FCB vs. Girona

 Great confidence boosting win for the boys! We looked good in the first real look at the new offensive weapons we have available. Let’s get into it!   The Line-up   I am getting tired of the concept that fans cannot criticize or question the managers or players. This line-up was nearly perfect, however, Pique should have never played this game.  That said, the line up was just about perfect. Although, I would have liked to see Messi rested a bit, and Yerry Mina start over Pique. Paco could have also gotten some minutes.  But, it was great to see Dembele, Coutinho, and Semedo getting the start. This line-up was an offensive powerhouse and from Dembele’s first pass to an overlapping Semedo who almost linked up with an oncoming Coutinho, I knew goals were abound.   Dembele    It’s sad to see how much hate this young man gets from some Barca fans. He’s been injured, played very little minutes in the grand scheme of things, however, aside from his return from his second injury (not a great game for him), he’s shown nothing but promise for the 20 year-old he is.  This game was no different. Starting with the brilliant pass to Semedo in the first minute, he was offensively dangerous, picked great passes, played some defense, had an assist (should have been 2) and almost scored a goal. Even when he had a misstep, he was still impactful as the Girona defense had no options on that right side.  He did grow better as the game progressed, but as always, you can see his potential. He runs at defenders fearlessly, providing that element that Neymar had, and very few others in the game right now possess. He has the mixture of speed and awareness that will make him a absolute stud for this team. As he gets more time, and confidence, we will see this kid blossom into a very very important Barca player. His contributions so far are evidence of that.   Coutinho    Where Coutinho fits has been on my mind for quite some time, this game kinda settled it. If you think of him as in Iniesta replacement, his performances seem lackluster. However, if you see him as a False 9, or even a left attacking forward, it all makes sense.  This game, his primary contributions came in the final third. He made multiple runs into the box, could have had a goal early if Messi had fed him. He wants to shoot, he wants to set up the 1-2 around the 18.  Great goal, great assist. I am looking forward to seeing more from him in the coming games, we just have to stop thinking of him as a replacement for Iniesta, or at least I do.   Nelson Semedo   What a great game for him, until the injury. I truly believe if there were space for Sergi Roberto in the midfield (which there is if you stop playing Paulinho so much, or Gomes), Semedo would be our starting RB. Great work rate, and has yet to let us down when given the start. Offensively he is a danger, and combined with Dembele, absolutely vicious at times.  Very sad his injury, reminiscent of Vidal’s due to the timing, but luckily he won’t be out for too long.   IVAN!!!    What a game for Ivan as well!! I have been pretty clear about my belief in his necessity to our squad. This game he played deeper, as he’s been doing in Valverde’s system, however, his importance is his ability to contribute offensively. His perfect pass from extremely deep in our half found Luis Suarez who subsequently found Messi for our second goal, then he passed it to Dembele who subsequently found Luis Suarez for the 6th goal.  Rakitic had a pass accuracy of 99% with 76/77 passes landing. To think, we almost lost him because of Gomes! For me, this was a Man of the Match worthy performance.   Messi/Suarez   Messi is the greatest of all time. Luis is as clinical as ever. Not much else to say. Loved Suarez’s attempts to get a yellow at the end of the game, the ref really wasn’t falling for it.   Subs   This was my biggest issue this whole game. Not only should Pique have not started, Valverde didn’t even have Vermelan ready when Pique got reinjured. He should have been subbed at half time. The question for me is, had he not reinjured himself, when would Valverde have subbed him out. Pique played almost a whole 10 minutes after going down. This is simply unacceptable for one of our best defenders especially at this time in the season, Alti Madrid and Chelsea back to back and we are playing an injured Pique against Girona?   Overall    Amazing game, great to see Coutinho and Dembele get 90’ and do very well. Valverde is now in the position of having too many offensive weapons and if used well, possibilities are endless. I have watched this game twice now, looking forward to seeing performances like this to come. Forca Barca!

