3 Things We Learned: Real Betis vs FC Barcelona

The Catalans managed to salvage a point against a Real Betis side that dominated the majority of the match.

Energy levels

The little amount of time between the midweek match and this game was definitely a factor in the result. Barcelona had around sixty hours to recover for this match whereas Betis had a full week. Unfortunately, this is the problem with playing in three competitions at the same time, it inevitably causes fixture congestion. Betis profited purely through the fact that they only have the league to consider. This allowed them to play a high-energy intense pressing style throughout the match, which Barcelona struggled to deal with. It was a smart game plan to have considering the differences in recovery time because Betis’ manager Víctor Sánchez could have easily decided to play deep and rely on the counter-attack, which is always tempting for the less technically adept team, but that would have played into Barça’s hands.

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One point gained or two points dropped?

This was two points gained considering the context of the match. However, in terms of the overall league season it could definitely be considered as two points dropped. Sevilla lost 3-1 to Espanyol, so the Catalans gained a point on them which meant they went above them in the table. Unfortunately, Real won 3-0 against Real Sociedad, so they are now four points in front with a game in hand. Games like these are ones that Barcelona should be winning when you consider the gulf in quality between the two teams.

Challenging on three fronts is a priority, though, so the midweek games in the Copa del Rey should be prioritised to some extent as well as the Champions League games when they make an appearance in February. Therefore, the poor quality of the performance means that this was one point gained especially considering Barcelona’s equaliser was in the ninetieth minute.

Barcelona’s Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (R) celebrates a goal with Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) during the Spanish league football match Real Betis vs FC Barcelona at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Sevilla on January 29, 2017. / AFP / CRISTINA QUICLER (Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)

Refereeing decisions

Another important theme which unfortunately affected the match, and seems to be a recurring feature this season is the poor standard of refereeing. Barcelona were outplayed for the first seventy-five minutes. However, they dominated after that and should have had another goal. If not a goal, then at least a penalty. This didn’t happen, though, because the officials failed to see the defender pull down Neymar, and that Jordi Alba’s shot easily crossed the line before it was cleared by the defender. There was also a couple of poor offside decisions from the linesmen which affected Barcelona.

So far this season, wrong decisions by the officials have hampered them significantly, and few have gone their way. On top of this, they can now add the lack of goal-line technology as another factor which has hampered them. Issues like this shouldn’t have to be mentioned, but when they are affecting the result, they are at the forefront, unfortunately.