Barcelona and Manchester United battled it out in the Camp Nou, ending in a 2-2 draw. The game saw some interesting talking points that left both teams feeling hard done by. Here are five key takeaways from the match:
1. Xavi’s Decision to Rotate the Backline:
Xavi made some changes to the Barcelona backline, which had been solid throughout the season. The new formation, which saw Jordi Alba and Marcus Alonso take up positions, seemed to make the backline vulnerable. In contrast, Erik ten Hag stuck with his formation and style. Barcelona only conceded seven goals in 21 games with their previous backline, but this game showed that changes can sometimes have adverse effects.
2. Refereeing Errors:
The game saw some hilarious refereeing errors that left both teams feeling aggrieved. The biggest foul against Manchester United was the last-man foul on Rashford, which was committed by Jules Kounde. It could have easily sent him off. On the other side, Barcelona was denied a clear-cut penalty when Fred handled the ball in the penalty box. The mistakes from the referee could have had a significant impact on the outcome of the game.
3. Injury Woes for Barcelona:
Barcelona’s injury problems continue to mount as Pedri is out injured and will be sidelined for at least 20 days. According to Barcelona, Pedri has a right thigh injury, and his availability will depend on further tests. The young midfielder has been a key player for Barcelona this season and will be sorely missed.
4. Suspensions Adding to Barcelona’s Woes:
With suspensions piling up, Xavi won’t be able to play his dream midfield duo of Gavi and Pedri. Pedri is out due to injury, and Gavi is serving a suspension after being booked in the 73rd minute for stopping a counterattack by Fred. The absence of these two talented midfielders will be a significant blow to Barcelona.
5. Passion Runs High:
Both teams played with passion and intensity, with Raphinha and Rashford being the standout performers. Raphinha was subbed off in the 83rd minute and was visibly upset as he had been playing extremely well and was very threatening. On the other hand, Marcus Rashford’s hot scoring streak continued as he matched his best tally of 22 goals in the season. Rashford later said that the draw felt like a defeat as United had the better chances but couldn’t convert.
In conclusion, Barcelona dominated possession with 61% and had more shots on target than United, but ultimately, the game was won and lost on the pitch and not on the stat sheet. The draw leaves both teams with plenty to think about and work on before their next match.