Five talking points from Barcelona’s 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid


Barcelona once again dropped points as visitors Atletico Madrid held them to a 2-2 draw. The night at the Camp Nou offered four penalties, a milestone reached, frustration, signs of hope and more.

Here are five talking points from the Blaugrana’s draw against Los Rojiblancos:

Barcelona drop points…again

Ahead of the derby, the home side had dropped two valuable points against Celta Vigo; title competitors Real Madrid capitalised on the occasion and went ahead with two points on top.

Barcelona’s players had one job: keep the margin to this extent. One that they failed to do as they managed to get only one point out of Atletico, giving Madrid the chance to increase the gap.

It seems as if the Catalan club failed to keep their title hopes alive as Real Madrid will face fifth placed Getafe on Thursday.

Moreover, rumours were sparked following the clash against Celta about an issue between assistant coach Eder Sarabia and captain Lionel Messi. Manager Quique Setien went on to assure that nothing happened between them, but it seems that the atmosphere in the locker room is not helping improve the situation.

Messi scores the 700th

Messi had a new haircut, almost as if he knew it was going to be a special night, he finally scored his 700th career goal with club and country. The Argentinian completed it with a swift Panenka penalty to put his side ahead for the second time on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old had been stuck at 699 goals for two weeks after being on a great run scoring two goals in two games following the league restart.

Messi found the net 22 times in 28 league games making him on top for the Golden Boot race, with Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema behind him at 17 goals.

The rise of Riqui Puig

With all the concern surrounding the Barca squad recently, there is one major silver lining in the performances of young academy player Riqui Puig. The 20-year-old got his first La Liga minutes as a substitute against Huesca in April 2019.

He came on in the 56th minute against Athletic Bilbao as a substitute just over a week ago. The talented midfielder was everything but shy, proving to add dynamicity and fluidity to the show.

That performance earned him a starting spot later against Celta Vigo, ahead of the game he even posted these words on social media: “We are Barca and we will leave our skins out there, let’s go!”

Despite the disappointing result then, Puig was only getting better and more comfortable in his role, like a duck who had returned to water.

He was in the starting line-up against Atletico as well, offered probably his best performance so far, making him one of three or four players who held up the team on a disastrous night.

Additionally, with Arthur moving to Juventus and Miralem Pjanic coming in instead, it is looking like the youngster will pose more competition than once expected towards the new midfielder.

Diego Costa’s catastrophic night

Diego Costa was one of the worst players on the night, if not the worst. He scored an own-goal to give Barcelona the lead in a terrible defensive attempt of a free-kick. The striker then had the chance to redeem himself when a penalty was awarded in his favour a few minutes later, only for him to poorly shoot it and the spot kick would be saved.

Thankfully for him, VAR ruled a replay of the penalty as the keeper’s feet were over the goal line.

Saul Niguez would go on to equalize, two times, a penalty was given in the second half as well and Costa was not the one behind it.

His last productive season was the 2016/17 campaign with English club Chelsea, which seems to be ages ago, and that is because it is. The Spaniard moved back to Atletico Madrid after a fall-out with then Blues’ manager Antonio Conte. Since then he has only nine league goals in almost three years.

Antoine Griezmann

At the moment, just his name is enough to know that whatever is going to be mentioned will not be related to a positive matter. Following a remarkable spell at Atletico Madrid and a World Cup triumph, the Frenchman looked to be at the peak of his career, Barcelona went all in and paid his €120 million buy-out clause to add him to the squad.

The 29-year-old was effective at the start, scoring three goals and providing two in his first five league outings.

However, it wasn’t long before the different environment got to him, Griezmann had a more flexible and central role with France and Atletico, his season’s heatmap shows that he has been predominantly on the left side, an area of the pitch he stuck to only when he was in Real Sociedad five seasons ago.

The forward was used to a team that moves around him but where he also has all the tools at his disposal to push the team forward. And in Barcelona, that description falls on another name: Lionel Messi.

Griezmann has eight goals and four assists so far this season, a disappointing number as he managed 15 last campaign while creating nine, almost the double.

He has been on the starting line-up only two times since the football resumption. This is understandable considering he has been one of the less effective players on the pitch for quite a period now.


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