A draw and a defeat for Barcelona and the press have gone all 'Corporal Jones' on our collective behinds. AS and Marca had the chance to turn the tables after Real Madrid's loss to Sevilla provided the earliest signs of a stumble the previous week, but at this early stage in the season Sport and El Mundo Deportivo are resisting knee-jerk sacking campaigning. "What are Barça missing?" was the closest the former got to fingerpointing on Wednesday morning, following an embarrassing defeat to Rubin Kazhan in the Camp Nou.
Whether it be complacency, underestimating their opponent or tiredness after an international week in which most of the squad were in action, Barça failed to convince against Valencia in the first signs that it was to be a difficult week.Ibrahimovic failed to score against big opposition on a second attempt (see Internazionale in the Champions League for his previous duck this season) whilst Saturday night was alright for fighting for everything except possession. Valencia dominated the first half and the general consensus was that, with more clinical finishing, they would have dealt Barça their first defeat of the season.
The Rubin Kazhan game stunned the Camp Nou, but in all honesty it was a freak result that can be easily avenged. Don't think for one second that a repeat will be on the cards in the away fixture, Had two shots that hit the post received a more generous rebound then the game would probably occupy little more than a sentence in the worldwide sporting press.
Dani Alves is reported to be out for three weeks through injury, and he should feel at home in the lying down position favoured for his recovery. The Brazilian will undergo scans on his right leg today, and is sure to dive into the medical room if his performances on the pitch in recent weeks are anything to go by. Has there ever been a player to don the Blaugrana who has a closer talent-gamesmanship ratio?