It was far from pretty but Barcelona grinded out a grueling 1-0 win away to Girona. Pedri participated in his 100th official game with the Catalan side and scored the winner.
Pedri’s goal was the highlight of the match for a Barcelona who struggled throughout the entire match. Xavi sent out a rotated side and their lack of chemistry was evident. Things didn’t change until the second half when Jordi Alba replaced Marcos Alonso at left-back.
With that being said, here are three things that stood out in the match.
Another subpar performance from Barcelona
Will the real Barcelona please stand up?
It was another disappointing performance from Barcelona who were completely disjointed, struggling to control a ball, pass and create any real danger in front of goal.
While Xavi trotted out a rotated side, it’s no excuse for the way they performed. The front three of Raphinha, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembélé — more on him later — was ineffective at creating much of anything.
The aforementioned Alonso provided nothing going forward either and it was no surprise to see him taken off for Alba in the second half. If there were already eyebrows at Barcelona extending Alonso before, there are sure to be more now following that display.
The pattern with Barcelona lately has been to play down or up depending on the opponent. They looked great against Real Madrid and Real Sociedad, despite only winning by one against La Real, but struggled against Espanyol, Getafe and now Girona.
It is a problem that has been talked about ad nauseam and Xavi doesn’t seem to be able to find the cure. Fortunately, the club should be able to count with Robert Lewandowski in their next match after serving a three-game ban.
Pedri scores in his 100th game with the club
If Xavi had his way, he likely would have given Pedri the game off and rested him for the midweek game against Real Betis.
He didn’t have that luxury as Pedri was forced to come in early in the opening half after an injury to Dembélé.
Pedri ended up scoring the winner in the second half as he was on the receiving end of a low cross from Jordi Alba that goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga completely fluffed, meaning all Pedri had to do was tap in.
Regardless, it was a nice moment to cap off his 100th game with Barcelona. A number many would have not seen coming so early despite the promise he seemed to be when he was first signed from Las Palmas. He’s the second youngest player to ever reach that feat after Bojan Krkic.
He’s been absolutely crucial for Barcelona and will likely continue to be for the next decade.
Dembéle suffers his first injury under Xavi
Just as Dembélé was putting together a run of good form, the injury bug struck him once again and had to come off early in the match. The injury came as he was sprinting for a ball before he came up lame and pointed at his left quad.
He tried to give it a go after but it soon became evident he could not continue. It’s the first time he’s been hurt since Xavi took over as manager.
His injury could not have come at a worse time for Barcelona considering the amount of games coming up. Further, he was one of the few attacking players in form along with Lewandowski. The likes of Raphinha, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres have all had their difficulties and it will not be up to them to pick up the slack.
The early prognosis is that the Frenchman could be out for 2-3 weeks though the full extent of his injury and recovery won’t be known until further tests are done. At the very least, he is going to be a doubt for their match in the Europa League against Manchester United.