Lion’s share of possession and narrow victory for Setién in Barça debut

Barcelona enjoyed more possession of the ball only twice during Pep Guardiola’s time as coach

FC Barcelona manager Quique Setién smiles during a press conference (by REUTERS/Albert Gea)
FC Barcelona manager Quique Setién smiles during a press conference (by REUTERS/Albert Gea) / Cillian Shields

Cillian Shields | Barcelona

January 20, 2020 12:53 PM

With 82.6% possession (Opta), Barcelona beat Granada in Quique Setién’s first game in charge of the Catalan club, thanks to a solitary strike from Lionel Messi. Youngster Riqui Puig was given 20 minutes of action in the opening encounter of the new era at Camp Nou, and rewarded his new coach’s confidence in him with a good pass in the build up to the goal scored just minutes after his introduction. 

The amount of possession enjoyed by the blaugrana against Granada was surpassed by a Pep Guardiola Barça team on only two occasions during his tenure between 2008-2012. 

Despite enjoying the lion’s share of the ball, culé fans will be concerned with how few clear cut opportunities their team were able to create, indicating that while Setién’s side can keep hold of the ball, the players will still need more time to fully take their new manager’s ideas on board. 

Resurgent Espanyol back to winning ways

Abelardo’s Espanyol have picked up three vital points away to a Villarreal side chasing a European spot, thanks to a goal from new record signing Raúl de Tomás. David López’s second goal in as many games gave the blue-and-whites the perfect start to the game, putting the visitors ahead just five minutes into the match. 

With goals coming in the opening minutes of either half, it’s evident the new manager has his charges well motivated, as Espanyol flew out of the traps with intensity and purpose. The Catalans delighted their more than 3,000 travelling fans present in the Estadio de la Cerámica with an impressive 1-2 win.

The victory still leaves the Pericos bottom of the table, but are now level on points with Leganés and just four points away from safety, with good momentum behind them with three games unbeaten under new boss Abelardo Fernández.

Badalona look for more Copa del Rey magic

The Copa del Rey returns this week with three Catalan teams in action. Badalona, fresh from their famous victory over Getafe, will hope to claim their second Primera División scalp when Granada come to town on Wednesday evening. 

Elsewhere, Barcelona travel to third-tier side Ibiza, while Espanyol travel to San Sebastian to take on Real Sociedad. 

17-match winning stream for Barça Femení 

Barça Femení are now on a 17-match winning streak after beating Rayo Vallecano 3-1 on Saturday, thanks to a brace from Jennifer Hermoso and one strike from Patricia Guijarro. The Catalans are now nine points clear at the top of the table, and look on course to pick up their record-equalling 5th league title, and first since 2014/15. 

Espanyol remain bottom of the table, but enjoyed a 1-1 draw away to Valencia to win their 4th point of the season. 

Barcelona back level at top of basketball table 

Barcelona are neck-and-neck once again with Real Madrid at the top of the Liga ACB national basketball table, both with 14 wins and 4 losses so far this season. Nikola Mirotić led the Barça team for rebounds (7) and points (17) in their 90-94 win over Fuenlabrada.

Elsewhere, Manresa and Joventut de Badalona both lost their games, to Bilbao Basket and Burgos respectively. Both Catalan teams now sit on 8-10 records in the lower half of the table.