Barcelona may have won this battle over Real Madrid, but some of the club’s hardcore fans will be scratching their heads after what should have been a memorable victory came in the most unconvincing and un-Barcelona way possible.
Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid: Player ratings as Gareth Bale continues to struggle for Los Blancos
(Video) Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid El Clasico Highlights: Luis Suarez fires in winner to hand Luis Enrique’s side the impetus in La Liga title race
Real Madrid transfer news
Back in Pep Guardiola’s time in charge – of course there were occasional defeats – Barca absolutely tore Real apart in this fixture time after time, with mesmerising 5-0 and 6-2 wins among the highlights, and with 70-80% possession not uncommon even against this calibre of opposition. Even in defeat, Guardiola had the Catalan giants playing in their traditional style.
And then yesterday evening – 52% possession at home, one goal from a set-piece, another from a long and direct ball down the pitch from Ivan Rakitic, finished beautifully by Luis Suarez, but still far from tiki-taka.
Many will shrug their shoulders and say “it’s a results business” or “it’s good to have the option to go direct”, but there’s a reason that current manager Luis Enrique has not always managed to win over the Nou Camp crowd this season.
Barca’s form in recent weeks has come closer to looking like the team that dominated so resoundingly from 2008 to 2012, but it feels like big games such as this one will prove the undoing of the team as they chase the Champions League this season; it’s hard to imagine this side playing as they did against Real and being successful against Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
I’ll comment on Lucho’s approach and system another day. No use criticising after such important win.
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) March 22, 2015
The truth is, Real played the better football for much of the night, including their superb team goal finished off by Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half, and if the two teams met again in the Champions League it’s hard to imagine Carlo Ancelotti’s men would be as wasteful with their chances again.
Yes, it’s a results business and this win leaves Barcelona four points ahead of Real in La Liga, but one win is just one win, and the same concerns that plague Louis van Gaal with Manchester United are also legitimate with Enrique at Barcelona – the team just isn’t heading in the right direction.