Four days on and we’re still trying to work out how Barcelona lost to Alaves.
The reigning Spanish champions came unstuck by newly-promoted Alaves at the Camp Nou. We hadn’t even heard of Barca’s conquerors before Saturday night.
Goals from Deyverson and Ibai Gomez were enough to continue Alaves’ remarkable, Leicester City-like start to the season. They opened up the campaign with a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid before earning another point at Sporting Gijon.
Luis Enrique’s decision to start Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta on the bench backfired drastically. The Barcelona boss had tonight’s Champions League contest against Celtic on his mind when selecting his starting XI but ultimately paid the price.
Barca now have to play catch up to Real Madrid, who welcomed back Cristiano Ronaldo in a storming 5-2 win against Osasuna to record a third-straight win.
Messi was introduced in the 60th minute after Jeremy Mathieu’s equaliser. It seemed a formality, thereafter, that Barcelona would cruise to victory.
But when Ibai restored Alaves’ lead four minutes after Messi’s arrival, Enrique turned to Suarez. Neither could get Barca back into the contest.
Footage of the pair sitting on the bench has surfaced. They look relaxed, initially, but when their teammates begin to struggle without them, the pair quickly become anxious.
Enrique took the blame
Enrique accepted responsibility for Barcelona’s shock defeat afterwards.
“I am the one ultimately responsible for all the bad things that happen," he admitted.
"Many of the changes came from the circumstances surrounding us, but we have 22 players and we are going to use everyone this season."
As well as benching Messi and Suarez, the Barca boss changed his entire back four and gave debuts to Jasper Cillessen and Paco Alcacer. No wonder we didn’t seen a coherent Barca team.
“We lacked fluidity, precision and we were fragile in defence, which is one of the things that normally makes us strong," Enrique added.
"The one positive is it is a time to reflect on what this team has won over the years. Everyone makes us favourites for everything, but it is not easy to win any game."