Results Of Barcelona Vs. Rayo Vallecano: Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha Fail To Score In 0-0 La Liga Opener

Results Of Barcelona Vs. Rayo Vallecano: Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha Fail To Score In 0-0 La Liga Opener

After all the financial levers pulled, budgetary gymnastics performed, and the sale of the media properties, FC Barcelona could not do better than a 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano in the opening game of the 2022/23 La Liga season at the Camp Nou.

A total of four of the club’s five new signings have only been registered and may only be available for selection as of the 24 hours before the season opener because of the financial challenges the club has been dealing with this summer.

Even with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Andreas Christensen, and Franck Kessie on the pitch, they were unable to find a way to break through the defense.

Since the start of last season, Barcelona has not been able to score in any of the three consecutive matches against Rayo.

As a matter of fact, Rayo not only frustrated Barca but they also had the best scoring chances in the game. The Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen made a big stop on a point-blank shot in the first half, and Rayo thought they had the winning goal at the death, but Radamel Falcao was offside earlier in the play when he attempted to score.

The goal was one of three that were scratched because of offside.

There was no doubt that Lewandowski was the prize catch of the summer for Barcelona, and he was supposed to assist them in settling matches like these against opponents who are only interested in defending and counterattacking.

Results Of Barcelona Vs. Rayo Vallecano: Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha Fail To Score In 0-0 La Liga Opener

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However, the Polish international did not get many clear looks at the ball. There was also no penalty call for him when he was manhandled on a first-half set piece right under the nose of the referee during a first-half set piece.

There were a few more opportunities he had in the second half, but he wasn’t able to take advantage of them.

In a season where his goal is to mount a title challenge to unseat current champions Real Madrid, losing points at home is not the kind of way Xavi Hernandez was hoping to start a season.

The challenges and the absence of a solution felt a lot like last season all over again in many ways. Adding insult to injury, Sergio Busquets was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card after a high arm in the face of Rayo Falcao during the game.

In their next match against a Real Sociedad team who finished sixth in last season’s La Liga standings, Barcelona will not have it any easier as they will have to travel to face a team that finished in sixth place last year.

Why did Barcelona fail?

Barcelona was able to get their wingers involved from the very start, and that was by design: They were supposed to be the ones who created opportunities for Lewandowski to take advantage of.

Rafinha and Ousmane Dembele, however, weren’t nearly as effective during the preseason as they were during stretches during the regular season.

I think Barcelona needed more improvisation, more creativity, and more sharpness from the two of them.

It is true that Rayo’s low defensive block played a role in this game, but the wingers’ movements were typically deliberate, meandering, and conservative at times, and their passing was either predictable, inaccurate, or lacking in creativity. They had a hard time finding Lewandowski as well.

As a result, it did not help that Xavi started Raphinha on the right side of the field and Dembele on the left side of the field for the first 30 minutes of the match.

Dembele was visibly more comfortable and engaged in the game when they switched flanks to their more natural positions.

There is no longer a Lewandowski in the Bundesliga

The reigning FIFA player of the year will need to make some adjustments to his game in Spain, where the tactical set-up of opponents creates different challenges as far as his game is concerned.

In spite of Bayern Munich’s superiority in Germany, Bayern Munich had a bit more space to play in, and the defending around Lewandowski was not quite as tight as some of the defending he encountered against Rayo.

It was common for crosses into the box to reach Lewandowski in Germany, but it proved to be a real slog against Rayo. There were stretches of the game when you forgot he was playing at all.

I am sure that there will be plenty more of these matches on the calendar in the future.

Despite his class on a goal, he scored with a delightful chip over the ‘keeper, Lewandowski was not onside on the pass into him that led to the goal.

For the rest of the 90 minutes, it was a bit of a tough slog. As soon as the first half ended, he tried to make the most of a poor cross from Raphinha, and then he had a chance to be the hero with six minutes left, but he was unable to twist his body quickly enough to take advantage of a rebound allowed by Rayo’s keeper.

Barcelona can benefit from Frenkie de Jong

With a do-it-all style of play, the Dutch midfielder gave Barcelona a boost when he came off the bench to play midfield.

It was evident that he had clear ideas and good touches in and around the box, which was what Barcelona lacked throughout the match.

I think he would have been a better option than Gavi, who struggled to make an impact on the match, in hindsight.

There is a possibility that De Jong’s impact on the game could give Barcelona pause when it comes to his plans for him during the final two weeks of the summer transfer window.

He is a rare talent that fits the Barcelona system and there are several teams that are interested in acquiring him.

There is a possibility that Barcelona will regret letting him go, though the financial situation might be what guides the final decision.