The impressive win against Manchester City in the Champions League has covered up what has been a very up and down season by Barcelona.
They have failed to hit the heights of previous season’s and Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Valladolid was third defeat in seven league games and their fourth defeat in the league overall.
To put those four losses in perspective, Barcelona have not lost than many league games in a season since the 2009-09 season. And considering that Barca still have to play both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid once more this season, they could rack up the most defeats since Pep Guardiola kicked off this golden age for the Blaugrana.
Against Valladolid, Juventus loanee Fausto Rossi scored the only goal of the game as he slammed home from close range after 17 minutes.
Valladolid goalkeeper Diego Marino was forced into four saves by Lionel Messi, but it was Neymar who had the best chance to level when he ballooned over just before the hour mark.
However, the Catalans couldn’t find a way through and could fall four points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid should Los Blancos beat Levante at home on Sunday.
Barcelona’s performance this season will surely cost Barça boss Gerardo Martino his job at the end of the season. Barca have struggled to play with the tempo and fluidity that we have come to expect from them as Martino has tried to move away from the tiki-taka style of play.
The success of Pep Guardiola at Bayern has only reinforced that tiki-taka is still the dominant style of play in Europe and that Barca need to return to their roots and hire someone this season who can once again make this system work at Barcelona.
Who will that be? The early favorite has to be Luis Enrique, who was one the shortlist this summer when Barca made the now ill-fated move to hire Martino.