Barcelona vs. Sevilla: 6 Things We Learned
Indeed, Dani Alves was in the Sevilla team the last time that they triumphed against Barca.
Unai Emery had a hoodoo of his own to break, having never beaten Barcelona as a manager, and despite an inspired performance from his team, the match ended on a familiar tone as the home side retained their 100 percent La Liga record.
Let's take a look at six things we learned from the match.
Defenders Exposed to Pace and High Ball
We saw within the first quarter hour both Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique beaten for pace, despite having a good head start over the oncoming attackers.
The ease and regularity with which this occurred throughout, including for Ivan Rakitic's fine finish on 79 minutes, will give Gerardo Martino cause for concern—as will Barca's Achilles' heel of the high ball into the box.
Barca’s defence have often been criticised, and this game appeared to show that they've learned nothing.
Rakitic’s corners on 22 and 83 minutes, Fernando Navarro's disallowed goal on 63 and Coke's equaliser at the death were all examples of where Martino will require immediate improvement.
Cristian Tello Starting the Match
Cristian Tello has been patient in the distant- and recent-past in terms of waiting for his chance.
Tonight was his opportunity to shine and show everyone that he is the rightful heir to the right-sided attacking berth.
To say that it was an opportunity missed is an understatement.
Whatever the reason, apart from a couple of shots and the odd run, the youngster was simply not at the races tonight.
This performance gives Gerardo Martino a completely justifiable reason to keep him on the bench next time, and he will really have to work hard on the training pitch to force himself back into the manager's thoughts after this performance.
Alexis Sanchez scoring the winner may further strengthens the case against Tello.
Barcelona are famed for their tiki-taka and with good reason, but it was certainly missing for long periods tonight.
The passing was laboured and patchy. Players took two touches, whereas before, one would have been sufficient.
Gerard Pique had identified, per Stefan Coerts report on Goal.com, that he was happy Barca were no longer "slaves to tiki-taka." The long ball was evident as the Blaugrana mixed it up throughout.
Aside from a few bursts, the short passing game was not on point, and whilst Martino will certainly want to create a team and style in his own image, he shouldn’t completely abandon that which has served Barcelona so well over the last few years.
Right from the very first minute, Barca used the entire width of the Camp Nou surface.
Both Neymar on one side and Tello on the other were right on the touchline, only moving inside when necessary.
It almost brought immediate rewards with the Brazilian going close in the first few minutes.
By using as much of the pitch as possible, Sevilla’s defensive unit had no choice but to cover vast expanses of the pitch.
It often left numerous gaps and spaces, but Barca were unable to really exploit this to it’s fullest.
Should Tata Have Put out a Weakened Side?
Given that the way Barca have started the season compared to their visitors, and with one eye on the forthcoming Champions League tie with Ajax, surely it was the perfect opportunity to rest the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Xavi or Andres Iniesta?
In the recent past, we have seen the fatigue or injury that has befallen these players, because they are simply playing too many games.
With Jordi Alba and Iniesta limping out of this one, has Martino weakened his Champions League lineup?
With the likes of Sergi Roberto and Adriano—two more-than-able deputies—quite frankly, it brings to question whether or not the entire squad is being utilised to it's fullest.
The Curious Case of Marc Bartra
What does Marc Bartra have to do to get himself a spot on this Barcelona team?
Three managers have now blatantly refused to regularly pick him in the starting lineup, even though he offers a genuine defensive presence. That tells us that there are surely other underlying causes to his absence.
How else do you explain that he doesn't even get a spot on the substitutes bench.
Will he be the next in a long line of young Barcelona centre-backs (Botia, Fontas, Muniesa et al) to move to new pastures in order to get the chance to play first-team football?
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