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Barcelona B struggling for victories? No need to panic!

After three matches, Barcelona B seemed to have picked up where they left off last season: struggling for victories. Two one-goal losses to UE Cornellà and RCD Espanyol B and a scoreless draw with Pobla de Mafumet leave Barcelona's premiere youth team with one point through three matches in the Segunda División - Group 3.

Needless to say, Barcelona B has fallen into a rut and the pipeline from La Masia to the first team appears broken.

The fact that La Masia's current squad looks similar to the one that was relegated last campaign should come as no surprise due to the transfer ban and the annual promotions from within. There are new players that have arrived from the younger squads, but Barcelona has been unable to sign an older player with experience, as they did with Jonathan Soriano and Nolito in the past. 

Sergi Samper, Álex Grimaldo and Jean Marie Dongou return as the core of the team, with Juan Cámara, Jose Suárez, David Babunski and Gerard Gumbau joining Sergi Samper and Grimaldo on Barcelona's Champions League roster. 

As Arsenal came calling for Samper over the summer, there were arguments being made for Samper and Grimaldo to head out on loan for first team minutes, but one could guess that the lack of first team reinforcements will keep the young and promising pair in Catalonia at least until January.

In the past few seasons, Barcelona’s increased use of a contract clause stating that a player be promoted to the first team at a certain time, has definitely aided in the depletion of talent in the B team. Antonio Sanabria was the most contentious example of this trend. 

Even this season, Adama was sold to Aston Villa and Alen Halilović sent out on loan to Sporting de Gijón after they were contractually promoted to the first team. Each player is different and any player aged 19 to 22 is at a crucial place in their development. Some players prosper in first team opportunities with smaller clubs, and some players need some extra time for their physique and mental game to catch up to their skillful potential, so an extra season in a lower division certainly does these up and coming Blaugranas some good.

Still, three lukewarm matches are not enough to panic. With the likes of Samper and company, along with new starlets Maxi Rolón and Aitor Cantalapiedra, Barcelona B will still be expected to make a return to the Segunda División. 

Once again, an Under-19 side will take part in the UEFA Youth League, which is the same competition where Munir's star first shone bright. 

Gerard López has a tall task ahead of him to have his unit compete and succeed on multiple fronts, but more importantly, the continued development of potential future stars remains the main objective. With the talent of these La Masia products, fans can expect an eventual turn in results. The starlets may only need to last until January when the transfer ban ends and reinforcements could arrive.

Barcelona are serious about young talent reaching the first team. With that in mind, all Cules can do is trust newly-arrived manager Gerard to ensure his Barca B youngsters are nurtured but also pushed both physically and mentally.

By Dan Hilton, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter @HiltonD13.


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