- Newly-registered Raphinha, Lewandowski and Christensen started while De Jong came off the bench
- Xavi's side unable to break deadlock despite 68 per cent possession
- Busquets sent off for second yellow card deep in stoppage time
WHAT HAPPENED? The new era at Barcelona didn't get off to the start Xavi would have wanted. His players were unable to break down a resolute Rayo Vallecano who defended brilliantly throughout the 90 minutes. Sergio Busquets and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came closest to a breakthrough, but the former then didn't finish the match as he was sent off in stoppage time.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Given all Barcelona have been through in recent years, this was far from a disaster, however it was still somewhat deflating given the hype around the squad after the summer additions of Raphinha and Lewandowski, among others. It was clear that the new signings are not quite used to playing together as a unit, something they will hope to rectify in the coming weeks and months.
ALL EYES ON: Lewandowski was the man of the moment at Camp Nou but his La Liga debut was ultimately underwhelming. During the first half, he put the ball in the back of the net but was a couple of yards offside. There were, however, a few signs that it won't take him long to adapt to Spanish football, as his movement was positive.
THE MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:
DID YOU KNOW? Including the final two games of last season, Barcelona have failed to score in three consecutive La Liga matches for the first time in 19 years.
WHAT'S THE VIBE?
There was plenty of attention on one of the players who wasn't included in the starting XI...
Meanwhile in Barcelona... 😅 pic.twitter.com/8vayKo2hC7— GOAL (@goal) August 13, 2022
After 45 minutes, you wouldn't have necessarily known which team had spent all the money in the summer.
The mighty Rayo Vallecano who have spent €0 this summer are currently holding Barcelona 0-0 at half time at the Camp Nou— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) August 13, 2022
The highlight of a pretty drab first half was some spell-binding footwork from Pedri.
Xavi might have an embarrassment of riches at his disposal but his side didn't do enough on opening night.
This Barcelona squad is silly. Frenkie De Jong, Ansu Fati and Franck Kessie coming off the bench ffs. Aubameyang and Ferran Torres still available. Very silly.— Deji Faremi (@deejayfaremi) August 13, 2022
The late red card for Busquets summed up a frustrating evening for Barca at Camp Nou.
That sums up Barcelona’s night Sergio Busquets sent off for a second yellow card, just lost his head and elbowed Falcao. The frustration has boiled over for Barcelona this evening, very poor opening day performance especially in the final third.— Josh Bunting (@Buntingfootball) August 13, 2022
WHAT NEXT FOR BARCELONA? On the first weekend of the season, it is hardly catastrophic that Barcelona have only been able to draw with a well-drilled Rayo side. There will be plenty of improved performances when the new signings are allowed time to adjust to the club. Perhaps the right formula will emerge during a tough upcoming trip to face Real Sociedad.