There is a feeling, just a feeling, that Barcelona are going to stumble before the end of the season one more time. If you saw their game against Gijon, you’d have seen how unconvincing they looked during that first half. And yet, when your team scores 5 goals in one half, there’s nothing you can really complain about as a manager. But, still, a gaffer being a gaffer, they always find things to improve upon. Luis Enrique certainly would’ve seen a few in this game. For one, they aren’t going to get more generosity from the referee like they did in most other games. Though that’s somewhat arguable given the current status of referees in general in the world.
However, referees are something that in football you cannot depend on, similar to when you just cannot trust a 2-year old child with a TV remote control. You just do not know what they are going to do.
The only goal that Barcelona scored during the first half of their game this past weekend did not come without controversy.
Even though in the footage it might look like Suarez is pulling out of the challenge when he sees the keeper, it can also be interpreted as an intentional act of hindrance in play since the Uruguayan looks at the keeper even before he tries to bring the ball down; coupled with the fact that he was nowhere close to bringing the ball under control, it was that far away from him.
The referee, obviously, did not see this as a punishable offense, and allowed the goal. In the 2nd half, though the Blaugrana upped their tempo, they were still held by the Gijon side scrambling for points to stave off relegation for a fair while.
There may not be an easier finish for him during the remainder of this season; though his ability to finish off sitters are somewhat questionable given his rueful miss in the Clasico. Regardless, next in the game came two penalties, both of which were put into the back of the net (surprisingly given Barca’s form in penalties). But, penalty kicks must always be taken into account as something of happenstance rather than a consequential event bound to occur.
So, as the hat-trick of penalties were put away by the Uruguayan and his Brazilian teammate, there was still a sense of necessity for Barcelona to score at least one goal out of open play that wasn’t subject to any sort of controversy or uncommon events. And so, the most important goal, in Enrique’s books, came in the 86th minute as Suarez put in the ball from an awkward angle to say the least. This marked the second time in a week that he’d scored 4 goals, and it took him head and shoulders above Cristiano in the Pichichi race.
So, the result, had it not been subject to incorrect officiating decisions and events that occur few and far between like penalty kicks (and one of them was wrongly given as well), would’ve been 1-0. This is a cause for concern for a club like Barcelona because unlike Atletico or Leicester City, they are not usually dependent on ‘lucky’ goals. They create them with the craft and ingenuity that they possess, and playing the ‘Barcelona way’. Although the 6-0 score-line masks any level of uncertainty that they had going into this game, football’s beauty means that they will be much more confident going into the game against Betis, not caring how they got their goals last weekend because, let’s be honest, in the end, they all count.
However, if someone were to suggest that Barcelona are absolutely flying at the moment, then, well…