Barcelona can still win La Liga if they win all of their remaining games but they are running on empty. As as usual there are subplots to the end of season collapse at the Camp Now
The 2-1 defeat to Valencia means its two home defeats on the spin, one point from a possible twelve and three losses in a row, something that hasn’t happened to the Catalan side since 2003.
Barcelona’s slump began on March 20 at El Madrigal, as they threw away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with Villareal. A week later came El Clasico. After Gerard Pique’s opening goal, hope of a return to winning ways was restored. However it was Real Madrid who conjured up a comeback win in the final half hour of the game. They then travelled to face Real Sociedad and again suffered defeat with an unconvincing display, succumbing to Mikel Oyarzabal’s goal in a 1-0 loss.
Back on home soil the champions of Spain found no change of fortune against Valencia, a glut of missed chances saw them slip to a 1-2 defeat. It was a disastrous first half for Barcelona, as Ivan Rakitic turned the ball in to his own goal to give the advantage to the visitors.
The home crowd were stunned further on the stroke of half time as Santi Mina converted to extend Valencia’s lead. Lionel Messi’s 500th goal for club and country gave the home side hope but further missed chances saw the away side claim all three points.
As coach Luis Enrique watched them try to comeback he sent none of his substitutes to warm-up, a clear message to his board perhaps that they should have signed players in January.
This was a much better Barca performance than the midweek defeat at Atletico. On a normal day they might have scored four or five goals and one when Pique desperately dragged a last minute shot wide he and several of his Barcelona team-mates dropped to the ground in disbelief – they had missed so many second half chances to win the game.
That would prove to be the final opportunity as the Barcelona slump has now reached crisis mode.