Ansu Fati is earning Messi's number 10 shirt at Barcelona
Another Barcelona goal, and another for Ansu Fati. The gift this lad has for scoring goals is striking and the number 10 shirt inherited from Leo Messi does not weigh heavily on his back. Neither have his long injury layoff of the institutional chaos at the club during his enforced absence. At the end of the Champions League game against Dynamo Kiev he spoke to the cameras with the same clear serenity with which he plays and finds the net. His goal in Kiev has altered the dynamic of the group. Ansu has only scored twice in four games, both against Dynamo, but those goals have reaped six points that have swung momentum in Barça’s direction. Now, they depend on themselves. The visit of Benfica, who are on four points, on 23 November will of course be crucial. After that comes an unstoppable Bayern Munich.
Barcelona have got their heads above water and have finally got Ousmane Dembélé back. He may be a bit unruly but he brings a breath of fresh air, particularly in view of his pace. Good news for Barça’s attack, which has been extremely light over the past two months. But there is also less encouraging news: the losses of possession in midfield, the errors at the back… Dynamo are not the force they once were and they didn’t take their chances in either game, but they created enough of them. Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to be at his best and Illya Zabarnyi missed a golden opportunity to equalize at the death when he met a corner unmarked but failed to hit the target, a moment that will have made Sergi Barjuan’s hair stand on end.
Barjuan handling Barcelona interim role with aplomb
The calm composure of Barjuan’s interim tenure has also caught my attention. Everybody is waiting to see what Xavi decides to do, but in the meantime the games have to be contested and this task has fallen to a man who is well aware he is playing the role of someone who has been asked to hold somebody else's coat for a minute. It is not a comfortable position to be in but he is wearing it with professional dignity. And we will see how long he remains because Joan Laporta appears reluctant to fly to Qatar to ask that Xavi be released from duties at Al Sadd. It seems, once again, that the Barça president is not as convinced about Xavi as many of his colleagues are, or at least not to the point that he will put himself out to perform this courtesy call.
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