The Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys saw six goals, a roller coaster of emotions and some absurd individual brilliance last night when Barcelona took on Granada in La Liga. Ultimately, the game ended in a draw, staying in line with the Catalans club’s poor form this season.
Lamine Yamal recorded a stunning brace on the night and was helped by a goal from Robert Lewandowski to take Barcelona’s tally to three. The visitors also put as many balls past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, however, with Ricard Sanchez, Facundo Pellistri, and Ignasi Miquel all getting on the scoreboard.
The two dropped points mean Barcelona are ten points behind Real Madrid in La Liga, which all but seals their exit from the title race. It may still be mathematically possible, but to consider it even a remote possibility given the team’s form would require an absurd level of delusion.
Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Barcelona 3-3 Granada.
The curse continues
Barring the 30 minutes after Lamine Yamal’s opener on the night, Barcelona were perpetually either chasing a deficit or struggling to stay on level terms against Granada. At no point in the game did they boast of any kind of lead, and the draw is kind on Xavi’s men.
Yet, that has been the theme whenever the two sides have taken to the field against each other in recent times. The Blaugranas are under some kind of curse when it comes to facing Granada, by which they simply cannot lead or win outright against them.
Last night’s draw was the fourth consecutive stalemate between the two Spanish sides. In the 2021-22 season, Barcelona recorded two 1-1 draws against Los Nazaries.
The opposition were subsequently relegated to the second division from where they fought valiantly and returned to La Liga this season, and once again have drawn both games against the Blaugranas.
To salvage only two of a possible six points against La Liga’s 19th-placed team who have lost 15 of their 24 games to date is only a testament to Barcelona’s struggles this season. Moreover, the fact that a fifth of the goals Granada have scored this season have been against Barcelona shows how poor the defence is.
Carried by a 16-year-old
At this point, Lamine Yamal is the only interesting prospect on the field for Xavi’s side who keeps spectators hooked to the television. There is nothing flamboyant or exciting about Barcelona’s football as a unit, but the 16-year-old boasts of magic in his boots that very few in the game can boast of.
It is audacious that a 16-year-old can excel to such a level in top-flight football, but such is the talent of Yamal that he does not appear out of place for a second. Last night, once again, the teenager was the team’s single most inspiring player and the reason Barcelona even salvaged the one point.
Yamal opened the scoring on the night by placing himself in the right spot at the right time. In just the 14th minute of the game, he made a vertical run in the Granada area to get onto the end of Joao Cancelo’s perfect pass, volleying the ball to secure the 1-0 lead.
He then completed his brace on the night later in the second half with a goal that might just be his most brilliant one yet. Winning the ball at the edge of the area, Yamal took a touch past the defender and lashed out a long-range curler beyond Augusto Batalla and into the corner of the net.
It would not be wrong to say that Barcelona are currently being carried by a 16-year-old, albeit a special one in that.
The less that is said about Barcelona’s defence at this time, the better. The likes of Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen, and Inigo Martinez have all been dissected equally for their poor shoeing this season, but it is now reaching a stage where their flaws are seen as routine mistakes.
From being Europe’s best defence last season, Barcelona have come a far way down in defensive quality this term. 24 games into La Liga, they have conceded the highest number of goals in the top half of the table at 33 goals with the first team with a worse record being 11th-placed Osasuna at 36.
No defender made a glaring mistake and directly contributed to a goal conceded last night. Yet, the ease with which Granada got past the Catalans backline time and again only shows the collective deficit Xavi’s men have at the back.
Joao Cancelo and Inigo Martinez were poorly positioned for the first goal conceded, while Jules Kounde gave acres of space for the second goal by sticking away from his man. The general deficit at this point is not of quality but confidence, and that does not appear to be a factor that Barcelona can turn around swiftly.