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Feb 5, 2018


A late equaliser from Gerard Pique has helped FC Barcelona to continue their unbeaten run in the league. With this draw Valverde's Barca have created a new record for unbeaten run from start.


Gerard Pique scored the equalizer which helped FC Barcelona to maintain their unbeaten start to the league

Gerard Pique celebrating Scoring against Espanyol | Source : Barca vs Espanyol Match Pictures


A late equaliser from the 'Controversy Man' Gerard Pique gave Barca a much valued draw; which actually tasted like a victory considering the backdrop to the game and the conditions the team have to encounter. There was much at stake when we approached the end of the game - at danger was the record and the perfect start to the league which have made. FC Barcelona had already equaled the best start to a League season and this was a chance to create a new history; and that was under threat.


In a pitch which resembled a swimming pool at times, this game was completely poised against FC Barcelona. They could not play anything which resembles their style in this pitch and needed a 'Hero to Save the Day'. And in stepped Pique, who had been involved in every thing related to Espanyol recently, to save Barca's unbeaten run and silence the entire stadium.



Gerard Pique was center of everything in Barca vs Espanyol Match


From the beginning of the match, the entire focus was on Pique throughout the match. Pique obviously cannot claim innocence for what happened; as he himself have to blame for all the ruckus around him. His "Espanyol de Cornella" comment was unwarranted and by sticking to it he made sure he will be the focus of everything in last night. The amount of water on the pitch simply negated everything Barca did and as Valverde pointed out, the team had to adjust on the run. The pitch simply made a quick passing style impossible and the only outlet for goals were from crosses or set-pieces. Hence it wasn't much of a surprise that both goal came this way.


Taking into account our style, I think it was difficult for us to adapt. We were forced to play long and I think Espanyol took advantage of the conditions. Ernesto Valverde


Considering the importance of mid-week fixture and the heavy workload that was ahead of us; it was understandable Valverde's decision to rest Lionel Messi, Sergi Roberto and Alba in this match. The decision to rest both the full back may have made life difficult but we have the benefit of hindsight while judging him; which he never had while making this decision. The absence of the two full backs made that we never had serious impact from the wings and coupled to that the roaming role Coutinho had we struggled to impose ourselves in the first half. If Coutinho and Messi was having confusion with their role in previous matches; in this one he and Iniesta had problems! Iniesta was playing too deep and once he forcibly thrust him into the front we looked more dangerous.


Iniesta surrounded by Espanyol Players in 1-1 draw between FC Barcelona and Espanyol

The Wet Pitch Negated Barca's Style of Play

The impact of inability to impose ourselves and get a goal in first half became much more important once the condition deteriorated in the second half. The pitch was literally unplayable in the second half and any hopes of goals were from set pieces and aerial threats. In that front, Espanyol had an advantage over us and we saw the example of the same when in the 66th minute Moreno put Espanyol 1-0 up in the match.


I personally didn't have much hope after for an equalizer as I understood the conditions were all against us. If it was me then I would have called off the game as the ball was stopping in pools of water. FIFA may need to re-look it's own regulations regarding conditions like they did for Real Madrid some seasons back. Any hope for an equaliser where from either a Espanyol mistake or a set-pieces and it was the latter which provided us the vital goal. Espanyol had to take a bit of blame too as they unnecessarily conceded a free kick with a foul on Messi. Messi cross was inch perfect for Pique who met the delivery ahead of the Espanyol defenders and rushed to sent a message to Espanyol fans with his celebration.


This draw technically tastes like victory as it came against Derby rivals. In last few weeks the atmosphere between the two clubs have become so polluted that it was unthinkable of Barca losing the unbeaten run to them. Instead once again Barca's grit, which was shown once again this season prevailed and we secured vital point. We still maintain a size able nine point lead in the league with Atletico Madrid behind. But this match was not about the lead it was all about the unbeaten run and we still continue!

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