Barcelona B, Tactical Analysis, Statistics

It was not the best way to end such a thrilling Sunday of fixtures following the spectacular El Clasico victory in the city of Barcelona. Expected to keep the tempo going in the colours of blaugrana, Barcelona B ultimately failed in a 1-0 defeat to Espanyol B.

Pimienta rings the changes 

Garcia Pimienta made five changes from last week’s stalemate against Villarreal B. A rotation of goalkeepers allowed Jokin Ezkieta to reclaim his place ahead of Iñaki Peña, along with four changes of outfield personnel. Morer, Carles Perez and Monchu came in for Guillem, McGuane and Riqui Puig. Summer signing Ronald Araújo made his debut, taking over the role of Jorge Cuenca at centre-back, who suffered a nasal fracture in the previous fixture. Sarsanedas occupied the left-back position in the absence of Miranda.

Typically heated affair 

This clash brought injuries, precautions and consolations. It’s clear that there is very little difference in the style of play between Espanyol’s first team and B team. With that being said, Sarsanedas was forced off the pitch, in tears, within the first ten minutes with an injury. A direct change was made, Guillem coming on for the skipper. The bad news continued for FCB when Campuzano netted the only goal of the game; the player catching Ezkieta off guard on the rebound. In true Catalan derby fashion, cards from the referee were flying left, right and centre. Monchu and Busquets saw yellow early into the first half while Espanyol had the honour of receiving the red in the second half following a foul on Aleña. Barça fought throughout the game for an equaliser but the opposition matched the level of intensity and often overpowered it. Pimienta knowing how violent these games can get, gave Riqui Puig a cameo appearance in the closing minutes, presumably to avoid injury as the little magician seems to continuously be an easy target on the pitch. With five minutes added and Ezkieta charging into the penalty area in an attempt to get a last minute winner, it was clearly not meant to be this time.

Barça were superior in possession and took advantage of this in many occasions. The unfortunate event of an injury to our captain brought a silver-lining in certain aspects. With the early introduction of Guillem, as it brought the almost perfect connection between Mingueza, Monchu and himself which created more of an attacking force to the team. Rafa Mujica, Monchu, Collado and Aleña had regular attempts at goal but to no avail. Oscar Mingueza was the most consistent and solid defender in the game. He read danger instantly and dealt with the threat of the Espanyol forwards in a composed manner. His experience in captaincy showed in vital moments when keeping the stability of the defence and the team as a whole. This proves that himself and Chumi carry very similar characteristics in their play and personalities and it was a benefit to have Mingueza in the centre-back position as Chumi has been part of the first team squad in previous games.

Conclusion 

This defeat means that Barça B currently occupy the sixth place spot with fifteen points, seven points behind first placed Hèrcules. There are midweek fixtures awaiting a few members of the squad with the first team starting their Copa del Rey campaign against Cultural Leonesa. Pimienta has confirmed that Miranda did not play on Sunday because he will be in the starting XI on Wednesday. Along the list of players who could be included in this fixture are goalkeepers Iñaki Peña and Carevic, defenders Cuenca and Chumi, and midfielder Riqui Puig. It is still unsure whether Aleña and Sergi Samper will get minutes in this match and Oriol Busquets remains a doubt as he is not fully fit yet.

The team will be going into their next league fixture, many in the future, without their captain. It is confirmed by the club that Ferran Sarsanedas has suffered an ACL rupture in his left leg and will need to undergo surgery. He has played a total of 509 minutes this season and will be a huge loss to the squad. He joins Mate, Kike Saverio and McGuane on the injury list. Their recovery time is still to be confirmed. Barça B play their next league game at the Mini Estadi against bottom of the table CD Ebro.