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2020/2021 Season of FC Barcelona under Ronald Koeman - by Rudra Trivedi

Ronald Koeman arrived at Barcelona when Barcelona suffered 8-2 thumping against Bayern Munchen in the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League. Koeman left his Netherlands National team job when he was offered a 2-Year contract at FC Barcelona. His main aim was to revolutionize FC Barcelona in order to again compete at the top level. He decided to sell some players who weren’t at their best and were getting old. FC Barcelona sold Arturo Vidal to Inter, Rafinha to PSG, Nelson Semedo to

Wolverhampton and most importantly sold Luis Suarez to their direct rivals ‘Atletico Madrid’. Koeman was given a few young player signings such as Sergino Dest from Ajax, Pedri from Las Palmas, Trincao from FC Braga. Koeman also called up Oscar Mingueza and Ilaix Moriba from La Masia.

Koeman had a decent and young squad to manage and also convince Leo Messi to renew his contract as Messi was frustrated was about the leave the club. Messi had no option but to stay at Barcelona as his clause in the contract to leave for free was expired. Koeman started his season with 4-0 win over Villareal with Ansu Fati and Messi on the scoresheet. After one more win against Celta Vigo, Barcelona suddenly started to drop points against Sevilla, Getafe, Real Madrid and Deportivo Alaves. Few days later Ansu Fati suffered a major Meniscus injury which ruled him out for the likely the whole season. Just after that Barcelona lost to Atletico Madrid away at Wanda Metropolitano. It was clear that Koeman faced difficulties to have a proper formation to play with. He tried different formations like 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1 but none of them provided good results. Barcelona suffered as they dropped to 13th place on the table which was the worst start for Barcelona in many years. Clearly the team was unstable and the defense was exposed. Barcelona lost to Athletic Club 3-2 in the Spanish Super Cup Finals. After some Tactical Changes in the squad with using 3-5-2 formation, Barcelona went on 19 games winning streak in La Liga as the continued to advance in La Liga and also Copa Del Rey. After that, Barcelona faced Sevilla in the First Leg of Semi-Finals of the Copa Del Rey which they lost 2-0 away at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. In the Second Leg, Barcelona pulled of a magical Remontada against Sevilla thrashing them 3-0 to advance to the finals of Copa Del Rey against Athletic Club.

Koeman had revolutionized Barca with the likes of young players like Pedri, De Jong, Oscar Mingueza, Sergino Dest as their performances helped Barcelona’s aim to win La Liga as Atletico Madrid started to drop points swiftly after a 13-point lead on the top of the table. Barcelona had a 2-point lead over Real Madrid as Barcelona cherished the 2nd spot on the table. Just then, Barcelona lost to Real Madrid 2-1 which threw away the lead and made Madrid and Barcelona look leveled with still Atletico Madrid cruising the Top Spot in La Liga. Next match was against Athletic Club in the Copa De Rey Finals where, Barcelona won 4-0 winning their first Domestic Cup of the season. The team looked in great shape and still were in contention to win the La Liga. Just before the Match against Granada, they had a 2-point lead over Real Madrid. Barcelona lost to Granada 1-2 at home which led to their downfall in La Liga. After that a Tsunami of poor Performances started as Barcelona drew to Atletico Madrid, Levante and lost to Celta Vigo which completely shattered Barca’s chances to win the La Liga. After a win against Eibar in the last match of the season finishing 3rd in La Liga with 5-points behind Real Madrid and 7-points behind Atletico. Atletico clinched their 11th La Liga Title and First in 7 years.

In the Champions League, Barcelona finished 2nd in the group stages behind Juventus. Barcelona faced PSG in the Round of 16 of UCL. Barcelona lost 1-4 at home in the first leg to PSG as Mbappe’s hattrick and Kean’s goal led PSG to take 3 goal advantage at their home. In the Second Leg Barcelona, drew to PSG 1-1 away at Parc Des Princes as PSG defeated Barcelona 5-2 on aggregate advancing to the Quarter-Finals of the UCL.

OverallOverall Barcelona had a decent season after emergence of young players like Pedri, Dest, Mingueza, Araujo, De Jong and Moriba. Koeman did a decent job with Barcelona after what happened against Bayern last season. Koeman has experienced a lot of hate among the Cules which is normal when one manages a huge club like Barcelona. Koeman was unhappy towards the hate and claimed he didn’t deserve the hate which is quite obvious. Koeman’s future at Barcelona is still a question mark as President Juan Laporta is still has not announced anything. Xavi is rumored to manage Barcelona which is still looking unlikely. It seems Messi is going to stay at Barcelona and is Looking forward to the next Season. Juan Laporta is looking forward to make huge changes before next season which is called to be “The New Cycle of FC Barcelona’.

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