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Barcelona must grab unique chance of historical season



Barcelona have gone uphill ever since the turn of the new year. A rather mild start to the season has been followed by some blistering performances by the Blaugrana which has set them on course for an unprecedented treble. 

Just a week into the new year, already a lot had happened in Catalunya as Barcelona had gone into crisis mode. Luis Enrique's naive decision to start Messi and Neymar backfired as the Catalans succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Anoeta. 

What followed later was bizzare as Barcelona got sucked into an institutional crisis. On the backdrop of this, there were some major fallouts between star players and Luis Enrique, who already was on the cusp of being shown the exit door. 

The pressure was on the team. Barca fans were hoping that this was just a momentary mess which had made them the laughing stock of Europe. A convincing response was needed. After pumping five goals past Elche in the last 16 of the Copa Del Rey in a lowly affair at the Camp Nou, the onus was on the Catalans to deliver some solid goods against defending champions Atletico Madrid. The game ended in a convincing 3-1 victory for Barcelona. The celebration of the third goal, with Messi, Suarez and Neymar running at the crowd shoulder-to-shoulder, has become the symbol of the Blaugrana's renaissance which followed. 

Since then, it has mostly been about victories as Barcelona are now in the final of the Copa Del Rey, in the semi-finals of the Champions League, and two points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table. 


Everything is rosy at the Camp Nou, as Luis Enrique has turned the corner in astounding corner and has established himself as a fan favourite. Barca have reached this position by defeating the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain by playing a mixture of devastating counter attacking football and our traditional possession game. 

The major change Enrique has injected in our play is that of more verticality. The team makes more instant switches from defence to attack and buries the ball down the net in no time with minimum fuss. Messi-Suarez-Neymar, the Three Amigos, have established themselves as the most deadly trio on the planet simply embarrassing almost every defence put in front of them. 

Luis Suarez, who endured a difficult start to life in Spain, is firing on all cylinders with some crucial goals, which include the winner against Real Madrid, two goals at the Etihad against Manchester City and two goals against PSG in Paris. His success has been down to his unselfish attitude, as he draws defenders to him paving spaces for his compatriots. The Uruguayan also has had his fair share of assists. 

Neymar, after a subdued first season, has simply silenced his critics in every possible manner. The Brazilian can be proud to be only behind Messi and Ronaldo in the La Liga goal scoring charts.

As for Lionel Messi, he remains as effective as ever. 

The defence also deserve their fair share of praise. Barca's resurgence is to be credited to Pique's own resurgence. The elegant Catalan remains solid as rock at the back, simply impenetrable at times. Summer signing Jeremy Mathieu has impressed in his debut season with some crucial goals in the Clasico and against Celta Vigo. Javier Mascherano remains versatile as ever, ready to play in defence or in midfield. 


The goalkeeping pair of Claudio Bravo and Marc Andre Ter Stegen have been simply astounding when called into action. They have been the Blaugrana's steal deal. 

However, the road ahead still remains very tricky. Barcelona face Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the Champions League as Pep Guardiola, the man who won them their first ever treble, stands in their way of repeating that feat. 

In La Liga, the penultimate clash at the Calderon against Atletico Madrid still remains, as Real Madrid remain hot on Barca's heels. 

Barca face Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Copa Del Rey and although this may seem a bit easy in theory, Enrique's men cannot afford to take anything lightly as the Basque club have already defeated the likes of Real Madrid this season.

The Barcelona show must go on!

Published by Mihir Bhagwat, columnist for Barcablog.com. You can follow him on Twitter @MihirBhagwat11

Comments

  1. First and foremost: Welcome to the Barcablog team, Mihir!

    As you explained in your article, Barcelona are a much better team when compared to last season. Achieving the treble, while challenging, is definitely a possibility.

    Not long to go until we find out how far this team can go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Francesc! Barcelona have undergone a major overhaul after the disappointments of last season.

      The fact that we are still fighting for the treble is proof of that. This team will achieve a lot of success with Luis Enrique.

      Let's see how far the team can go!

      Delete
  2. When we recruited Neymar, I said why do we need the Brazilian brat! Then we brought in Suarez and I said Oh, no, not a carnivore! But somewhere inside me said that Barca, better than any other team, has the uncanny sense of finding players that fit its mold that was set around the Messiah of football almost ten years ago. This season has proven the worthiness of the above additions. The front three have gelled into the most lethal combination that exists in football today. The midfield remains strong and the backfield that was always considered Barca's Achilles' heel, has become the rock. We now have a complete team that is out to prove their might. Importantly, and this is why I loved Barca in the first place, they have shown that this is a game of skill and beauty to be played with grace and elegance and they do it time after time. How can it be any other way with the likes of Iniesta in the middle of the field. His name must mean balletic; else, he just assumes the role of one on the pitch.

    I enjoy Tomas' blogs. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right Dado! You must always have faith in Barca as every move of theirs has a motive behind it. Suarez and Neymar have taken the pressure of Messi's shoulders to carry this team. Now the opposition can't remain content just by singling out Messi from everybody! If they heavily mark Messi, it will pave spaces for Suarez and Neymar to exploit. And we all know how deadly they are in front of goal. This is a team which complements each other and is willing to help out each other in every situation.

      Delete
    2. My reaction was pretty much the same on both cases, Dado! This team is certainly special, a step above that of the previous two seasons. The way in which the front three are leading the way can't make is ignore the great job by those behind them: Bravo, ter Stegen, Pique, Alba, Rakitic, Mascherano... It has been a great season so far, time to get the rewards!

      Oh, and thanks for the kind feedback -- it's readers like yourself that make it all worthwhile

      Delete

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