The season has started off on a low for Barcelona B. After their La Liga123 relegation, the young Catalan side seem to be reliving the nightmares of last season following their 3-1 defeat away to Alcoyano.
After the US tour, which included 13 Barca B players, we can all agree that our hopes were high for the team this season. Seeing Riqui Puig, Juan Miranda, Marc Cucurella and co explode on the scene against such big clubs and big players certainly made us dream bigger for the season. Though all those dreams were shattered within the first minute of play as Primi netted for Alcoyano. The brilliant play created by Juan Miranda saw Barca B equalise before the halftime whistle as Ballou Tabla got on the end of a Carles Perez ball into the area. But it was all downhill from there.
Talent outweighs the scale:
Not the ideal start for Garcia Pimienta’s side. With such a young squad going up against teams with a higher age average, Barca B do get bullied on the pitch. Seniors picking on the juniors. This was the main topic of discussion during the US tour, especially during the match against AS Roma. Many were questioning the physicality of the players, especially Riqui Puig. Yes, the boy who came onto the pitch with the legendary number 8 on his back. The kid who tucks his shirt into his shorts seemingly for comfort as the kit is a little too big for him. Riqui is one to stand out from the rest of his newly promoted Juvenil A teammates, for many reasons. Although, the side nicknamed ‘The Pitbulls’ have shown that talent can work to your advantage.
Even though they might not get the desired result, they definitely frustrate the opposition.
What needs to change?
Eliminating the first half of last season which was plagued by a manager with zero vision; bar the change in head personnel, what more needs to be different with Barca B? Many believe the side lacks the presence of an older and more experienced player. The oldest current squad member is first choice keeper Jokin Ezkieta(22). There have also been notable problems with the defensive line, mainly with communication between the two centre-backs, or lack thereof. Every team has that special centre-back pairing. Pique and Umtiti, Bonucci and Chiellini, Godin and Gimenez. Those familiar with the youth team know that the best pairing are the likes of Mingueza and Chumi. Friends on and off the pitch, both holding captaincy roles with Juvenil A last season, these two complement for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
We have the tendency to look at what’s in front of us and forget about the missing pieces. The team has a number of missing stars due to injury. Back up goalkeeper Inaki Pena, new signing Moussa Wague along with Mateu Morey, Oriol Busquets and, of recent, Guillem Jaime are all out until further notice.
The goal for the majority of these players is to play for the first team. It should all be a learning experience and development process. This should help strengthen their mentality as well as improve teamwork and understanding. That is what La Masia is there for and that’s what will help them to be successful, whether it be in Barca’s first team or any other club. There has been a lot of criticism towards the players but in the end it is all about individual growth and improvement.