Ronald Koeman is a lucky man. A very lucky man as it turns out.
On Saturday afternoon, the fact that it was Real Betis who were Barcelona’s La Liga opponents was a huge sigh of relief for the Dutchman and the club.
The Andalusians have always been the most accommodating of opponents, and so it was therefore no surprise that the Catalans plundered five goals against them.
It took Lionel Messi coming on at half-time to spark them into life, and that will be a concern, because there’s no doubt that without the No.10’s contribution, Barca’s defence could’ve seen to it that this would’ve been a fifth league game without a win.
The back four were simply awful and the club will not win anything with the same defence in situ for large parts of the season.
Sergino Dest was left out for Sergi Roberto, despite the fact that the former is a far more accomplished right-back than the latter.
Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet are, on their day, brilliant, but they’re having far too many off days of late.
This was another, and teams now know if they play a ball over the top, there’s no pace to speak off from Barca’s perspective.
Jordi Alba is a better attacker than he is defender and still consistently makes elementary mistakes in his primary role.
Samuel Umtiti appears likely to be on his way, and once Ronald Araujo is back to full fitness, he has to come into contention.
The next transfer window could be crucial for the club’s aspirations, and before looking at attacking signings, Koeman would do well to shore up the back four.