– Report: Atletico beat Barca 1-0, Simeone’s first in La Liga
Clement Lenglet moved closer to equalizer for Barca, who lost Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto to injury, but Atletico kept their undefeated league record and progressed to the level of points with Real Sociedad.
Koeman will return from the Wanda Metropolitano with a long list of negatives and a few positives. Suddenly, Ousmane Dembele’s renewed resilience is good news for Barca and the French striker could play an increased role in the coming weeks.
Even before analyzing the performance, Barca will fear the worst after Pique leaves the pitch with a knee injury. With Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo also injured, Lenglet is the club’s only center-back in form at the moment. Losing Pique for any length of time would be a disaster and, well, that doesn’t look good.
To make matters worse, Sergi Roberto also limped late, although his injury didn’t appear to be so bad.
However, Barca cannot blame the injuries for Saturday’s loss. It was a toothless performance that lacked leadership and they struggled to break Atletico. They created hardly any chance and, at the risk of disturbing the elephant in the room, Lionel Messi is far from his best.
Manager’s rating (out of 10)
5 – Koeman was already without Sergio Busquets and Ansu Fati due to injuries and therefore couldn’t afford to lose more players. In that sense, in terms of personnel, his hands were tied to the Wanda. However, it’s always fair to ask him to be a little more creative with his tactics. It is still a Barça team with attacking players like Messi, Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho in the ranks. Finding a more effective combination is vital.
Player ratings (1 to 10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes do not receive any marks)
GK Marc-André ter Stegen, 5th – Made a brilliant save from Saul Niguez in the fifth minute but bears the lion’s share of responsibility for Atletico’s goal. Was taken miles from his goal trying in vain to intercept the long forward pass, and Carrasco took full advantage.
DF Sergi Roberto, 6 years old – Performed well at right-back and worked hard when pushed into midfield, but his mediocrity is a sign of how standards have slipped at Barca.
DF Gerard Pique, 5 – Made a mistake leading to Atletico’s goal on a night he will want to quickly forget. Was on the verge of tears when he left the field injured in the second half.
DF Clement Lenglet, 6 years old – Had two of Barca’s best chances, both headers. The second was their best chance, but he nodded right at Jan Oblak.
DF Jordi Alba, 6 years old – I took some promising positions on the left and created good luck for Messi.
MF Miralem Pjanic, 6 years old – Came for the injured Busquets and did enough to keep his place. Good on the ball and an alternative to Messi on set pieces.
MF Frenkie de Jong, 6 ans – Barca need more of him in the midfield, but he continues to do well when asked to play as a makeshift center-back, which unfortunately happens far too often.
FW Ousmane Dembele, 7 years old – Was lively from the start and created good luck for Griezmann in the opening five minutes. It looked like he was beating his man every time he got the ball at some point, but Atletico finally got his pace under control.
FW Lionel Messi, 6 years old – I will come back to his luck just before the first goal, set by Alba, when he shot directly at Oblak. Also created Barca’s best opening for Lenglet. Despite this, he is still far from his best.
FW Pedri, 6 – A quiet game on the left after a flurry of impressive performances in recent weeks. I struggled with the physicality of Atletico.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 5 years old – Unable to deliver against his old camp. His best chance was a straight header to Oblak just before he was kidnapped late.
FW Philippe Coutinho, 6 years old – Returned from a hamstring injury to little effect in the second half.
DF Sergino Dest, 6 – Replaced the injured Pique and offered an exit to the right in the last quarter of the game.
FW Martin Braithwaite, N / R – Thrown late and had a blocked dive shot.
FW Francisco Trincao, N / R – A beautiful footwork in a few minutes, but its staging came to nothing.