With the vast majority of our best starting eleven sitting out today, it was perhaps unsurprising to witness a rather disappointing goalless draw with Deportivo. We still played like Barça with a typically high percentage of possession but we lacked creativity and punch in front of goal. Deportivo also showed little going forward though they managed the best chances of the game at the very beginning and then in injury time at the end, but on both occasions Victor Valdés demonstrated that he is still in an excellent moment.
With two youngsters, Marc Bartra and Andreu Fontás, in defence there was always a chance we might take time to settle and as early as the second minute Adrian burst through onto Valeron’s pass and Valdés had to race out to punch away, however, the ball only fell as far as Lassad who fired back in and Valdés managed to react to get in the way though it appeared he saved the ball with his face.
Our three forwards had obviously been told not to be afraid to take on a defender as all three showed their ability in the dribble, unfortunately there was very little link-up play and we suffered as a consequence. Valeron had another good chance for Depor in the 15th minute but he fired low past the post. We finally managed a decent chance after Jeffren switched to the left, in the 33rd minute Jeffren nipped between two defenders but his shot was deflected away for a corner.
The second half was equally short on incident. We found another route forward when Alves came on, Johnathan dos Santos had been pretty quiet but he found the best pass of the game in the 58th minute for Alves to run onto but Alves’s flashed cross was just too fast for the diving Bojan to make the vital touch. Bojan was not having the best game but he made an excellent run into the area in the 68th minute but Manuel Pablo just managed to intercept in time. Depor might have stolen the three points right at the end but Valdés was again extremely alert to deny Xisco.
There’s not a great deal more to say about the game. Marc Bartra impressed me again and I still think he is probably better than Fontás, however, Bartra is more of a right sided player and he will have to compete with Piqué and Alves for a place whereas Fontás is a left sided plater which is where we have been having more problems with injuries and aging players. Of the midfielders I still prefer Thiago over JDS but he will have to lose fewer balls, I was also pleased to see Oriol Romeu get another first team chance as he is another player with a big future. Up front we saw plenty of potential expecially from Jeffren and Afellay but there was too much individual play and not enough combinations.
Barça: Valdés 7.5; Bartra 7, Mascherano 7 (Alves m53, 6.5), Fontás 6.5, Abidal 6.5 (Maxwell m53, 6); Thiago 6, Dos Santos 6 (Oriol Romeu m83), Keita 6; Afellay 6, Bojan 6, Jeffren 6.5.