Barcelona ran out of the league’s wild cards. Surprisingly defeated by Granada, this Sunday’s duel at the Mestalla against Valencia acquires the consideration of “crucial” in the words of his own Ronald Koeman and more considering the victories of Atlético and Real Madrid, which mean that any result that was not a victory would leave him little less than discarded from the fight for the title.
As the Dutchman ventured, victories will be suffered without remedy. Atlético saved theirs in added time thanks to the penalty that Elche missed and it took Madrid 76 minutes to break the Osasuna wall in Valdebebas to add the three points. Missing, this Sunday, the Barça response. With or without suffering, but, in a non-negotiable way. Win or win.
However, the Barça coach reduced the drama of Barça’s situation and warned: “if we win the remaining five games we will be champions”, but the feeling floats in the atmosphere that last Thursday’s defeat leaves the team hanging from almost a miracle , pending more than ever of Real Madrid and with no other option but to add three by three … And wait for a merengue stumble, from where, curiously, the Catalans will be ‘encouraged’ next weekend in their duel against Atlético .
Barcelona have accumulated three seasons without winning at the Mestalla, where they have only done so in three of their last ten league visits and last season they conceded a painful 2-0 which, in what was the second match of Quique Setién’s tournament on the bench, He has already begun to signal the Cantabrian coach.
It will be Koeman’s first visit to Mestalla since he directed Valencia for six explosive months until his dismissal in April 2008, five days after winning the Copa del Rey and executed by his own footballers in a climate of stark civil war in that locker room. . And, curiously, in the three games he faced, twice before with Ajax and in the first round with Barça, there were as many draws that if they were repeated this Sunday it would cause little less than an early dismissal in the league aspirations of the group. blaugrana.
A week before receiving Atlético at the Camp Nou in which the definitive confrontation is already presumed, there is an indisputable test at the Mestalla, understanding that the Barça coach will not reserve anyone, no matter how many threats of suspension there are among his men. Messi, De Jong, Griezmann and Mingueza come threatened to a meeting that Koeman himself will not be able to direct from the bench after his expulsion against Granada and that he raised, he himself warned in first person, with the only idea of winning so that the Barça stay alive.
“If we win all five games, I’m sure we will be champions,” the coach dared to predict. This Sunday at the Mestalla, and against a Valencia that a defeat would dangerously approach the relegation places, he has the first test. That ventures, in fact, decisive in your options.