Even though it probably would’ve happened without last night’s game too, Barcelona did play a part in accelerating their bitter city rivals’ road down to the second tier as Suárez and his goal sent Espanyol to Segunda.
And needless to say, today’s papers are all about that. Sport have gone with a cover that says ‘Smiles and tears‘ as the hosts left the pitch happy, knowing that this was the last Catalan derby we’ll see in LaLiga for quite some time, while the visitors got relegated only for the second time since the beginning of the Spanish top-tier.
They also talk about the game being very tight – since only one goal separated the two rivals – and how everything exploded with two red cards, one from each side, as both teams’ young talents exited the bout.
Mundo Deportivo have gone in a similar direction with the goal-scorer gracing their cover as they emphasise how Suárez was the one that sent Espanyol down to Segunda with his strike.
Of course, we mustn’t forget that this goal also helped Barcelona in their title chase dreams, however small and unrealistic they might be, and the pressure is now on Real Madrid to perform in their own clash.
But after a promising game against Villarreal, Quique Setién’s squad has shown the same old weaknesses and predictability in their game, which is definitely something to consider and potentially fix going forward.
However, they will continue to hope.
Barcelona call up midfielder Matheus Fernandes for the first time
Barcelona confirmed the signing of Matheus Fernandes from Palmeiras for a fee of €7 million + €3 million in variables on the last day of the January transfer window on a four-year contract, with the release clause set at €300 million. The midfielder would join the Barcelona camp after the end of the 2019/20 season.
This transfer was regarded as a sketchy transfer as he was not touted as good enough for a club of the stature of Barcelona. In fact, the Brazilian was barely able to make it off the bench for Real Valladolid during his time with the club on six-month loan stretching from January to July this year.
During those six month, Matheus made only three appearances, registering a total of 166 minutes with starts against Atletico Madrid and Eibar, and a one-minute cameo against Real Betis. He also suffered a hamstring injury during this tenure, ruling him out for four games.
After his arrival to the Catalan capital, Matheus was not even presented as a Barcelona player unlike the signings of Pedri, Fransisco Trincão, Miralem Pjanic, and Sergino Dest. In fact, Matheus did not even participate in the pre-season friendlies as he was ruled out from a hamstring injury.
News surrounded his departure as early as January, without him even getting a chance to play for the club. However, against all odds, Matheus has been included in the squad that will take on Dynamo Kyiv in gameweek four of the UEFA Champions League. This, in all probability, stems from the exclusion of Sergio Busquets – who is injured, and Frenkie de Jong – who has been rested.
Ronald Koeman has named just four central midfielders for the trip to Ukraine, with Miralem Pjanic guaranteed a spot. However, with the lack of any natural defensive midfielders, Koeman might have to readjust his tactics, and field one of Riqui Puig and Carles Aleña in the centre of the pitch as part of the midfield.