We often see in football how teams go on a long run without tasting defeat but suddenly things tend to go horribly wrong and this is exactly what has happened to FC Barcelona this time around.
Having gone on an unbeaten run of 39 games the Catalan side has now lost 4 out of their last five games and are looking down the barrel in La Liga and are already knocked out of the Champions League where they were holders.
In their latest La Liga match this Sunday the Spanish giants made a mess of things and handed Valencia a win despite controlling the majority of the game. It was interesting to see how fortunes can turn so quickly because on another day Barca would have scored 506 goals considering the amount of chances they got. The table toppers got off to great start in both halves of the match but failed to convert any opportunity that came their way. The top notch trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar lacked the finishing touch at times which meant that the team was found wanting at times.
The Valencia side capitalized on the few opportunities that came their way and made Barca pay for their mistakes at the back. The score line at the end of first half was radically different to what transpired during the half itself as Barca were trailing by 2-0 with the Camp Nou in a state of confusion and perplexed about the state of their side. Ivan Rakitic scored an own goal, when trying to clear a cross from Siqueira, which put the visitors in front. The second goal came towards the end of the first half when Santiago Mina Lorenzo doubled his side’s lead through an expert finish across Bravo.
Although Messi brought Barca back in it with a clean finish early in the second half but throughout the match it never looked as if the home side can overturn the advantage. This goal was Messi’s 500th professional goal but his achievement was marred by another poor Barca display. Barca applied significant amount of pressure during the late stages of the match to get an equalizer but some good piece of defending from the Valencia side ensured that they did not get the desired results.
Perhaps the best player of the match was the Valencia goal keeper Diego Alves who made 6 crucial saves and each and every save was better than the previous one.
Barcelona had a chance to salvage a point in the dying minutes of the second half when Pique had a golden opportunity to slot home the equalizer but he missed this sitter and the home side were left to rue this opportunity. The Spanish defender will also miss the next match of La Liga, away to Deportivo La Coruna, after being shown a yellow card which is another bad news for the La Liga giants.
This third straight La Liga loss has meant that the Catalan side is now level on points with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are just one point behind so it can be rightfully said that the La Liga is once again wide open and the title race is well and truly on. This was also the first time in 13 years that Barca lost three consecutive games in La Liga.
Talking to media after the match Luis Enrique said that his side has the ability to win all five games left in La Liga and he is confident that they will do so.
“If there is a team capable of doing it and much more given what they have done, it is this Barca,” said Enrique.