Football players thrive on confidence and that’s particularly true for strikers. Ferran Torres, perhaps more than most, has been through the mill at Barcelona, but he showed again on Sunday what he’s capable of.
Sent on in hope more than expectation, he delivered again, and he will almost certainly be looking for his efforts to be rewarded.
It only took him five minutes to be decisive this week, compared to the eight before he bagged a second at Cadiz last time out.
5 – Top 3 Barcelona players to score the most goals as a substitute in LaLiga under Xavi Hernández:
5 – FERRAN TORRES
4 – Ansu Fati
3 – Luuk de Jong
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 27, 2023
His effervescence, movement and decisiveness these past couple of weekends has been in stark contrast to what we have become used to, and it does put the cat amongst the pigeons as far as Xavi is concerned.
Ah yes, Xavi. Forgive me, but what on earth was he doing with his team selection on Sunday afternoon? Had the coach taken complete leave of his senses?
It’s an accepted fact that elite teams need to rotate their squads throughout the season these days, however, chaos reigned.
Alejandro Balde and Ronald Araujo’s injuries notwithstanding, Sergi Roberto once again showed that he isn’t a full-back, and Marcos Alonso showed he isn’t a Barcelona-type player for large parts of the match.
Twenty-two balls lost in the first-half by the visitors is a long, long way from being acceptable, with the majority of the turnovers coming from the defence’s inability to keep hold of the ball for any length of time.
That the blaugranes were 2-0 up in this match at one point was a travesty. Villarreal could’ve deservedly been three goals to the good even before Barca had scored and, had they taken their chances, a 5-2 half-time score would’ve been a fairer reflection of the opening 45.
I’ve never seen a Barca back line look so brittle, so nervous, so out of sorts and just so poor in a game.
The lack of calmness was a joke at times, and whilst the Yellow Submarine are a decent football playing side, Barca were far too porous.
The Catalans are no longer in transition under Xavi, and they should know that against a Quique Setien side that were always going to play football, Barca needed only to keep things tight and hit them on the break.
To the host’s credit, they continued to take the game to Barca even after going behind, and on another day may have emerged as deserved winners.
Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Xavi was watching from a glass box but either his instructions weren’t getting through properly, or the players had chosen to ignore them. Headless chickens might have been a better description of Barca’s back four for the most part.
No cohesion or associative play handed Villarreal initiative for the second 45, and whilst the midfielders and strikers, particularly Gavi, Frankie and Lamine, were a threat to Villarreal throughout, Barca should well beyond the ‘you score three, we’ll score four’ school of play.
The signing of Joao Cancelo can’t come soon enough, nor the return of Ronald Araujo.
Another disaster class like this and it’s going to be a long, hard season indeed. Don’t even remind me we have the Champions League draw next week….