Barcelona downfall shows no signs of slowing down

MADRID, SPAIN – OCTOBER 02: Marc Andre Ter Stegen reacts at the end of the La Liga Santander match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on October 02, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

The downward spiral for Barcelona shows no sign of stopping as the Catalans fell 2-0 to Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Thomas Lemar opened the score for the home side, finishing off a move in which Atletico sliced through the Barcelona defense. The goal left Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets in a heated debate trying to figure out what went wrong.

Former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez scored the second in another calamitous display of defense by the visitors. A long ball to the Uruguayan left Pique as the lone defender and instead of trying to close down Suarez, the Catalan instead made a rush to the goal line where he had a good view of the ball ending in the back of the net.

The result does not put Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona job in danger.

In a rather surprising move, president Joan Laporta stated Koeman was going to be the club’s manager regardless of the result against Atletico. The Dutchman certainly spoke like a man who knew he was in no danger of getting sacked given his postgame press conference.

“[Speaking with Laporta] was good because there wasn’t clarity in that respect. We spoke last night and this morning about the team, the club, my position,” said Koeman.

“I asked for clarity from the club. It’s important that everyone knows what’s what but I know that this is Barcelona and you have to win games, that’s normal.

“The president has spoken to his people and taken the decision [to back me] so that’s perfect.”

Source: Marca

As has become customary, Koeman took little responsibility for the defeat, blaming 19-year-old Nico Gonzalez for Lemar’s goal.

The lone highlight for Barcelona came Gavi battled for the ball and delivered a perfect pass for Philippe Coutinho, leaving him one-on-one against Jan Oblak. The Brazilian struck the ball straight at the goalkeeper. The second half could have gone different had Coutinho converted.

Barcelona have now lost two out of their last three games in the past week and there are few signs that things are going to get better. Koeman keeps insisting the team will improve once the injured players come back but that is hard to take at face value.

There is little cohesion on the pitch and the same defensive mistakes continue with little to no improvement. Again, Koeman continues to deflect blame instead of taking ownership and has seemingly won the “war” against Laporta.

What is more worrying is it is hard to tell when Barcelona will be able to pick up their next win. Following the international break, they have three straight home games but none are going to be any easy.

They next three opponents are Valencia, Real Madrid and Dynamo Kyiv. The game against Madrid could end up being another embarrassment, at home, this heaping more pressure on both the manager and the president.

The decision to keep Koeman has caused a lot of consternation given the results. The reversal by Laporta may have to do with the lack of replacements or the lack of money to pay what is left of Koeman’s contract.

In any respect, Laporta is taking a huge risk by keeping him. As it stands, Barcelona is in real danger of crashing out of the Champions League group stage and missing the competition entirely next season. With the loss to Atletico, Barcelona now sit in ninth place.