Barcelona denied Madrid to the point that they clinched victory with an own goal from Militão. In the absence of great individualities, the Catalans asserted themselves from the community, especially effective in defending Ter Stegen’s area. They had less possession than ever since 2013 -36%- and on the other hand, they played so well without the ball that they did not concede chances to an opponent who thrashed at Anfield. The match can be summed up in Araujo’s excellent mark on Vinicius. Barça was not Barça and, nevertheless, they have a better team than Madrid.
Barca’s football depersonalization was justified if one takes into account that he attended the game from a situation of inferiority, willing to minimize the damage, lowered by absences and after chaining two defeats at Old Trafford and Almería. The match had generated some fear in Barcelona fans, who embraced the result with relief at a time when the entity is experiencing a reputational crisis due to the Negreira case and the difficulty of putting together the financial plan for Espai Barça. There is no better publicity impact than winning at the Bernabéu.
The team has supported the club for a long time and therefore needs to win matches like the one in Madrid. There were no reproaches about the football of the Barcelona fans because without Pedri it is very difficult to unite the team from the pass and it is difficult to haggle when Dembélé is not there. The absence of Lewandowski, on the other hand, is usually resolved with a 0-1. This is the record against Atlético, Getafe and Girona while the victories against Intercity and Viktoria Pzlen were more comfortable. The five games without the Pole ended in victory for Barcelona.
The result is a message for Lewandowski and also for Ansu Fati. The egos of the forwards were overshadowed by the solidarity of the defenses in a team conceived to attack as Barça has always been. Araujo’s performance, as well as that of Koundé and even that of Marcos Alonso -substitute for the ailing Christensen- stood out at the Bernabéu. The leaders change out of necessity since the departure of Messi and Piqué. The figures of Araujo and Frenkie de Jong, as well as that of Ter Stegen, are now emerging at the Camp Nou.
Xavi himself has stated that his team is being built before admitting that they cannot impose their personality at the Bernabéu. The Barça club cannot play as they would like because they cannot sign the players they would like due to the economic crisis at the Camp Nou. Some of the signings have been occasional, depending on the offers of each winter and summer market, so it is difficult to define Barça’s style. He has referred to the debate on possession of the ball, the double pivot and the wingers, the 4-3-3 and the 4-4-2.
The constant has been a defensive improvement that is expressed in the eight goals conceded in the League. The team is often explained this season from 1-0 or 0-1. Pragmatism prevailed in Madrid because the consequences of a defeat would have been much greater than those of a victory obtained after a ball won from Camavinga. Barça runs, presses and shrinks the field because they need to win regardless of the game, they need to be recognized from the victory more than for their football, they have to be solid after the waste of the Camp Nou.
Based on the generosity and solidarity in the effort, he has managed to reach the Cup semifinals and take Madrid seven points in the League table, an advantage that no matter how you look at it, no one contemplated at the start of the championship, despite the fact that they have invested 158 million with the levers activated by President Laporta. Barça, however, does not have a great squad, but instead supports itself in most matches with players who have already been at the Camp Nou for a long time, such as Araujo, De Jong or Pedri.
Based on the Bernabéu line-ups, it is explained in some way that Madrid played as if it were Barça and Barça looked like Madrid at times. And in the exchange of papers, which made it difficult to identify both teams, the Catalans were favored due to their seriousness, organization and concentration, capital virtues to combat doubts, avoid discussion on how to win and keep the visit on Sunday with more confidence of desperate Valencia. The League requires a maintenance exercise similar to that of the Cup at the Bernabéu.
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