It was a dramatic match with many different ingredients to analyse. We saw the best version of Barça against Villarreal and then last night, versus Espanyol, another of those rigid performances we've become accustomed to from this side. Slow and predictable. The team reaches the opposition's penalty area but is unable to break down an organised defence set up to frustrate.
I know that it's very difficult to attack and overcome a team which has 10 men behind the ball but I suppose Espanyol were looking to block, defend and then try to attack on the counter. This was their gameplan and it showed but we still don't know what Barça's plan was to counteract that. In fact, the two clearest chances of the match fell to Espanyol.
Plodding attacks with too many passes against a rival who were well-positioned. The defensive steel of Espanyol didn't resemble that of a side who are bottom of the league. Many sides further up the table have been rolled over by Barça, at the Camp Nou, this season.
We saw this type of display against Villarreal.
The sending offs at the start of the second half were key to how the game played out. Curiously, it benefitted Barça more because with Espanyol having one less player in defence, it created more spaces to attack.
Espanyol wanted to attack but couldn't whilst Barça, tired, didn't want to take risks and kept hold of the ball as the minutes passed by. This tiredness created boring, rigid football that no one wants to see. A lot of people must be wishing for this season to end.