Barcelona Player Assessments Against Girona: A Closer Look at the Title-Winning Defense’s Decline. Jules Kounde’s Performance Raises Concerns as Blaugrana Backline Falters in Catalan Derby.

Title-Winning Defense’s Decline

Player Evaluations for Barcelona vs Girona: Unraveling the Title-Winning Defense – Jules Kounde’s Struggles Highlight Backline Collapse in Catalan Derby.

Xavi’s team struggled defensively in their own territory, allowing their opponents to make a significant statement in the La Liga title race. Despite initial expectations that Girona would lose momentum after a promising start, they have continued to impress after 16 weeks in La Liga.

On this occasion, Barcelona fell victim to Girona’s prowess. The defensive performance was notably poor, with Jules Kounde being a key contributor to the disastrous showing. Girona exploited Barcelona’s backline, scoring four times to secure a convincing 4-2 victory.

Girona took the lead first, with Ivan Martin delivering a ball to Viktor Tsiganov, who set up Artem Dobvyk for a straightforward finish. Barcelona responded as Lewandowski headed Raphinha’s corner into the net.

Despite Barcelona’s improved assertiveness in the second half and numerous opportunities to equalize, they failed to find the net and remained vulnerable defensively. Girona capitalized on this vulnerability, with former Blaugrana youth product Valery Fernandez taking advantage of a Kounde mistake to score one-on-one. Although a late goal from Ilkay Gundogan briefly revived Barcelona’s hopes, another Girona effort ensured their return to the top of the league.

The match at the Olympic Stadium leaves Barcelona with much to contemplate. Here are the player ratings from GOAL.

Goalkeeper & Defence

Inaki Pena (4/10):

Unable to prevent any of the Girona goals, but did make a couple of decent stops.

Jules Kounde (3/10):

Struggled while deployed at right-back, failing to effectively handle Savio and neglecting to close down Gutierrez for Girona’s second goal. Missed a crucial tackle for the third. A forgettable performance.

Ronald Araujo (5/10):

Demonstrated strength in one-on-one duels, offering a lone positive in an otherwise mediocre display.

Andreas Christensen (4/10):

Failed to intercept the pass leading to Girona’s first goal. Did not complete the full 90 minutes and was substituted for a left-back.

Joao Cancelo (4/10):

Opted to take a shot instead of providing Lewandowski with an easy tap-in. Some loose distribution and an overall disappointing performance.


Ilkay Gundogan (6/10):

Scored Barcelona’s second goal and made positive contributions going forward. However, left a significant gap in central midfield at times, making things easier for the opposition.

Frenkie de Jong (6/10):

Defensively caught out on Girona’s opener, failing to cover the exploited space. Excellent on the ball nonetheless.

Pedri (7/10):

Generated numerous chances, found spaces in the final third, and was creative around the box. It seemed others were trying to deprive him of assists at times.

Joao Felix (4/10):

Ineffectual, lacking precision in passing and goal-scoring opportunities. A disappointing performance following last week’s standout display against Atletico Madrid.

Raphinha (4/10):

Managed to breach the defense on a few occasions but was wasteful each time. Sent a free-kick way over the target. A challenging day for the Brazilian.

Robert Lewandowski (4/10):

Scored with a well-taken header but was otherwise lackluster, missing a header and spending considerable time expressing dissatisfaction with teammates.

Subs & Manager

Alejandro Balde (4/10):

Deployed in central defense, where he appeared uncomfortable for unknown reasons.

Lamine Yamal (6/10):

A creative force in the late stages, providing an excellent ball for Lewandowski and causing difficulties for Daley Blind.

Ferran Torres (5/10):

Assisted Gundogan’s goal but had minimal involvement otherwise.

Fermin Lopez (N/A):

Insufficient time to make an impact.

Xavi (3/10):

Reverted to a 4-3-3 formation despite having more midfield options. Despite creating numerous chances, the team struggled to finish and was easily penetrated. Questionable changes, including introducing Alejandro Balde at center-back. Where has the title-winning defense disappeared to?

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