The pressure on Ronald Koeman intensified after his 10-man Barcelona side were held to a dire 0-0 draw by Cadiz at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla on Thursday.
Speculation about the Dutchman’s future has been rife following a slow start to the LaLiga campaign that had seen Barca drop points to Athletic Bilbao and Granada in their opening four games, while also losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Things did not get much better for the Catalan giants in Andalusia as Cadiz comfortably kept them at bay, with their misery compounded midway through the second half when Frenkie de Jong saw red for two bookable offences.
Koeman was also dismissed in the closing seconds for his protests during a frantic finish.
A point did at least move Barcelona up to seventh – seven points behind leaders Real Madrid, who have played a game more – while Cadiz climbed to 14th.
FT #CadizBarça 0-0
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) September 23, 2021
While Barca did most of the pressing in the early stages, they did not have a shot on target until the 30th minute, Memphis Depay’s weak effort comfortably saved by Jeremias Ledesma.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen pawed away Alvaro Negredo’s audacious 25-yard effort immediately after half-time, while Depay miskicked with the goal at his mercy at the other end.
Ledesma pushed away Depay’s drive from outside the penalty area, before Barca’s hopes of getting a positive result were dealt a blow in the 65th minute when De Jong received a second yellow card for following through on Alfonso Espino after initially winning the ball.
Salvi Sanchez squandered a glorious opportunity inside the final 10 minutes, firing against Ter Stegen after being played in by Espino, with the ball bouncing behind off Ruben Sobrino.
Depay then had an even better chance to steal all three points for the visitors deep into stoppage time, as the Netherlands international clipped narrowly wide after a marauding Gerard Pique carried Barca forward.
What does it mean? Koeman’s time could be up
Speaking ahead of the match, Barca president Joan Laporta insisted Koeman’s job did not depend on the outcome of the result, but he did warn that “if decisions have to be taken, we will take them”.
That decision may well be nearing after another woeful display from a Barca side desperately short of ideas, pace and attacking threat. Their task was made harder by the dismissal of De Jong, though they scarcely looked like scoring when they had their full complement of players.
Busquets quality still on show
While many at Barca are seemingly losing their heads, Sergio Busquets continues to be a reliably serene presence at the base of the midfield. The Spain international made more successful passes (77) than any player on the pitch, while he gained possession eight times – a total not bettered by any Barca player.
Demir fails to shine
Yusuf Demir struggled on just his second start for Barca. It was little surprise to see the 18-year-old brought off at half-time after an opening 45 minutes that did not herald a single shot or key pass.
Both sides are in action again on Sunday, with Barca hosting Levante at what could be a hostile Camp Nou and Cadiz travelling to Rayo Vallecano.
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