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Barcelona 2-1 Real Sociedad: Match Review

Alexandre Patanian

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Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

After a lucky win against Levante at home, Barcelona had to win convincingly at home to one of the league’s best sides. However, Real Sociedad came to the Camp Nou with a depleted squad as David Silva and Mikel Oyarzábal, two stars of La Liga were not available.

First-half

Ronald Koeman came in with a 4-3-3 and benched Clément Lenglet. For their first senior start together, Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza tamed a potent La Real attack. The hosts dominated the play before being stunned before the half-hour mark.

A moment of brilliance from Real Sociedad then put them in the driving seat. Portu collected the ball on the edge of the area and passed it to Robin Le Normand. The Frenchman’s superb pass went back to the winger who gave it to Willian José for a tap-in. Barça responded directly with a Jordi Alba screamer. The Spanish left-back got the ball inside the area and nestled a shot in the top corner.

Jordi Alba goal sociedad
Jordi Alba scoring the equaliser – Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

After the equaliser, the locals got two superb chances. Antoine Griezmann rounded the keeper and shot on the crossbar. Martin Braithwaite then received a sublime pass from Leo Messi, but his shot went above the crossbar. After missing those two game-winning chances, Koeman’s men went in front. Frenkie de Jong scored a tap-in after a beautiful Jordi Alba cross. The Dutchman thought he was offside, but VAR gave the goal.

All in all, this was a complete performance from the Blaugrana side. They could not have given much more, but they have to improve their finishing. Dominating the league leaders, and top scorers is no easy task. They should gain confidence from that showing.

First-half score: Barcelona 2-1 Sociedad

Second-half

Koeman came back from the dressing room with unchanged plans. The Catalans wanted to further their lead and went back with all guns blazing.

Griezmann, who missed a great chance in the first half, became the talk of the town in the second. The Frenchman missed an open goal attempt and, a few seconds later shot straight at Alex Remiro after a beautiful pass from de Jong.

Griezmann Barcelona Sociedad
Antoine Griezmann after missing a very clear chance – Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Alexander Isak came off the bench to create danger for the visitors and did. The big Swede ran in behind the defence and had a one-on-one opportunity with Marc-André Ter Stegen. The young Pedri cleared the ball but fell on the goalposts. The youngster seemed alright, but the blow must have been hard to take. Ter Stegen made a double save in the dying minutes of the game and saved his team. As La Real grew into play, they could not dominate a well-oiled side backed by a super goalkeeper.

In the end, Barcelona came back from a difficult with 3 points. They managed to turn the game on its head for the first time this year, and there were encouraging signs. If the Catalans can go on a big run of wins, and play this well, they might become contenders for La Liga and Europe. Consistency is key.

Full-time score: Barcelona 2-1 Sociedad

Line-ups

FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Mingueza (79′ Lenglet), Alba; Busquets (65′ Alena), De Jong; Griezmann (65′ Trincao), Pedri (74′ Pjanic), Braithwaite; Messi

Goals: 31′ Jordi Alba, 43′ Frenkie De Jong

Real Sociedad: Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Le Normand (85′ Sagnan), Monreal; Guevara (56′ Navarro), Zubimendi, Merino; Januzaj (56′ Barrenetxea), José, Portu (64′ Isak)

Goals: 27′ Willian José

Stats

Stats of the Barcelona 2-1 Sociedad game

That brings an end to the Barcelona vs Real Sociedad Match Review.

As a Lebanese teenager who never had the chance to support their local team, I fell in love with the club that was FC Barcelona at the start of the decade. I always was passionate about writing and this is exactly what I am looking for: sharing my insights and opinions on football.

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Match Reviews

Barcelona player ratings vs Sevilla — Hosts unable to get past Mingueza, the wall

Shahraiz Sajjad

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Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

Turning headless chickens into mature students of the game turned out to be Ronald Koeman’s biggest achievement at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, where the Catalan giants had recently just suffered a disappointing loss. On the score-sheet, the margin may not have looked considerable, but on the field, Barcelona were pretty much untouchable, courtesy in large parts to the structural change made by Koeman.

A performance this cohesive and harmonized was much needed after the countless defeats Barça have suffered on the big stage. Everything Cules have strived to see in this team, was present, and while consistency has been the club’s biggest hurdle, this win undoubtedly holds a great deal of significance.

The Blaugranas have arguably exerted more energy in other games over the course of the campaign, but the spirit Barcelona lacked suddenly came to life. The pressing was in sync, every move was calculated and well crafted. Playing the Barcelona way in hostile territory against a team as dominant as Sevilla brought back life into a team devoid of wins in high magnitude encounters.

