Thank God the Barcelona season is over

Barcelona lost at home on Sunday 2-0 to Villarreal. As has been their custom this season, the hosts dominated possession, completing nearly twice as many passes as their guests attempted and shooting 15 shots on just four in Yellow Submarine. As has also been their custom this season, they couldn’t summon creativity, touch, or precision – juicy – to punch any of those suckers in the net. Players who manage a club half the stature of Barcelona will never have to rely on hilarious defensive mistakes in the visitors’ two goals. She was ugly. Sucked and found myself hoping to send lok de jong There to give them hope for a late goal, and I was horrified at my disappointment when they didn’t. However, none of that can highlight Sunday’s great news for Barcelona fans everywhere: The season is over, and no one should be watching them play again for a while.

My family and I have spent most of the past week away from home, in New York, visiting the Defector gang and doing stupid tourist things. (shaken). Our first itinerary had us catch the train home on a Sunday afternoon; All week I was expecting to miss the final of the Barcelona season, and I had the idea that this was a disappointment. Then we decided, Friday evening, that we should get the seats available on an earlier train so that we would have a Sunday afternoon to unpack and decompress before returning to work and school. We were in Delaware when it occurred to me that this meant I would be able to catch the Barcelona game after all, and when I figured it all out at once, I felt about it the way you feel about remembering you had a dentist appointment: Bleccchhhh.

For good reason. I would like to draw your attention to the 55th minute events on Sunday for clarification. First, a cunning Ferran Torres touch led to a foul and a free kick on the edge of the Villarreal box area. The free kick led to a corner. The corner led to a hopeless and urgent 25-yard bid by Jordi Alba; Villarreal’s ensuing goal kick resulted, almost immediately, for the visitors blasting down the hill in Barcelona’s scrambling defence. If you’ve watched Barcelona this season, you’ve watched this sequence, with slight variations, nearly 900 times.

What happened next would also sound familiar, if not in detail, in its general character. Barcelona’s backline, in this case, the people of Dani Alves and Clement Lenglet, couldn’t say who would decide who; Villarreal’s Alfonso Pedraza, who scored his first goal by running behind a sleeping Adama Traore, ran after him again. This time Traore caught just in time to cut the pass from the goal line on the left side of the penalty area… where he made an absolutely insane mistake by clearing the ball. straight to the boxWhere Moy Gomez of Villarreal managed to collect it and hit the second goal for the visitors. This was the kind of defensive play that would make his teammates scream in shock and horror if a 10-year-old did it in my league. It’s also kind of what Barcelona have been up to this season. Even more bleakly, Traore is the kind of caliber that Barcelona had to rely on.

What a miserable season! Give club legend Xavi, who was appointed as technical director in November to fix the appalling state of club football and its PR, all credit for the much-needed grim job of getting back into the Champions League at any cost. The results, at least, improved sharply under his leadership; If that’s largely a testament to the players who joined the club and/or came back to health so soon after he was hired, OK, OK, but it’s certainly also a testament to his qualities as a coach and captain. As for football itself, and particularly its aesthetic qualities, they remained pure, sweaty, mindless and one-dimensional dogs almost no time 19-year-old Pedri was off the field. What other big club has shamefully hid the ball on the touchlines than Barcelona, ​​or sent blind, weak crosses and lottery tickets hopelessly from outer space? To see Barcelona under Xavi, as it was during the reign of his doomed predecessor Ronald Koeman, you had to see…well, exactly what Barcelona is, now: a club he can’t afford. Both dignity And The stadium water bill, and I drew a red line across the former for the latter.

Even a little consolation that would justify itself with a difficult injury – Pedri, Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati and Serginho Dest are just some of the first players in the squad to have been seriously hamstrung during the season, and Ousmane Dembele wasn’t on the pitch until November – unavailable to Barcelona and their fans. A club of the size and prestige of Barcelona that has not spent or mismanaged its way into the depths of the dark inferno of debt, cannot be reduced to the purchase of Adama who frightens Traore due to Abdel Zalzouli’s struggle; He’ll never have to look for a temporary savior in 32-year-old Pierre Emerick getting upset with Aubameyang when he borrowed Luc de’s freaking mahjong didn’t fix everything. It’s a mess everywhere.

It could also be worse. The ugly work is done: finishing second in La Liga, which he won or perhaps despite all those shameful crosses, all that hidden slip on touchlines, secures participation in the Champions League next season. The present is, mercilessly, over, and so it’s possible that fans will be arguing about different paths to an imagined but plausible future that looks a lot brighter, rather than thinking about the end of the world. If the club sells Frenkie de Jong to buy a bunch of brand-name 35-year-olds who can’t get them out of the Champions League quarter-finals, I’ll jump my TV into a ravine.