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Ineffective Luis Suarez emblematic of Barcelona's early struggles

The ESPN FC panel assess how Luis Suarez's absence with affect Barcelona's formation and tactics as La Liga commences.
The guys answer your tweets on Barcelona's needs and wants and if Ernesto Valverde is merely a placeholder coach.
A sensational strike from Marco Asensio and a fine volley from Karim Benzema capped off a 5-1 aggregate Super Cup win for Real Madrid.

Barcelona surrendered their two-year hold on the Spanish Super Cup after being outclassed by Real Madrid, the 2-0 defeat giving Zinedine Zidane's all-conquering side a resounding 5-1 aggregate win Wednesday.

Marco Asensio scored his second rocket against Barcelona in three days to open the scoring early on while Karim Benzema gave Madrid a deserved second goal before the break to cap an utterly dominant first-half display.

But what will worry Barca far more than losing the trophy is the manner in which their archrivals walked all over them in both legs, particularly here.

The Catalans were sluggish, unorganized and short on ideas, and could frequently be seen bickering between themselves as they tried helplessly to contain Madrid, who looked like strong favourites to retain the title on this showing.

Positives

The only thing to take encouragement from was that Barca had a go in the second half after such a demoralising first period, hitting the woodwork twice after the break even when they knew the tie was lost.

Negatives

The team lacked energy, but perhaps most worryingly, they were short on unity. Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez also ended the game with possible injuries, which is the last thing Barca need with the Liga campaign not even underway yet.

Real MadridReal Madrid
BarcelonaBarcelona
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Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 1
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Manager rating out of 10:

4 -- Ernesto Valverde switched his system from the first leg by adding two players in the middle and sacrificing Gerard Deulofeu, but the 3-5-2 formation did not work at all, as Lionel Messi looked isolated in attack and the midfield was overpowered by Madrid's despite the extra numbers.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 5 -- Caught out by Asensio's bolt from the blue with poor positioning. There was little he could do about Benzema's close-range strike and he reacted quickly later to deny the Frenchman at his near post.

DF Javier Mascherano, 6 -- One of the few players to offer leadership in the game and played some useful passes into attack as well as doing a better job than most of defending.

DF Gerard Pique, 6 -- Looked slightly off the pace, which may have had something to do with the discomfort that forced him to be substituted shortly after the break. Made a brave intervention to whisk the ball away from the head of Benzema.

DF Samuel Umtiti, 5 -- Had an on-and-off performance and will be disappointed with the ease with which Benzema escaped him for the second goal.

MF Sergi Roberto, 6 -- One of Barca's hardest workers and was high on energy but lacked the quality to make a difference when his side was so overrun by their opponents.

MF Ivan Rakitic, 6 -- Offered more than many of his teammates thanks to his energy but could not make a mark on the game.

MF Andre Gomes, 4 -- Was brought in to strengthen the midfield but barely had any impact and looked hopeless going forward, such as when he latched onto Messi's through ball in the box only to lose it immediately.

Suarez yells vs Real Madrid 170816
Luis Suarez was not his usual self against Real Madrid and may have picked up an injury in the loss.

MF Sergio Busquets, 5 -- Lacked his usual composure in passing and could do little to stem Madrid's dominance in midfield. Surrendered the ball on the edge of the area in build-up to Benzema's impressive strike.

MF Jordi Alba, 4 -- Looked thoroughly unsuited in the midfield five, repeatedly giving the ball away and failing to help drive the team forward. Offered far less going forward in this role than from left-back in the first leg.

FW Lionel Messi, 6 -- Tried to carry the team on his back and was Barca's only real threat but lacked sharpness in front of goal, not helped by an obvious lack of support. Unlucky not to score when he hammered the underside of the bar in the second half.

FW Luis Suarez, 4 -- Lacked his usual presence in the area and was rarely able to support Messi. His bad night was made worse by only managing to hit the near post with a diving header, while he finished the game limping around with a knee problem.

Substitutes

DF Nelson Semedo (for Pique), 5 -- Barely got involved in the 40 minutes he was on, partly due to an apparent reluctance from his teammates to pass to him, while he looked weak in defence.

FW Gerard Deulofeu (for Gomes), NR -- Offered more in the 19 minutes he was on the pitch than the hour he played in the first leg, giving Barca some much-needed pace on the counter, indicating he may prove more useful as a substitute than a starter.

DF Lucas Digne (for Alba), NR -- Couldn't improve an already lost cause.

Richard Martin covers FC Barcelona for ESPN FC. Twitter: @rich9908.

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