Araujo salvages point for Barca with 9/10 performance

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Ronald Araujo‘s 90th-minute goal rescued a point for Barcelona as they drew 1-1 with Granada in an entertaining LaLiga match at Camp Nou on Monday.

Araujo rose highest to connect with Gavi‘s cross and cancel out Domingos Duarte‘s second-minute opener, which had looked set to earn Granada their first win of the season. Barca remain unbeaten after four games in the league, but the draw will do little to ease the pressure on coach Ronald Koeman, whose future has been the focus of intense speculation since last week’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

Positives

Centre-back Araujo is one of the few people at the club to emerge with any sort of credit from Barca’s difficult start to the season. He’d already come close to scoring when he finally netted the equaliser. Minutes later, he was haring down the wing to set up another chance for the home side. Oh, and he can also defend a bit.

The assist for the leveller from 17-year-old midfielder Gavi also falls into the positive category.

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Negatives

Do Barca know what they’re doing? They change formation from game to game and have no real defined style of play. They ended the match with an emergency strike pairing of Luuk de Jong and Gerard Pique. Injuries have hit them hard in attack, admittedly, but is this the best they can muster?

That’s four points dropped already this season in four games, even if they do remain unbeaten. There was also more bad news on the injury front, with debutant Alejandro Balde taken off in the first half with a back problem.

Manager rating out of 10

4 — Koeman can’t be criticised for the starting XI. He made changes and gave chances to some of the younger players. However, he can be criticised for the tactics, and for how route one Barca became as they chased the game. It was chaos, which doesn’t reflect well on his planning.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 — Granada didn’t keep him busy after their early goal but he was good with his feet, starting attacks quickly when possible.

DF Sergino Dest, 6 — Improved when he moved to left-back after Balde’s injury. Had too many lapses in concentration when playing on the right side.

DF Ronald Araujo, 9 — Colossus for Barca at both ends. Granada goalkeeper Luis Maximiano made one stunning save from a header from the Uruguayan defender in the first half but could not keep out his equaliser.

DF Eric Garcia, 6 — An improvement on his recent performances, although that wasn’t too hard. Good with the ball but needs to get better defensively.

DF Alejandro Balde, 6 — The 18-year-old’s LaLiga debut ended after 40 minutes due to a back injury. Had done OK until then.

MF Sergio Busquets, 5 — Gave the ball away recklessly a couple of times but was never punished for his sloppiness.

MF Frenkie de Jong, 6 — Tried to drive Barca forward, running from deep and creating space. There’s only so much he can do on his own, though.

MF Sergi Roberto, 5 — Returned to a midfield role and hit the bar in the first half. Sacrificed at the break for Luuk de Jong.

FW Yusuf Demir, 6 — The 18-year-old Austrian had a few bright moments but also went missing for phases. Will improve with games.

FW Memphis Depay, 5 — Tried hard but very little came off for him. Regularly ran in to trouble and didn’t have any real chances.

FW Philippe Coutinho, 5 — The Brazilian played for an hour on his first start since last December. Those minutes were the best part of a low-key performance.

Substitutes

DF Oscar Mingueza, 6 — Never going to be the greatest going forward (he’s not bad, either) but offers more stability at the back than the other full-back options.

FW Luuk de Jong, 4 — Missed a glorious chance from two yards out, heading over when it looked easier to score. Looked afraid to get involved at times.

MF Gavi, 6 — Came on and put himself about again, setting up the equaliser. Only recently turned 17.

FW Gerard Pique, N/R — Yes, you read the position right. The defender came on as an emergency striker for the final 15 minutes.

MF Ricardo Puig, N/R — Given the final 15 minutes along with Pique. Wanted the ball but didn’t always keep it.



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