Barcelona secured an unconvincing victory in their final league fixture of the season against Eibar who are already relegated.
The title race was all over for Barcelona following their loss against Celta Vigo last weekend. Atletico Madrid were crowned champions of Spain for the first time since 2014 after they beat Real Valladolid on the final matchday by successfully completing a comeback. Barca’s win against Eibar has seen them finished third in the league with 79 points, five points below their arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Since the league was already out of Barca’s reach, Ronald Koeman decided to rotate his squad and provided chances to a few players who have struggled to receive game-time this season. The Dutchman handed Junior Firpo, Iliax Moriba and Fransisco Trincao rare starts and Ousmane Dembele was played as a centre-forward since Lionel Messi was given an early vacation.
The team lacked motivation and the spirit to fight for three points and somehow managed to seal a win after Antoine Griezmann scored the winner in the dying moments of the game. It was an unconvincing display from Barcelona against a weaker side that have already been relegated. Let’s have a look at some of the talking points from the fixture.
MESSI’S ABSENCE WAS FELT HEAVILY FOR BARCELONA
Lionel Messi was given an early holiday by Barcelona to prepare for the upcoming Copa America with Argentina. The Catalans were expected to steamroll past Eibar without Messi’s presence, however, they struggled right up until the 81st minute to create any clear cut chances before Antoine Griezmann found the back of the net.
Barcelona looked disorganised in attack and were unable to break Eibar’s low-block without their captain. The decision to provide Messi with an early rest backfired and it could have gotten worse as Eibar were on the brink of scoring a goal on a few occasions. Had Jose Luis Mendillibar’s side scored a goal, it would have ended in further embarrassment for Barcelona.
Barca struggle to perform without Lionel Messi in the team and his renewal this summer will be the club’s priority if they are to achieve any silverware next season after winning the Copa del Rey this year.