Barcelona vs Real Madrid: match summary
Real Madrid moved to the top of the Liga table – pending the result of the match between Atlético and Real Sociedad – with a 2-1 Clásico victory that put a two-game haul of just one point for Carlo Ancelotti’s side firmly in the rear-view mirror and left Ronald Koeman with more question marks than the Dutchman needs with his side languishing in eighth having scored only one more goal than Osasuna and the same number as Rayo.
Barça’s lack of an attacking focal point, at least until Kun Agüero gets fully up to speed, was again the difference between a positive or a negative result with Barça creating plenty of chances but lacking someone with that innate instinct for the back of the net that Messi, Griezmann, Luis Suárez et al previously supplied. What does seem clear is that unfortunate Luuk de Jong is not the answer, the Dutchman getting five minutes at the end of the game instead of a chance to get on the end of some of the crosses sent in by Jordi Alba and Sergiño Dest, whose primary target in Barça’s current state seems to be Gerard Piqué.
Not that Madrid were considerably more threatening. David Alaba’s wonder goal broke the deadlock and Lucas Vázquez added the second with a minute to play and Barcelona’s defence camped in the Madrid penalty area. The visitors managed five shots on target overall and on another day Karim Benzema or Vinicius might have embellished the scoreline but it will not sit well with Barça fans that Espanyol were able to ruthlessly expose Madrid’s shortcomings three weeks ago while their side could not.
There is little for the Camp Nou to get too excited about either, at least until January and a potential dip into the bargain end of the market. It will not be until the summer that Koeman can expect a serious overhaul, always assuming the Dutchman is still in charge then. In the meantime, the likes of Gavi, Pedri and Ansu Fati will continue to provide hope for the future while the return to full fitness of Agüero – who provided the consolation – and the recovery of Ousmane Dembélé will go some way to performing the task Messi was credited by Koeman as fulfilling shortly after the Argentinean left: papering over the cracks.