Before our first match against Barcelona this season, I was extremely confident... and we all know how that went. Now Barcelona is functioning like a well oiled buzz saw and we’ve lost two our of our last three in La Liga. I’m not excited.
According to Twitter Leo Messi apparently has now scored 25 or more goals in every La Liga season since László Kubala retired (actually, I take that back, most ‘cules’ on Twitter don’t know who Kubala was). Frenkie De Jong is looking exactly like the player Barcelona bought him to be. Pedri is a genius in the making (and a far better prospect than Ansu Fati, btw) and Antoine Griezmann looks almost competent. There’s absolutely no reason for this Barca side to keep a clean sheet against us (again) but we will really have to be on form to beat them because the only competition they have to worry about now is La Liga, and they need all seven matches left to be wins in order to get it.
For the second time in three league matches, Unai Emery put out an odd blend of rotation vs non-rotation in his lineup against Alaves. Funes Mori was particularly woeful and a loss was the result. As badly as we need at least a point against Barca, really our only chance at a truly successful season at this juncture lies in beating Arsenal and making a final so I would expect him to rest some guys and play some pretty negative football to try and get an ugly point. Our schedule doesn’t look pretty down the break but at least we’ll have our say in the title race. Three of the top four face us down the stretch.
My inner optimist wants to say draw specialist Emery goes full Picaso and lands us a 1-1 result, but realistically I think we lose like 4-2 here.