It took Barcelona a frustrating first half to finally score against Real Sociedad, paving the way for the 2-0 win in the first leg of their Copa Del Rey clash, but the same problems of a easily beaten defense and a slow and predictable attack showed up once more.
Real Sociedad were actually the more dangerous team in the first half despite not having any of the possession. Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann were too fast and too clever to let the empty spaces in the Barcelona defense confuse them. However, Pinto showed some impressive one on one skills, and helped his team survive their weakness to counter attacking.
On the offensive side, we hardly saw anything from Barcelona in the first half, with the ball movement being slow, the off the ball movement being non-existent and not one of the skill players including Lionel Messi being able to change things by beating someone in a one on one situation. Sergio Busquets was in the right place at the right time just before the half time whistle to give Barcelona a goal that completely changed the match in the second half.
The goals didn’t come pouring down. Barcelona scored after Alexis Sanchez hit the post and Real Sociedad made a mess of the clearance, with the ball hitting goalkeeper Eñaut Zubikarai who was left stunned without a chance to change the fate of that mistake.
Barcelona enjoyed a lot more open space from that moment, with Carlos Vela being taken off the pitch, which meant Sociedad gave up on trying to score and were focused on not losing by a bigger margin. Lionel Messi had his chances and so did Pedro and Cesc Fabregas, but it was a rough day for Barcelona in terms of finishing, something that should have been addressed this season and was actually going quite well while Messi wasn’t playing.
It’s hard to believe Barcelona mess up the second leg next week but this season is turning into slightly less predictable than some would think, which means that unless Messi starts hitting his known stride, there’s always a reason for Barcelona to worry about.