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The five sins of Barça in his debut

Xavi, with a gesture of concern after the expulsion of Busquets against Rayo. / Albert Gea (Reuters)

Analysis

Xavi’s team was not comfortable and needs to improve for the second day against Real Sociedad

Barcelona started the season with some mistakes from the past still present. Xavi’s team crashed again against a Rayo Vallecano that has taken the measure and showed that there is a lot of work ahead. From getting better at starting with the ball from behind against forward pressure to having greater defensive solidity. These are the five culés sins in the debut that lowered all the euphoria unleashed in the preseason at a stroke.

It was the first big stumbling block that Barcelona encountered in the match. Rayo repeated last year’s formula and put pressure on the central defenders from the first minute and on Busquets and Pedri, the two players who have the compass when starting plays. “It’s a very well-worked team, they made it very difficult for us to start,” said Xavi. The one from Tarrasa did not find the formula to break Iraola’s approach and his team got stuck for many minutes, to the point that Gavi or even Lewandowski were forced to go back meters to receive a ball that ended up flying over the center of the field in search of of the extremes.

Little incidence of the sides

The pending issue that remains for Barcelona in the remainder of the transfer market is undoubtedly the sides and it was demonstrated in the debut against Rayo. Jordi Alba did not have the freshness that he is used to when it comes to widening the pitch and the fact of having a left-footed winger did not make his task easier when it came to reaching the bottom line. The one from Hospitalet did not have his best day and neither did Ronald Araujo who continues to pick up the automatisms on the right side, but who continues not to be a constant when it comes to generating superiorities in attack, a fundamental role in the culé position game.

El Rayo did not stretch too many times, but the three times he did, he created very dangerous opportunities. Álvaro García had a one-on-one in the first half, Camello was able to take advantage of a mistake at the start and once again Ter Stegen had to appear decisively in stoppage time. There were too many concessions for a team that wants to reach the top and has made it a priority to build a good foundation in defense. The registration of Koundé, a powerful central defender in open spaces, could solve this hole that already cost Barça many points last year.

It is perhaps the problem that least worries in Can Barça. The culés have signed gunpowder in abundance with the signings of Lewandowski and Raphinha, and still have players like Aubameyang, Memphis, Ferran, Dembélé or Ansu Fati. The goal will come, but against Rayo it was the main problem when it came to adding the first victory. “We have lacked effectiveness,” said Xavi after a game in which his players collected up to 21 shots. Only six of them were between the sticks and collided with a Dimitrievski who already has three consecutive games against the Catalans without conceding a goal.

Little impact of changes

Only Frenkie de Jong improved on the performance of his predecessor on the pitch. Sergi Roberto failed to be a differential with his entry on the right-hand side and Ansu Fati, who was very active, failed to have an impact on the scoreboard this time. The entry of Kessié and Aubameyang already occurred with Barça focused on the rival field and did not have the desired effect. The proof that the changes did not work is that Rayo finished without suffering in extra time, in the opposite field and with Barça desperate, unable to get a hold of a rival who has taken the measure in recent games.

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