Barcelona vs Juventus: Match Review
Barcelona collapsed massively against Juventus at the Camp Nou on Tuesday in the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored two comfortable penalties helping Juventus secure the top finish in the Group G of the Champions League. 22-year-old Weston McKennie who is on loan from Schalke, scored his second goal for Juventus solidifying their lead in the match against Barcelona.
It was very evident throughout the game that the backline was struggling from a lack of coordination and communication between both the central defenders. Ronald Koeman needs to address this issue because this cannot continue at such a top-level of football. There will be no surprise if he is sacked when the new president is appointed in January unless he can turn his whole season around which has looked like an unprecedented mess. It is not only Koeman’s fault, but the team did not play like a champion team in any sense, and they have not looked like one majority of the season.
Some players need to accept some criticism because they have lacked the intensity required to play at such a high level. After conceding early in the game, they never looked like they could turn around the result which has been the case for Barcelona over the past few years. Individual mistakes were the least of the hosts’ concerns at the back this time, though, with the whole defence all over the place.
Both Lenglet and Araujo were out of position for the second, while a lack of discipline was evidenced by Jordi Alba’s booking. Koeman’s confidence in both his defenders was shattered as he swapped both of them after the third goal, but it was too late too little at that point of time.
BARCELONA COLLAPSED FROM THE BEGINNING
Koeman’s squad selection received more criticism as the team looked like they have never played a match together. His ruby Frenkie de Jong looked gassed out in the second half with no rest from the weekend, and Jordi Alba who has been playing every match when he is fit looked more agitated after receiving a yellow card in the first half for protest.
Koeman broke the partnership of Mingueza and Lenglet who have been playing good together and replaced him with Araujo who was back from a hamstring injury but never looked fully recovered as he gave away that early penalty after going against in-form Ronaldo and taking him down in the penalty area resulting in a penalty which Ronaldo scored pretty comfortably.
Griezmann wasn’t much involved in the game. Messi was involved deeply, but he just couldn’t get through Buffon. Sergino Dest looked sharp but couldn’t do much to overturn the goal deficit. Trincao had a decent game.
Another noteworthy event from Barcelona vs Juventus game was The Return of Umtiti. Umtiti got some mins after a six months-long drought. Umtiti looked bright, but it has been so long, we are yet to know if he can be back at his previous golden form or not. Injuries have crippled the Frenchmen so badly that he has missed 85 matches in his five-season at FC Barcelona, out for a period of almost 500 days without playing.
Pedri was good as usual, but Barcelona constantly needed a different, brave midfielder to try to break through Juventus’s defence. Pjanic was trying out things, but he was making mistakes more. Koeman later brought on Puig at 65 mins, and his 25 mins performance was much more praiseworthy considering how he has been constantly ghosted by Dutchman from the first team. He was linking with Messi well; Puig was attempting those forward balls and was much creative with the ball.
Lenglet looks like a centre-back who is just holding a position because no one in the team can bring that experience in the most important aspect of the game. He has struggled against fast and technically gifted players throughout his career and looks a bit slow something which Barcelona don’t need right now.
• Leo Messi (7)- Messi had a good game and looked like the only player who wanted to win troubling Buffon 11 times and hitting 7 shots on target.
• Griezmann (6)- He looked out of position most of the time and did not have much impact on the game.
• De Jong (6.5)- He started the first half with the right intensity and won the ball back fast but faded out of the game as the match progressed.
• Cristiano Ronaldo (9)- He fired home two penalties and looked like a constant threat from Juventus who were looking to find him in right positions and had a really good game.
• Alvaro Morata (8)- He was not on the scoresheet but made a good impact in the game with some crucial hold-up play with the ball and good touches.
• Arthur (8)- It looked like a mistake to swap him for Pjanic when he started twisting and turning away from challenges in that crowded midfield.
WHAT NEXT FOR BARCELONA?
Both teams will look ahead with eager eyes to Monday’s draw for the next stages of the Champions League before returning to domestic action. The hosts next face Levante at home in La Liga. Over in Italy, Pirlo’s side, who cruised as the group winner’s will travel to Genoa next.
Ronald Koeman needs to make some crucial changes to the team immediately and needs to turn his season for good otherwise; he will lose his job as the Barcelona head coach.