Match review: Real Sociedad 3 – 2 FC Barcelona – End of an era! The league is lost!By: Natasha | January 20th, 2013
Yes, the title is a joke, although I’ll bet there are some people out there who do believe that’s the case…
Oh the first league loss of the season. A much bigger event than it should be, but I guess that’s what happens when the first loss is in January. The starting XI was strong: Valdes – Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Alba – Busquets, Xavi, Cesc – Pedro, Messi, Iniesta. And yes, I really did basically say that Cesc is part of a strong XI. But to make up for that, Ade will be extra mean about Cesc for the next week.
If you want to relive it, here are the highlights:
Although the scoreline says otherwise, the first half was enjoyable. The second half…not so much, but I’ll get to that. Barça’s first goal came after only 7 minutes, in the form of a link up between Iniesta and Cesc and passed on to Messi to finish the job. The second was scored by Pedro after hitting the post about 10 minutes prior to his goal. His goal came from an accurate cross from Alves. Accurate and Alves in the same sentence? Something is wrong here! And everyone rejoiced – Pedro is scoring again! Well, maybe, let’s see if he keeps it up. (Sidenote: Pedro, if you’re reading this, and you clearly are, you have no choice but to keep scoring.)
After the 30 minute mark, things got a bit worrying. Sociedad scored in the 34th minute but it was offside and disallowed as such. Phew, we all said. That won’t happen again! Well…it did happen again. Three more times, in fact. A few minutes later, Chory Castro put away the first goal, which was the result of terrible defending and yeah…more terrible defending. Barça’s entire backline was out of position. But hey, it’s fine, we’ll let one goal slide. We’re used to that.
The second half is when everything fell apart. Went down the drain. Went to the dogs. And other associated synonyms for those phrases. Piqué, who stupidly picked up a yellow in the first half, picked up another stupid yellow and was subsequently sent off. As a result, the average height of the team fell by about 7 inches. I probably don’t need to state the obvious that losing a defender was disastrous. Piqué seemed to find it quite amusing though. Just when you think his trolling has stopped…
Mascherano came on to try and plug the gap in defence. That didn’t work and he made it worse by scoring his third own goal of the season. Erm, thanks Masche. That was really helpful! Not to worry, I thought. Let’s just take the draw and run! That wasn’t the case. Sociedad simply wanted the win more than Barça did. That was evident from Agirretxe’s (I’m not going to count how many times I had to retype his name) extra time goal. I spent most of the second half hoping Barça didn’t concede another goal and my hoping was wasted! I want a refund.
Of course Barça were going to lose at least once this season, and of course, the loss happens now, during the traditional January-February dip in form. The upcoming Malaga match will be interesting. Tito can’t afford to let the youngsters play, so instead, we’ll see a fairly tired team fighting their way through the match. As for this match though, no, it’s not a massive loss. Wasteful, yes, because Barça could and should have put it to bed in the second half. But let’s remind ourselves how big the points gap is between Barça and both Madrids. 8 and 15 points! Come on. The loss was inevitable. How the team reacts is what matters. Time to focus on the rest of the season and hopefully prevent any more losses.
I say prevent any more losses because goodness knows what will happen if Barça lose again. I don’t think I can handle the chaos and drama that follows!
Valdes – 6.5. Did you see his heroic, Superman-esque save late in the second half? That’s the Valdes I’ll miss. 3 goals conceded, yes, but not entirely his fault.
Alves – 6.5. Great assist for Pedro’s goal and some, dare I say it, accurate passes. Unfortunately some of the blame is with him for Castro’s goal as he was out of position, hovering in the middle of the field and watching the events unfold.
Piqué – 4. He was all over the place. Not in a good way either, as in, “he was all over the place defending“. Another fraction of the blame for Sociedad’s first goal also lies with him and he was near asleep for most of the match. Oh yeah, and he got two stupid yellows and was sent off. Good job!
Puyol – 6. He was out of position during the run up to Sociedad’s first goal. One player being out of position messes up the whole back line, as is evident with Piqué and Alves being all over the place. However, he wasn’t sent off – bonus!
Alba – 7. He linked up quite a lot with Iniesta and their double act on the left wing is looking very promising. It didn’t result in a goal (this time), but there were plenty of chances. Also, he was involved in the fight that kicked off in the 80th-odd minute and pushed one of the RSO players. Don’t make the squirrel mad!
Busquets – 7. Gave a way a few balls. Busquets, how could you? Don’t make us take away your customary 12!
Xavi – 7. Didn’t see much of him. RSO were pretty adept at keeping him quiet. Great pass to Alves in the leadup to Pedro’s goal though.
Cesc – 7. An assist from this dude, too, for Messi’s goal. See, sometimes Cesc is useful. Let’s keep him.
Pedro – 7.5. Oooh, another Pedro goal. As so many “knowledgable” commentators say, you need to break your goal drought in order to score more goals. Looks like that’s true in Pedro’s case.
Messi – 7.5. He scored. No one was surprised. Actually, I’m almost worried that he only scored one. Is Messi having a crisis?! (No.)
Iniesta – 7. Like I said for the Killer Squirrel™, the link up between these two is becoming enjoyable. He picked up a yellow too, which I am sure is a criminal offence. You can’t give a yellow to a ghost!
Mascherano – 5. The own goal was silly. Very silly. As a result, I can’t really rate him much higher.
Adriano – Didn’t play long enough to rate him. I think he should have been introduced slightly earlier though. He’d probably have scored too!
That’s the end of this review. We’ll be back for yet another Malaga preview later in the week. Too many Malaga matches…make them stop…
Some Related Barcelona Posts:
- La Liga Review: FC Barcelona 5, Real Sociedad 1, Or, La Liga Is Back, Villa Is Back, MVP Is Back!
- La Liga Preview: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona. What Distractions?