These games are brutal for a number of reasons. Your team loses the Cup final. To its biggest rival. A week before playing that same team in a two-legged tie to decide a berth in the European final. So many implications, and yet, still very few. There is not much to say here other than a few brief takeaways and to get ready for Osasuna and the Champion’s League semis.
1. David Villa was dreadful. I hate to pile on any player, I really do. I am still in the “Fernando-Torres-can-pull-it-out-and-get-back-on-track” camp. However, Spain’s leading national team scorer and Barcelona’s key summer offensive signing has been sputtering for over a month now. Could the culprit be a lack of confidence in his game right now? Possibly. I tend to think it has to do with playing so many games now (Barcelona plays many more than Valencia typically did/do) and being asked to adjust his role. Can he get back on track? Of course, he’s a trust talent, but he needs either a breather or a confidence boost. Which leads us…
2. A lack of depth. Pep likes to carry his small squad, and I don’t usually tend to question the manager who is on a historic 4-year run for the club, however, the injury to Bojan has killed the depth even more, and there is no help in the reserve. It is hard to comprehend now, after the Liga has basically been wrapped up with said lack of depth, but in these trying cup ties, it becomes much more apparent. This means a summer signing is needed up front. Either on the wing or a backup 9 to provide a change of pace.
3. It’s only one game. It was the finale, and yes it was a hard knock, but it is only one game. Losing to Madrid sucks, big time, but that’s the way it happens sometimes. And today, it fell their way. However, with the Liga all but assured, it means that this is not leading to some historic Madrid treble or any such thing.
4. Pep hopefully learned a lot from the second half about what was working. In the past 2 games, Mou has used the Pep midfield situation to a tee, and he might do it again in Madrid (being that Carvalho is suspended for that game, he might not be able to). But the second half flowed better and the offense moved through Xavi and things were looking up until Extra Time. If the team comes out stagnant like the 1st half again, it’s going to be bad. A defense that plays that high cannot rely on some of the best players in the world missing or having a bad touch to get by.
5. Madrid earned it, or Barcelona lost it, I can’t decide. One way or the other, the team that deserved to win, did win. The first half was dreadful, the second half was better, and the goal was perfect. No keeper would stop it, no defender except Pique could have defended it (and he was in position guarding Adebayor). It hurts because it was Ronaldo and because it was Madrid, but it happens sometimes. Losing to Real Madrid, aside from being their arch enemy, is not shameful. They are the 2nd or 3rd best club team in the world, it’s not the worst thing ever.
6. Losing this game does not take away the other good things from this year and the past few. Closing in the Liga, a load of trophies, the best player in the world, and the best club in the world. The Copa del Rey is not a loser trophy or something minor, it is a worthwhile cup that any team in the RFEF would love to win, and winning it would have kept another treble hope alive, so it’s not something small, let’s not act like small fans. Congratulate them for winning a game and then move on for Osasuna, the CL, and the Supercup of Spain next August. Let’s not be petulant.
7. Best players of the night: Pique, Pinto, Xavi (2nd half), Messi (2nd half and when he could touch the ball), Busquets (aside from his theatrics, which I thought we were past), and Mascherano. Sometimes the team has an off game, it sucks that it happened in a final.
Sorry for the brevity here, but I have little else to say. We will be along later in the week with more updates and the preparations for Osasuna!