Great confidence boosting win for the boys! We looked good in the first real look at the new offensive weapons we have available. Let’s get into it!

The Line-up

I am getting tired of the concept that fans cannot criticize or question the managers or players. This line-up was nearly perfect, however, Pique should have never played this game.

That said, the line up was just about perfect. Although, I would have liked to see Messi rested a bit, and Yerry Mina start over Pique. Paco could have also gotten some minutes.

But, it was great to see Dembele, Coutinho, and Semedo getting the start. This line-up was an offensive powerhouse and from Dembele’s first pass to an overlapping Semedo who almost linked up with an oncoming Coutinho, I knew goals were abound.

Dembele

It’s sad to see how much hate this young man gets from some Barca fans. He’s been injured, played very little minutes in the grand scheme of things, however, aside from his return from his second injury (not a great game for him), he’s shown nothing but promise for the 20 year-old he is.

This game was no different. Starting with the brilliant pass to Semedo in the first minute, he was offensively dangerous, picked great passes, played some defense, had an assist (should have been 2) and almost scored a goal. Even when he had a misstep, he was still impactful as the Girona defense had no options on that right side.

He did grow better as the game progressed, but as always, you can see his potential. He runs at defenders fearlessly, providing that element that Neymar had, and very few others in the game right now possess. He has the mixture of speed and awareness that will make him a absolute stud for this team. As he gets more time, and confidence, we will see this kid blossom into a very very important Barca player. His contributions so far are evidence of that.

Coutinho

Where Coutinho fits has been on my mind for quite some time, this game kinda settled it. If you think of him as in Iniesta replacement, his performances seem lackluster. However, if you see him as a False 9, or even a left attacking forward, it all makes sense.

This game, his primary contributions came in the final third. He made multiple runs into the box, could have had a goal early if Messi had fed him. He wants to shoot, he wants to set up the 1-2 around the 18.

Great goal, great assist. I am looking forward to seeing more from him in the coming games, we just have to stop thinking of him as a replacement for Iniesta, or at least I do.

Nelson Semedo

What a great game for him, until the injury. I truly believe if there were space for Sergi Roberto in the midfield (which there is if you stop playing Paulinho so much, or Gomes), Semedo would be our starting RB. Great work rate, and has yet to let us down when given the start. Offensively he is a danger, and combined with Dembele, absolutely vicious at times.

Very sad his injury, reminiscent of Vidal’s due to the timing, but luckily he won’t be out for too long.

IVAN!!!

What a game for Ivan as well!! I have been pretty clear about my belief in his necessity to our squad. This game he played deeper, as he’s been doing in Valverde’s system, however, his importance is his ability to contribute offensively. His perfect pass from extremely deep in our half found Luis Suarez who subsequently found Messi for our second goal, then he passed it to Dembele who subsequently found Luis Suarez for the 6th goal.

Rakitic had a pass accuracy of 99% with 76/77 passes landing. To think, we almost lost him because of Gomes! For me, this was a Man of the Match worthy performance.

Messi/Suarez

Messi is the greatest of all time. Luis is as clinical as ever. Not much else to say. Loved Suarez’s attempts to get a yellow at the end of the game, the ref really wasn’t falling for it.

Subs

This was my biggest issue this whole game. Not only should Pique have not started, Valverde didn’t even have Vermelan ready when Pique got reinjured. He should have been subbed at half time. The question for me is, had he not reinjured himself, when would Valverde have subbed him out. Pique played almost a whole 10 minutes after going down. This is simply unacceptable for one of our best defenders especially at this time in the season, Alti Madrid and Chelsea back to back and we are playing an injured Pique against Girona?

Overall

Amazing game, great to see Coutinho and Dembele get 90’ and do very well. Valverde is now in the position of having too many offensive weapons and if used well, possibilities are endless. I have watched this game twice now, looking forward to seeing performances like this to come. Forca Barca!