What an absolutely miserable two weeks it has been for the Champions league and La Liga winners. This time it was Valencia leaving the Catalunyans catatonic. Think about it, if Gary Neville had still been in charge, he might have been able to boast of a famous victory, giving a new lease of life to his coaching career. The long and short of it is Atletico are level on points and Real Madrid are just a point behind with a superior goal difference. A very precarious and nerve wracking run of five matches awaits the champs just when it looked like they were going to run away with the title.
Leo Messi scored his 500th goal and his first after 514 scoreless minutes and it was a fabulous one but Diego Alves turned in a stellar display of goalkeeping to keep Barcelona from scoring any more. At the other end, Ivan Rakitic’s own goal in the 26th minute and Santi Mina’s strike just before the first half ended proved enough for the Che to consign the visitors to their fourth consecutive loss, their third in the league after losing to Real Madrid and Real Sociedad. Check Santi Mina’s goal – the Barca defence was in sixes and sevens. There lies the problem.
Barca coach, Luis Enrique seems to have a problem with his bench. No subs when he had Dani Alves, Douglas, Adriano, Aleix Vidal, Marc Bartra, Munir El Haddadi, and Marc Andre ter Stegen to chose from.