Three talking points from Barcelona 1-2 Real Sociedad
Mikel Merino’s swift opener and a late goal from Alexander Sorloth helped Real Sociedad register a win over the league champions on Saturday night. Barcelona’s only consolation came in the form of a Robert Lewandowski goal in the penultimate minute.
The result did not have much implication for the Blaugranas but was worth its weight in gold for the visitors. Nevertheless, all was forgotten after the full-time whistle when the celebrations began in full flow.
Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Barcelona 1-2 Real Sociedad
1. The battle of needs vs wants
There was a fundamental difference in motive between the two sides at Spotify Camp Nou on Saturday night.
Xavi’s Barcelona would have liked the win over the Basque side to script a fairytale finish to their season. However, with the league title in the bag, they did not need the winning half as much as they wanted it.
Real Sociedad, on the other hand, needed the win desperately. Their whole journey to Champions League qualification could have bit the dust if they dropped three points against Barcelona and one could see the survival instinct kick in.
While Barcelona knocked the ball around for fun hoping for the sporadic opening, every touch of La Real was driven with purpose. The visitors played for their survival in the top four, and that caused the rift in quality on the night.
As is always the case in football, the drive to win always reigns supreme. Barcelona may have been the superior side purely in terms of talent and names but on the night that they lacked the willingness to persevere, nothing could bring them at par with Barrenetxea’s motivated core.
2. A chance wanted for Jules Kounde?
Jules Kounde has done well to cover at right-back in a season where Xavi Hernandez has had no natural player in the position. The Frenchman has gone about his duties with minimum complaints and has left the mark of a true professional.
Yet, one knows that the defender wishes to play as a centre-back if given the choice and has it as his priority to return to his niche next season. Saturday night was a golden chance for him in that respect.
Xavi deployed the youngster in central defence against Real Sociedad. With Ronald Araujo out injured, it was up to Kounde and Andreas Christensen to guard the Catalan goal. Instead of capitalising on his chance and proving his worth, however, the French international left a bitter taste.
In just the fifth minute of the game, Kounde sloppily lost the ball as the last man and gifted the ball to the visitors in a dangerous position. La Real struck with a swift counter and scored their opening goal of the night, one that seemingly downed Catalan hopes.
Xavi eventually withdrew the defender at half-time and it is safe to say that it was one of Kounde’s lowest points in the season.
3. A deserved high to end the season
One could see the pride in Xavi Hernandez’s expression after Sergio Busquets and the Blaugrana team lifted the La Liga trophy on Sunday night. After all, their success meant his success, and it was all he asked of them ahead of the season.
Barcelona’s season has not been simple by any means. For some, it has been a breakthrough year, while others who were in positions of prominence have seen the roof come down on their careers.
Some players suffered long and painful injuries during the course of the season, while others struggled for form.
Through the highs and the lows, however, the pack stuck together and fought with a sense of unity, and it was that consistency that led them to the league title.
It may not have been ideal for Sergio Busquets to lift the trophy after the team’s first defeat at home. Yet, the rightful champions deserved their moment of elation, ecstasy, and pride. They got it, too.
It was an amazing emotional affair at Spotify Camp Nou as the manager and captain spoke in front of the audience that had gathered to witness the celebrations. The night erupted into a festival, and the players did not allow the subpar performance to impact the festivities.