No Messi, no problem for Barcelona

The narrative for the final game of the season was already written… wasn’t it?

Well, not quite.

Yes, Eibar have still never beaten Barcelona, but they were good value for at least a point against a disjointed and lacklustre side that already looked as though they were on their summer holidays.

Lionel Messi and Pedri, probably Barca’s two best performers throughout the 2020/21 campaign, were both given the day off, and though the Catalans certainly missed their incisiveness and industry, they never looked in trouble at Ipurua.Eibar huffed and puffed against Ronald Koeman’s side but never did enough to work Neto in the Barca goal.

Despite the visitors dominating possession for long periods, they too were finding it hard to break down a dogged defence, and the winner, when it eventually arrived, was one of the goals of the season.

Once the ball reached Antoine Griezmann at the back post late on, there really wasn’t any other option for him that to take a shot at goal.

His acrobatic mid-air half-volley was certainly one for the cameras, but it was a spectacular finish worthy of winning any match.

A couple of scares late on didn’t take the shine off of another three points, though the general manner of victory followed the pattern of the last few weeks.

On this form, one has to wonder how Ronald Koeman survives the summer, even though for many the decision to get rid of him, given the backdrop to his season, is the wrong one.

Whilst it’s true that he has led the Catalans out of one of the worst periods in their recent history whilst also promoting youth and going on an epic unbeaten run which gave them a genuine belief that they could win the title, when it really mattered, he wasn’t able to inspire his side to victory.

In fact, in virtually every big game during the season, Koeman fell short.

His earliest decision as Barcelona manager also came back to haunt him. Luis Suarez was dispensed with before the start of the campaign with the suggestion being that Koeman didn’t rate the player’s ability.

Twenty-one goals later including the winners in the final two matches to ensure Atletico Madrid were champions was the best way for the Uruguayan to answer him and the rest of his critics.

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