An unrecognizable Barcelona muster a draw against Granada

Barcelona’s Spanish defender Gerard Pique (C) leaves the pitch after the Spanish League football match between FC Barcelona and Granada at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 20, 2021. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP) (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

One can make the argument Barcelona hit rock bottom in their 1-1 draw against Granada. The Catalans needed late heroics by center back Ronald Araújo to avoid losing to a team sitting 17th in the table.

This was the team’s first match since the defeat against Bayern Munich and instead of coming out and restoring their image, they did anything but.

A goal in the second minute by Domingo Duarte put the visitors ahead as Barcelona struggled all match long in search of an equalizer.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has one foot out the door

In his prematch press conference, Ronald Koeman stated, on more than occasion, that he was not concerned about his future nor that he was afraid to play the youngsters. Whether or not the former is true, his starting lineup did consists of Alejandro Balde and Yusuf Demir.

That’s about the best thing anyone can say about the Dutchman and his tactics as in the second half, Barcelona were resorted to sending in crosses, hoping to find Luuk de Jong or a rebound in order to tie the game.

Koeman said he was a “Cruyffista but also a realist.” Against Granada, he was neither of those things. He was a manager who had no little idea of what to do and resorted to lumping in crosses and wishing for the best.

To put it in perspective, Barcelona finished the game with a front three of De Jong, Araújo and Gerard Piqué.

Koeman isn’t the first one to play Piqué as an emergency striker. Pep Guardiola did the same but only in the final minutes of a match. Koeman resorted to it in the 75th minute, taking out Demir in the process. Some might say it paid off as Araújo did end up scoring the equalizer.

However, it was simply a sign of how far Barcelona has fallen. They were a team bereft of ideas and little to no strategy. It had more to do with passion and determination which is why Araújo celebrated so emphatically. There is nothing wrong with celebrating a goal but what it meant and the context behind it was not a good one for Barcelona.

Koeman did himself no favors in his press conference after the game where he once again made excuses for the team’s poor play.

“Look at our squad list,” Koeman said after the game. “We did what we could. We don’t have the players from the tiki-taka days. We have to play with our own style.

“I think we did well and, with some more time, we could have won. The basic system was 4-3-3 in the first half, then I had to make changes based on what I had on the bench.

“This isn’t the Barcelona of eight years ago. That’s the way it is.”

Source: Marca

Not only did he not take responsibility, he also threw the players under the bus. For Koeman, nothing is ever his fault rather a product of what he inherited.

Such an excuse may be valid to explain why they were once again thrashed by Bayern Munich. But it’s not an excuse for only being able to draw against Granada at home.

He had three games to right the ship or else be sacked. Granada was his first test and he failed. The only reason he may still be in charge is Barcelona’s inability to find a replacement. Koeman’s time is up and, for the most part, has only himself to blame.