Barça ate the grapes on the recent New Year’s Eve with dark clouds over the Camp Nou that had nothing to do with the then imminent storm Filomena, which has ended up affecting other areas of the Peninsula more. It was about the pessimism that returned to settle in the club after the draw at home against Eibar, Messi’s long Christmas holidays in Argentina and a terrifying schedule for a team that did not show signs of solidity: three trips in a week before the match. Spain Supercup. But when everything looked worse, Ronald Koeman and his players seem to have finally hit the mark. Three consecutive victories in Huesca (0-1), Bilbao (2-3) and Granada (0-4), growing in game and attitude.
And there are more and more leading players. From Messi, who in the blink of an eye has gone from a debatable performance to being Pichichi of the League with eleven goals, four in 2021, to Griezmann, who in Los Cármenes scored a double and gave an assist to the Argentine, passing through Frenkie de Jong, who finally looks like the player he promised so much when he came from Ajax, or Sergio Busquets, who in his 600th game at the club remembered the midfielder who marked the last decade in the world of football. Even Dembélé has been involved like never before until the injuries are respected. Not to mention the young Pedri, already consolidated, and Mingueza, a surprising substitute for Piqué guarantees that the Dutch coach pulled out of his sleeve taking a look at the subsidiary. The news in Granada was also to discover that Umtiti is willing to go back to being the one who was competing even with his battered knee.
Umtiti, by the way, entered the eleven at the last moment to replace Araujo, who felt some discomfort in his hamstrings that make him a serious doubt for the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup that Barça faces on Wednesday in Córdoba against Real Society. That day Lenglet will return, who on Saturday could not play due to suspension. The aforementioned Piqué, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Coutinho will be safe.
It is precisely now twelve months since the 2020 Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia that gave way to Barça’s horrible year, the worst of the century. That 2-3 loss to Atlético cost Ernesto Valverde his head in a hurry and in the next two days everything broke. Xavi Hernández did not accept the reins and the club turned unconvincedly to Quique Setién, who assumed a changing room divided between those who wanted to continue with Valverde and those who were calling Xavi to say yes. The rest is black history of Barcelona and who knows if this promising start to 2021 will change its color.