Barça forgot that to reach the leadership they needed to defeat Granada. He was not even able to scratch the tie to depend on himself in his aspirations to win the League. It also happened to him in Valdebebas when he could defeat Madrid. And he also beat Juve the day he could lead the group in the Champions League. Admirable on the lift, Barcelona collapses when it sees the summit, victim of a panic attack, paralyzed by any setback, regardless of the tournament and the rival, also defeated by Granada. Never in its history had the Andalusian team won at the Camp Nou. He could not choose a better day to avenge his defeat in the quarterfinals of the Cup against Barça.
More than by the payroll of its players, some very interesting, Granada is distinguished by its sense of the collective game, so that absences are relatively penalizing, even when they face rivals like Barça without Montoro, Puertas, Milla or Rui Silva. The team has competed very well even in stadiums like Napoli or Old Trafford. The Camp Nou, however, was different because it had never scored on the Barcelona court. Until the day that the Catalans played for the leadership of the League.
Barça is not yet a mature team to survive the most demanding moments or endure Koeman’s rotations. The coach arranged a line-up with up to seven players linked to La Masia after giving Pedri and Lenglet a break. Committed and vital footballers for a rough game, usually unpleasant, difficult to govern due to the few concessions from Granada. It is not easy to go deep, neither to throw the passing line from the own area, nor even to defend forwards like Soldado or Luis Suárez. Umtiti chained three fouls in 11 minutes, while the Barcelona players took 18 minutes to find Aaron’s goal with a shot from Griezmann. There was no fluidity in the Barça game. The lack of extremes did not help the Barça offense either, very aware of Messi, especially active and oriented towards the movements of Busquets and especially Griezmann.
The Frenchman is no longer qualified by the kilometers he travels in defense of his court but by his goals and his virtuous maneuvers, an excellent one that made the 1-0 possible. Messi leaned on him before finishing across the left post. The execution was as accurate as it was beautiful and unbalancing was the reverse of the Frenchman, who turned around and held the ball long enough to enable Messi on his arrival in the area. The inside game of Griezmann and Busquets fed the captain and dislodged the orderly defense of Diego Martínez, reiterative in the body to ground of the Koeman boys. The big toe of Aaron’s right foot prevented Messi’s 2-0.
The Barcelona fans needed a second goal because Granada’s transitions were especially threatening for Ter Stegen. The memory of the anguishing games won against Valladolid and Getafe did not help the calm of Barcelona either. The game became tense and at the same time expectant with the filtered passes of Busquets. The Catalans did not seem to have a better attacking alternative than the inner game of their midfielder in search of the forwards and also the wingers, who attacked more from the inside than from the outside, well controlled by Granada. The ball went patiently from foot to foot from the Koeman boys. It was necessary to secure the pass, avoid the loss of the ball and finish the play against Aaron.
Although speed was lacking, the game seemed calm and reliable enough until Mingueza failed to intercept a pass from Jorge Molina and Machís was left alone against Ter Stegen: 1-1. The goal unhinged Koeman, angered by the vulnerability of his centrals and sent off when changes were imposed on Barcelona. The team had left the match and needed to be agitated from the bench: Dembélé and Pedri came out. From 4-3-3, the Catalans changed the rhythm and lined up Aaron. The ambition then lost to Barça. Umititi and Piqué thought more about scoring the winning goal than not conceding the one in defeat and allowed Jorge Molina to score 1-2 after a cross from Adrián Marín.
The party no longer had a remedy for Barça. The fear of losing immobilized the players and the coach, and the day designed for glory evoked the encounters of misery starring the blunders of their defenders, lacking in concentration and easy to overflow in the open field, and the lack of forcefulness of their forward , including Messi. Barça does not seem prepared to govern a crazy League that Atlético leads as best it can, now pending on Madrid and Sevilla.