It has been no secret that for the past couple of years, FC Barcelona had a heavy reliance on Lionel Messi. Game after game, the Argentinian would put the Catalans on his back and take them as far as possible. Now that Lionel Messi has left Barcelona, the Spanish giants seem to be digging their own grave.
Only a month into their season Barcelona sit in 6th place in La Liga and bottom last in their Champions League group with 0 pts. Additionally, the ‘blaugranas’ have scored 0 goals and have received 6 goals in their past two Champions League matches. This has led many to ask: is it time to panic or is it just a slump of form?
Koeman’s Last Straw?
Barcelona’s coach Ronald Koeman has been under pressure since the moment he decided to take the coaching reigns. The Dutch manager decided to leave the Netherlands’ national soccer team to manage the club he played 6 years for. Under Koeman, the blaugranas never seemed to play consistently as they could constantly drop points in league title race. In the end, Koeman managed Barca to a 3rd place league finish, an embarrassing round of 16 elimination to Paris-Saint-Germain, and a Copa del Rey title to make things a little better.
Nevertheless, the Dutch coach could be on his way out after a disaster of a game in the Champions League yesterday. Against all odds, the Spanish club lost to Benfica away in a 3-0 thumping. Things did not start off well as Uruguayan striker, Darwin Nuñez, opened the score in the 3′ minute. From that point, the portuguese giants looked closer to adding a second goal than Barcelona did in leveling things. After persisting all game, Benfica finally made it 2-0 in the 69′ minute after Rafa Silva scored from short range. To top things off, VAR awarded the home side a penalty after a header went off Sergiño Dest’s hand. In the end, Darwin Nuñez made it 3-0 from the penalty spot to seal the deal.
If FC Barcelona fall to Atletico Madrid in the league this Saturday, then it could be said that Koeman will get the boot. Rumors have already started that Andrea Pirlo and Marcelo Gallardo will be the Dutch coach’s replacement. Only time will tell if this is simply a slump in form or an actual meltdown in Catalonia.
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