Struggling against a bottom of the table teams seemed to be a trend in the FCB camp on the weekend. Two disallowed goals later and Barcelona B fail to replicate their senior, ultimately accepting the 1-1 draw against CD Ebro.
Changes in the Camp
Garcia Pimienta made four changes to his starting XI following their defeat to Espanyol B last week. With Miranda, Cuenca, Riqui Puig and Abel Ruiz coming into the side, it allowed each player to take on their preferred position, unlike in the last few weeks. Notable absentees from the side included, Monchu through suspension, Aleña and Chumi- who have both been part of the first team squad during the week and Sarsanedas, who will be out of action for seven months after falling victim to an ACL injury. Additions to the bench included summer signing Moussa Wagué and Juvenil A players Jandro Orellana and Nils Mortimer.
The first half fell to Barça B’s advantage as Rafa Mujica netted home in the first quarter. Clever dribbling from Abel Ruiz on the left wing saw the initial pass make it’s way to Carles Perez who’s attempt was saved; Mujica scoring on the rebound. An early lead triggered overconfidence which showed to be too much for the youngsters.
Whilst they found their ability to finish, which has been lacking in recent weeks, they lost their judgement of timing. Two goals within five minutes were disallowed for offside, denying Perez of his goal and Mujica of a brace.
The tables were turned in the second half. Ebro switched their tactics from finding chances through set pieces to creating their own from range. Ezkieta was forced into multiple saves, conceding ten minutes into the restart; Gerrit scoring for the away side. The shot-stopper was the busiest of the two keepers in this half but pulled off a few very impressive saves as FCB’s attacking creativity hit a wall. Wagué and Orellana were granted their debuts but little to no effect was made on the game as the blaugranas were handed their fourth draw of the season.
The team’s confidence has improved immensely. This game showcased many jaw-dropping moments as each player showed a glimpse of their individual talent and skills as well as brilliant teamwork and understanding of each other. Having already mastered the art of versatility, the next chapter in Garcia Pimienta’s study guide to promotion play-offs is player understanding and intelligence on the pitch.
It has been said that Pimienta does not direct his players on ‘tactics and nothing more’. He allows them to fill in the blanks; giving them creative freedom in their own style of play and allowing their characters to flourish into their game. A true master at work.
Moving focus to the first team appearances, after a convincing performance in the midweek Copa del Rey fixture, Chumi and Aleña, along with goalkeeper Iñaki Peña, have been called on once again for Barça’s Champions League clash against Inter Milan. Ernesto Valverde has been gaining more trust in the youth side, if not forcefully, since the injury of his two backup centre backs.
Aleña evidently proved his worth midweek and fans are opting for the young midfielder to be gifted more minutes in the first team. Valverde has expressed his trust in the 20-year-old, stating that the player is “a first team player”.
Barça B have been decent without a few of their star players as they end matchday eleven with sixteen points, seven points behind first placed Villarreal B. The squad travel to Sant Andreu on Wednesday for their Copa Catalunya fixture, followed by a league game on Sunday against CD Teruel.