There’s just one match left and it’s a home match against Eibar. The team looks like they’ve clicked and are running away with the whole thing, except, of course, that even if they win on Sunday, it won’t be enough on its own. That other team, whatever their name is, controls Barça’s destiny. In a way, that’s kind of okay. It’s too bad, but you do what you can do and if you lose because someone else does even better, that’s okay.
Way back in March, which honestly feels like several lifetimes ago, the Kansas Jayhawks were playing in the NCAA tournament. Then they played Oregon, who played extremely well, and were eliminated. Sure, Kansas shot just 20% from 3 point range and 35% from the field overall, but Oregon hit their shots and came up with an impressive number of offensive rebounds. It wasn’t like KU’s shot selection was that poor, it was that they missed some shots and Oregon was able to make them at the other end. I’m usually fairly distraught by Kansas losses in March (despite their regularity), but this year just felt like it was a fair result given the game.
This is how I feel about the Barça season. Of course it could turn out to be a double, but what if it turns out to be trophy-less? We’d still have been in with a shout for a Triplete, but then Buffon tipped away a few shots in the Champions League match in Turin and there went that possibility (honestly, the 4-0 with PSG didn’t feel as insurmountable as 3-0 with Juve) while it was Sergio Ramos scoring late in the Camp Nou that put us in this position in the league. Had he not scored that goal, Barça would be in control of their own destiny. Obviously we can’t know how other things would have gone, but if you’re a single goal away from winning the league and you’re in a cup final, you can’t havehad a disastrous year, right?
And so you play Eibar, a team that sits in 8th, and you play for all you’re worth because what if? What if you don’t go after that loose ball and it turns out that Eibar grabs a draw and Malaga actually pulls it off? What if you do go after that loose ball and it turns the season into a magnificent, fairytale ending?
Which is kind of the point. How can you be so tantalizingly close to glory, fall short, and have a bad season? How can Barcelona be in deep crisis, sporting-wise at least, if they’re still performing on the field to a rather high degree? Does anyone seriously think this exact Barcelona team wouldn’t walk all the other leagues in Europe? I guess maybe not Serie A cause we can’t seem to be Juve, but other than that…
So how is it that this team has failed? If the barometer is “did we win a Triplete? If yes, success, if no, trash” then, yeah, I guess so, but that’s an unreasonable expectation. You want the team to show desire and you always like to see wins, but what about just enjoying the team as it is? Everyone and their mother is a tactical expert and knows whether or not Lucho should be wearing a suit or just jeans and a jacket. I love discussing tactics, thinking about them, and even critiquing various coaches, but there’s a breaking point at which it isn’t even fun anymore because it just becomes a search for faults instead of the opiate of the masses it was meant to be. And I want my fix, dammit.
Eibar, then: let’s beat them by using the [insert tactical system] and I hope that [player people hate] does [thing that player is accused of never doing] and that Malaga also wins and it is a glorious day.
I’ll be driving back from seeing my newborn nephew, so I’ll miss it. So it goes. I don’t expect much anyway since I think if fortunes were reversed, it would make sense for madridistas to be resigned to not winning the league. It’s just that that doesn’t make it a bad year. It makes it a damned fine year. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too.
Here’s a picture of something awesome to remind you:
Oh, and I really hope Malaga wins!