A depressing defeat in the season finale
Barcelona’s 2021-22 has come to an end on a bit of depressing note thanks to a 2-0 loss to Villarreal at Camp Nou in the season finale on Sunday night. The Blaugrana just went through the motions for the whole 90 minutes and conceded one bad goal in each half, and ended a rollercoaster campaign with a reminder that there’s still a lot of work to do for this club to return to glory.
Barça had nothing to play for and it clearly showed throughout the first half. The home team had most of the possession and never got out of third gear, creating a few good moments in attack but never truly troubling the Villarreal defense. The Blaugrana mostly went through the motions and Villarreal looked pretty content with a draw, and never took any risks going forward which led to a pretty boring start to the game.
Just as we were headed for a goalless first half, however, the Yellow Submarine took advantage of their only chance of the period to take the lead: Dani Parejo played a very nice through ball to Alfonso Pedraza who showed good composure in front of goal and put the away team ahead. Barça almost equalized immediately with a nice volley from Ferran Torres, but Gerónimo Rulli made a nice save and kept his team in front.
At halftime a pretty average Barça side were behind with 45 minutes to go, and the question was whether or not they would care enough to increase their intensity and fight for a comeback in the final period.
The second half followed the same script as the first as Barça had possession and did nothing with it, and Villarreal scored with their only chance: Adama Traoré ran back to intercept a pass from Manu Trigueros, but his poor attempted clearance ended up straight at the feet of Moi Gómez who was all alone at the penalty spot and fired home the second for the visitors.
There was more than a half-hour to go after Villarreal’s goal and Barça could have pushed for a comeback, but they never amped up the intensity enough to cause real trouble. They did score a goal when Frenkie De Jong headed home the rebound from an Ansu Fati shot, but Fati was offside and the goal was disallowed.
Neither team really went for it and just ran out the clock the dying moments, and the final whistle came to end Barça’s season in depressing fashion. After a quick trip to Australia for a friendly in Sydney on Wednesday, the real work begins ahead of next season and there are a lot of key decisions to be made before the next official match in late August.
Despite this result, though, the season has gone a lot better than it was with Ronald Koeman as the coach. Xavi has brought hope and good football, and next season could be a fun one.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves (Mingueza 81’), Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; F. De Jong, Busquets, Gavi (Puig 71’); Adama (Dembélé 57’), Aubameyang (Ansu Fati 57’), Ferran (Memphis 71’)
Villarreal: Rulli; Gaspar (Jackson 68’), Albiol, Torres, Pedraza (Peña 83’); Moi Gómez (Chukwueze 83’), Capoue, Parejo, Trigueros (Aurier 68’); Lo Celso, Alcácer (Estupiñán 68’)
Goals: Pedraza (41’), Moi Gómez (55’)