The Blaugrana played themselves back into the title race after back-to-back victories against Levante and Real Sociedad. That run has now come to an end following a 2-2 draw with Valencia on Saturday.
Barcelona’s biggest challenge this season has been their lack of consistency and their latest game emphasised on the fact that the club is yet to snap out of it.
Despite starting the game on a slow note and falling behind to a goal from Mouctar Diakhaby, Ronald Koeman’s side recovered superbly to take the lead. By the 52nd minute, they were ahead thanks to goals from Lionel Messi and youngster Ronald Araujo.
Barcelona's inconsistency rears its head again
But as has been the case so many times this season, Barcelona surrendered their lead with 20 minutes to go. Some sloppy defending at the back allowed Maximiliano Gomez to pull Valencia level.
Koeman tried to defend his players in the aftermath of the game, but words cannot paper over the cracks in this team. Their inconsistency is becoming a huge problem and may just derail their title ambitions.
"It was a difficult game. We fought back but have to be more focused," Koeman said, as quoted by Goal. "We had chances but weren't focused on some other actions, and the opponents defended well.
"We made more of an effort in the second half to win the game but didn't create as many chances as we wanted. It was an irregular game from us; we lost balls in areas that were dangerous," lamented the Barcelona boss.
"I don't think it was to do with an attitude problem. There was an irregularity to the whole game. We lost balls and doubted ourselves,” he concluded.
Last week’s win against Real Sociedad, coupled with Atletico Madrid’s defeat to Real Madrid, offered Barcelona a gateway into the title race.
Barcelona miss chance to close gap on league table
However, the team’s inconsistency has reared its head again and they have dropped important points once more. While the Blaugrana were playing out their draw with Valencia, Atletico Madrid were beating Elche 3-1.
Barcelona are currently fifth on the league table and eight points behind Atletico Madrid, who seem to have no problems with consistency at this point.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid will play against Eibar on Sunday – a game which Zinedine Zidane’s side is very likely to win.
And unless Barcelona can sort out their lack of consistency, they may just end up finishing below the two Madrid clubs.Published 21 Dec 2020, 00:50 IST