Marc-André Ter Stegen: 7

Ter Stegen oozed confidence as he came off his line and claimed the ball several times. Not only did he display composure, but the German rushed out of his box on one occasion to clear the ball and remove any danger that Sevilla’s potential attack possessed. With the exception of a poor pass, his distribution was immaculate. Even so, it must be admitted that the Sevilla forwards barely tested ter Stegen in goal with dangerous attempts on target.

Oscar Mingueza: 8.5

Arguably the man of the match yesterday. (Photo via Imago)

Oscar Mingueza was a vital reason as to why the Blaugrana defence was impenetrable. Piementa’s prodigy did not allow Lopetegui’s men to advance into any areas on the right side of the field. He won 6 out his 9 duels along winning 5 tackles, proving the 21-year-old’s precise ball-winning abilities remain crucial. Not to mention, his exceptional ball-playing ability enabled Barça to play with a high line thus applying further pressure on Sevilla.

Pique: 7.5

Pique was the nail in the coffin to Barça’s counter-pressing strategies. The players would press the Sevilla Keeper and force him to heave the ball away, and this is where Pique’s aerial ability flourished, which particularly authorized the Catalans to regain possession. The Spanish veteran won 5 out of 7 of his aerial duels, thus showing his dominance in that area of play. His distribution was reliable as always and allowed the Catalans to retain a high defensive line at selected times.

Lenglet: 8

The Frenchman is on route to recovering the form he once had, and this performance should do his confidence a world of good. Still prone to making errors, he dealt with Sevilla’s threat in a respectable manner. An improvement was observed in his ability to stay ahead of his man, which led to his positioning being marginally better. His second-half performance was key to the win as he stepped up after Pique and Ronald Araujo had to be subbed off. Lenglet must be appreciated for his tackling as they successfully neutralized a few well-structured attacks from the hosts.

Sergiño Dest: 7

Despite typically being perceived as a full-back, Ronald Koeman handed Dest the responsibility to play higher up the field as a right-wing-back. The American speedster enjoyed his new role with piercing runs behind Sevilla’s defence and looked a lot more explosive, with defensive cover behind him.

Dest launched a couple of promising crosses, but a major issue was that he shied away from entering 1v1 duels and instinctively looked to send in crosses. The US international also came oh-so-close to scoring after striking the post on one occasion.

Jordi Alba: 7.5

Similar to his wing-back partner in crime, Jordi Alba raided forward at any given opportunity, stretching the play wide and utilizing his raw pace throughout. Without having to worry about his defensive duties, the marauding Spaniard looked a lot more imposing. He was just inches away from tapping the ball into the opposition net after proceedings.

Frenkie de Jong: 8.5

On any other day, that’s a goal and assist for de Jong. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

De Jong’s season just proceeds to take massive leaps as the Dutchman proved to be a defining factor in the Catalans’ applaudable 2-0 victory. In spite of not stamping his name on the score-sheet, De Jong’s performance was worthy of endless praise, almost making it seem as if he was carrying around an extra pair of lungs. The former Ajax wonderboy surged forward, breaking the opposition’s lines tirelessly and constantly squirming his way out of tight areas.

Sergio Busquets: 7.5

The ageing veteran appeared to be recreating glimpses from the past as his counter-pressing was absolutely decisive in the Catalans’ attacking plays. Sergio Busquets – unlike most big game he has participated in – was not cheaply bullied off the ball and made possession purposeful for the Blaugranas. With defensive aid behind him, Busquets was back to his brilliant best.

Pedri: 7

The cog in Ronald Koeman’s midfield was once again a trusty figure in midfield and managed to string together some impressive plays in what appeared to be a 3-5-2 formation. Though Pedri’s involvement was substantially lower than usual, his display was mainly impeded by an injury he suffered in the 71st minute, disabling him from completing the full 90 minutes.

Lionel Messi: 8.5

Running rounds at the Pizjuan. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

Against his favourite opposition, Lionel Messi savoured the occasion to the fullest. The Argentine was an influential figure in the club’s victory away from home, with his creativity and efficiency in front of goal second to none. In the 29th minute of the game, Leo spotted a raiding Ousmane Dembélé through on goal as he bagged himself an assist for the Frenchman’s finish.

To cap off his outing, Barcelona’s captain weaved his way past a couple of Sevilla defenders and, after failing to chip the keeper, delicately slotted it into the net.

Ousmane Dembélé: 8

Sevilla were haplessly left chasing Ousmane Dembélé’s shadows. The Frenchman – without having to worry about his defensive tasks – waltzed forward continuously and enjoyed playing as a secondary striker, making runs in behind the defence and eventually proving his worth with a beautifully placed goal just before the half-hour mark. A much more mature and composed exhibition from the electric winger.

Substitutes

Ilaix Moriba: 7

Ronald Araujo: N/A

Martin Braithwaite: N/A

Samuel Umtiti: N/A

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