Messi rises from the bench, defensive nightmare and other 2 main talking points of the draw against Sevilla
Ernesto Valverde has a lot to think about
1. Messi rises from the bench
Valverde decided not to risk Messi and thought that his team could win in Seville without the No.10. The coach changed his mind, after Sevilla took Barcelona to pieces. On came Messi, entering the fray in the 58th minute. Instantly he had an impact, with a cross for Suarez hacked away by the desperate defence with the Uruguayan poised to strike. That was Sevilla’s warning, but they wasted various chances to stretch their lead before the dramatic finale, with Messi slamming home a last-gasp equaliser.
2. Still not beaten, somehow
Barcelona are closing in on La Liga’s unbeaten record of 38 consecutive games, set by Real Sociedad. Coming into this clash, they had 36 league matches without defeat and for all the world it seemed that was where their run would end. But Barcelona’s late comeback shows that they can never be counted out and if anything, despite this poor performance, are even more dangerous than first thought.
3. A defensive nightmare
When Sevilla scored their first goal, a confusion between Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Paulinho left nobody marking Franco Vazquez, who bundled an effort past the exposed Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Vazquez could not believe his luck and Valverde could not believe his eyes. It was amateur, schoolboy defending, and a sight we have become thoroughly unaccustomed to seeing this season in the heart of the Barcelona defence.
4. United blinding Umtiti
All the news in Barcelona this week has surrounded Samuel Umtiti’s contract talks with the club stalling and Man United interest. It could just be an unfortunate coincidence, but players are sensitive machines and the slightest change in their calibration can lead to different results on the pitch. Amid the noise in the media, Umtiti made one of the worst mistakes of his Barcelona career to let in Vazquez for the opening goal, before remonstrating with Pique in the aftermath.