With all the budgetary, financial maneuvers, and the sale of its media assets, FC Barcelona could do no better than a score with Rayo Vallecano in the 2022/23 La Liga opener at the Camp Nou. Five of their new players were legally registered and available to be selected in the hours before the start of the season due to the financial issues that the club has faced this summer. However, the players, including Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Andreas Christensen, and Franck Kessie were unable to discover a way to get through. This is the third consecutive game in the match against Rayo that Barcelona hasn’t been able to score since last season.
The team not only saw Rayo beat Barca and Barca, but they also had some of the best scoring opportunities during the game. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Barcelona’s goalkeeper needed to come up with an impressive stop in the first period with a point-blank shot, and Rayo thought they could score the winner in the final minute however Radamel Falcao was not onside earlier in the game. It was the third of three goals that were disallowed due to offside. Lewandowski was the top prize-winner during the season for Barcelona and was expected to assist in settling match situations like this, with opponents focused on defending and taking on. However, Lewandowski was not able to help. Polish international didn’t get numerous clear glances. Also, he didn’t receive the penalty he deserved when he was assaulted on an early set piece in front of the official. He was given a couple of more chances in the second half however, he didn’t hit the frame.
The loss of points at home was not how Xavi Hernandez wanted to begin a campaign in which the aim is to put up an assault on the title to challenge the current holders Real Madrid. The difficulties and lack of solution reminded me of the last time. In addition to the injury, Captain Sergio Busquets was sent off in the final minutes for a second yellow card following an arm raise towards Rayo’s Falcao.
It’s not going to be easy for Barcelona when they play the coming La Liga match as they will have to travel to take on an opponent from the Real Sociedad team that finished in the sixth position last season.
What happened to Barcelona? Barca could bring in their wingers from the start, and it was planned The wingers are supposed to be providing chances for Lewandowski. However, Rafinha as well as Ousmane Dembele weren’t nearly as efficient as they were in the preseason.
Barcelona required more improvisation and creativity from both. Rayo’s defensive block was low and had some role to play however, the wingers’ actions were deliberate, swaying, and, at times, cautious and their passing was either predictable, ineffective, or uninspiring. The team had a tough to find Lewandowski.
It was not helping that Xavi placed Raphinha on the right side and Dembele to the left during thirty minutes in the initial game. As they switched flanks to their normal positions, the former appeared evidently more relaxed and focused.
Lewandowski isn’t part of the Bundesliga now.
The most coveted FIFA athlete of the year is expected to need to make some modifications to his style of play in Spain because the tactical setup of the opponents can create various issues.
In spite of its superiority in Germany, Bayern Munich had an extra bit of space to play with, and the defenders weren’t as secure as the defensive issues Lewandowski encountered against Rayo. In the box, crosses would be able to reach Lewandowski in Germany however it was an absolute struggle against Rayo. There were moments when you didn’t even realize that there was a player in the game. There are plenty of these games left on the schedule.
Lewandowski showed his class in the goal he scored using an amazing strike over the goalkeeper, however, he was offside when he made the ball he hit. In the end, it was a slim chance for 90 minutes. He attempted to make the best of a sloppy Raphinha strike in the opening half, and then had the chance to become the hero with just six minutes left, but the player was unable to move his body enough quickly to get the rebound that was allowed by the Rayo goalkeeper.
Frenkie de Jong can help Barcelona
The Dutch do-it-all-the-time player has given Barcelona an energy boost when he stepped from his bench and played in midfield. He was able to formulate clear thoughts and good touch inside and outside in the area of play, and that is exactly what Barcelona did not have during the game. In retrospect, he could be a better choice over Gavi who was unable to get his name noticed in the game.
The impact of De Jong’s presence on the game may make Barcelona some doubt regarding the plans it has for him during the last two weeks of sale of summer transfers. There are teams interested in signing the player, but he’s one of the few talents that can be found in the Barcelona system. Barcelona might regret having him leave but the financial picture could be the deciding factor in which decision.