Ronald Koeman’s managerial stint was never going to be perfect. Too many variables about the team were off for the Dutchman to have a clean and steady campaign with a reasonably successful finale. However, even with lower expectations, Barcelona are struggling immensely.
The latest proof we’ve been given comes in the form of Eibar who not only travelled to the Camp Nou with optimism but managed to clinch a point for their troubles too. It was the first time they’ve done that in Catalonia ever and they also broke Barcelona’s streak of ending the calendar year with a victory.
And it was from the visitors’ coach, José Mendilibar, that the biggest criticism after the game had arrived. As quoted by Ser, here’s what he said following that big result for Eibar.
“The difference between Madrid and Barça is that when Madrid start to move the ball, they do so faster than Barça.”
When it comes down to it, Mendilibar is right, of course. Barcelona are struggling in all phases of the game and their trademark crisp passing is long gone.
This was even more evident without their main creator and star on the pitch, Lionel Messi, who’s instrumental in moving the ball quickly and accurately.
Needless to say, if the Catalans are to improve, their passing game will have to be among the first aspects that does so. Koeman has an unenviable job ahead of him and salvaging the season will be easier said than done.
Let’s hope he makes it happen.
Ronald Araujo returns to Barcelona first-team training ahead of Sevilla clash
This Saturday afternoon, Barcelona will travel to Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan to face Sevilla for the control of the third place in the table. The Andalusians have already proved they are an incredibly tricky opponent so this clash is bound to be a big one once more.
But there is some good news for Ronald Koeman ahead of the Saturday challenge. Barcelona have officially confirmed that Ronald Araujo is once again training with the team. Of course, the centre-back has been out of action for quite some time now and the Catalans have missed him dearly.
He may be still young and developing but the Uruguayan is a true rock in their defence. Having him available should definitely help in the remainder of the season, especially since Gerard Pique is also back.
However, we still don’t know whether Koeman will risk his defensive talisman right from the start this Saturday, even if he is given the green light. Sometimes, throwing players into the fire immediately, especially for such a huge game, can be counterproductive.
Araujo is surely eager to play but Koeman needs to think long-term when making this tricky decision. Despite the opposition and the importance of the match, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad to start him on the bench.
After all, he can always be substituted in if the team requires some extra solidity in the latter parts of the clash. Hopefully, however, it doesn’t come to that.
Either way, this is a must-win game and the team better be ready to face the challenge.