Quique Setien's Barcelona lost their first game. Barcelona in general this season have been exceedingly poor, with 43 points from 21 matches. The worst tally snce 2006, conceding 25 goals, the worst at this stage since 2004.
The truth is that Setien has met on a very similar system for his first two league games, prizing ideology over everything else, and he came up against reality. The first is that Barcelona don't have the squad to do what Setien wants. In a system with three centre-backs it's suicide to play with Sergi Roberto as one of them. The midfield of Busquets, Arthur and De Jong didn't find any soluctions and up front Messi is alone as he was with Valverde, but without a No 9 to give him oxygen.
Setien lost an hour of the game yesterday until he introduced Arturo Vidal, who activated the team and was the only player who could connect with Messi. An 'impure' player like Vidal was precisely the man to bring closer to their style.
Before Arturo, Barcelona played basketball. After he came on, at least they played some football. But it was already too late, the team sunken by defensive errors, victim of a disconcerted defence with Umtiti insecure and Lenglet dropped without knowing why. It's obligatory to be patient with Setien and it would be unjust to blame him for a lot of the problems that have been there for a while. Some even predating Valverde.
However giving time to Setien is not incompatible with warning him that he read the game badly yesterday and must quickly learn to overcome his errors if he doesn't want the monster called Barcelona to devour him.
This debacle should acclerate the signing of a No 9. Barcelona need a replacement for Luis Suarez, although after spending 120m euros on Antoine Griezmann and telling Carles Perez he's not needed is less explicable.