Girona – Barcelona: Barça Edge Out Girona In Enthralling Affair (0-2)
FC Barcelona’s adventurous central midfielders wreaked havoc against Girona’s backline. Their constant rotations on the left side created openings time after time, and helped to maintain control. However, the simple-but-effective targeted long ball approach deployed by Girona was key to their nearly successful attacking strategy. The dismissal of Bernardo Espinosa swung the match in Barça’s favour and saw them collect a win.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
Winless in 2019 but having scored in each of their six games, Eusebio Sacristán’s Girona have been an enthralling outfit, maybe even a bit too entertaining for their own liking. It is hard to know what the expectations were for Sacristán, at least in terms of position on the league table. Whatever it was is certainly still attainable, as the middle of the table in LaLiga is still as congested as ever. As it stands, a win or two will move you from being relegation-threated to European hopefuls. So, most importantly against the league leaders, it was key to put in a performance that could help lift their spirits ahead of their Copa del Rey second leg clash with Real Madrid.
Sacristán made wholesale changes compared to the side that lost 4-2 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu three days earlier. Eight, in fact. Those changes included returns to the starting eleven for Portu and Cristhian Stuani, who were on the bench in Madrid.
Whilst Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona did also have a nagging two-goal deficit in the back of their minds from their quarter-final, they are in a far more privileged position in the league standings. Sitting top . . .