Kyiv had no option but to field a squad almost like a 3rd team choice. Ronald Koeman fielded his regular 4-2-3-1 formation with an improvised line-up for this match. Like every other game, Barcelona dominated possession and had majority of chances in front of goal. Again they failed to capitalise on them. Eventually, Barcelona got through this game as 2-1 winners.
Our editors, will have their say on this fixture, Barcelona vs Dynamo Kyiv, in this editorial review.
Missed chances, squad rotation and return of the wall – An imperfect WIN for Barcelona
Football is getting back into its regular flow around Europe and Ronald Koeman has to pull his socks up and do a lot of thinking. The Dutchman fielded a surprising line up against Dynamo Kyiv, a team who was already left with limited choice to field 11 players for this clash as a majority of the team had tested COVID-19 positive.
The return of Marc-Andre ter Stegen from injury boosted Barca’s defence and De Jong played as a makeshift CB. From the first whistle, Barca sported their fine display of football they have been playing in this year’s Champions League. Barely into the game with 5 minutes on board, Messi slotted home from the spot giving Barca the lead. Ansu Fati impressed us again with his brilliant footwork and dodges but was thwarted on multiple occasions by Kyiv’s 18 years old keeper – Ruslan Neshcheret.
Barca could have easily been 3-4 goals up in the first half if they had converted their chances, but the went into the break being a goal up.
Dynamo Kyiv, on the other hand, created chances but it was THE WALL – ter Stegen who kept Barca in the game. You couldn’t tell that he is back from injury as he seemed to display his class effortlessly.
Barca controlled the game with 63% possession and 14 shots on target but still failed to convert on numerous chances. Pique headed in the second goal at 65 mins from an assist from Fati to help Barca get in the driving seat. But, Dynamo Kyiv pulled one back with 15 mins to go and put pressure on the Catalans before they eventually saw out the game 2-1.
Even though Koeman had a chance to rest out his players and do squad rotations, he opted not to. Alena got some game time in the second half with Dembele coming on a well.
Overall it was an average performance of football displayed and Barca lacked the final finish in front of goal, yet again. A clear absence of a perfect no. 9 is visible in the team. Kyiv came into the game with only 13 first-team players available for selection and Barca should have taken advantage of that. It was a game to be highlighted for the 2 keepers.
MOTM: The return of THE WALL. Marc-Andre ter Stegen. His display of football today reminded us that CLASS is PERMANENT.
A Deeply Unsatisfying Win for Barcelona
Return of the Gladiator for Barcelona
Coming to this fixture, Koeman was under huge pressure due to the current form of the team and criticism surrounding him. Ter Stegen came back into the eleven after injury. Dest was back as well with FDJ surprisingly as CB and Pedri joining the forward line. Barcelona enjoyed loads of possession with opposition aiming to protect spaces in behind. The team, in general, missed a lot of chances. Without a proper no 9, the team were lacking the final third quality in defence.
The opposition already knew the team’s weaknesses intending to play long balls in behind the acres of space of Barcelona defenders. Kyiv tried their best but lacked quality in final third. Barcelona’s transition game was poor overall. Pedri, FDJ were good and showed great quality. Alba on the other hand was a liability on the pitch alongside Busquets and Griezmann.
A bit of a positive was Koeman reverted to 4-3-3 formation when bringing in Alena. Cules were wanting this formation for a long time now. Barcelona tried to find the net but Kyiv’s keeper was brilliant between the sticks. Pique’s goal and Ansu’s assist was a sleek move with Pique’s celebration being the talk of the town.
A lot has to be improvised by Koeman since the team’s weaknesses are getting visible day by day. With poor form and weaknesses, it is getting hard for the team to bring in positivity.
MOTM: This is a no brainer. It has to be Ter Stegen. He was an octopus and was magnificent in his 1v1 and shot stopping. Ter Stegen was quite literally Barcelona’s whole defence tonight. The German didn’t seemed as if he just got back from the injury.
Ter Stegen rescues 3 points for Barcelona
Ronald Koeman yet again surprised us with a well-rotated line-up that helped to keep all the players fresh. Rather unsurprisingly, apart from Messi (who should be rested once in a while) and the defensive unit, most other players were rested and the key being a debut for Carles Alena in the middle of the park with Frenkie de Jong.
The latter, yet again, filled in the CB position due to the lack of signings and persistent injuries to the others which might become a permanent fixture especially that it improves his body shape while receiving also giving him a big field of view for a vertical ball.
Another player coming in, Marc Ander ter Stegen played a very crucial role in the game, just as his counterpart on the opposite end to keep their respective teams in the game.
Fortunately for Barca, Messi scored an early penalty (a few years back he would have scored 4-5 against such opposition, not to say he played badly though), meaning that the large inefficiency in front of goal was less troubling.
The lack of fluidity in possession is a little worrying, as is the inefficiency of striking. But playing Griezmann regularly as a striker will get his confidence high. Hopefully at least!!.
MOTM: Ter Stegen- wonderful game awareness especially considering that he just arrived from injury making spectacular saves to keep the home side alive in the game