This is a repost of an article originally featured on our site last season by Sameer Riyaz about the potential rise of Sergi Roberto. It’s a very interesting read, especially in light of Roberto’s ascent to stardom this season. And also because Sameer is such a great writer. He concluded: “As things presently stand, the simple
This is a repost of an article originally featured on our site last season by Sameer Riyaz about the potential rise of Sergi Roberto. It’s a very interesting read, especially in light of Roberto’s ascent to stardom this season. And also because Sameer is such a great writer. He concluded: “As things presently stand, the simple fact of the matter, unpalatable though it may be, is that Sergi Roberto’s future at the club is the brightest out of all La Masia prospects bar none.” How’s that for prescience? Enjoy the article!
Winning 5-0 on the road is cause for celebration enough, but doing it without Messi, Iniesta, or Rakitić after a hard-fought draw against Atlético midweek is a miracle of a manita.
Exclusively for our totalBarça readers, here are some amazing pictures from the game vs. Sporting de Gijón!
Gerard López´s Barcelona B seems to loving hard life. Nothing else can explain the reserves astonishing knack for getting themselves into trouble, only to stage great escapes just minutes later. This weekend’s match was just another link to the chain of great escapes. Against Mallorca B, a promoted side which had only picked up 4 points from a possible 15 prior to kick-off, Barcelona B could be forgiven to think that things would be sort of easier. The Blaugranas though, always love some drama: they had to fall behind, see the rival have a player send off, equalise and then take the lead, spurn dozens of chances to seal the win, concede an equaliser and then score a late goal to get three points.
FC Barcelona turned up the tempo after a late red card from Gijón and won round six of La Liga away five to nil. Early goals from Luis Suárez and Rafinha gave Barça a secure lead, but it wasn’t until Alberto Lora earned his second yellow that the match was truly put away. After the red, Neymar scored a brace flanked by a goal from Arda Turan in the 85th minute.
Round five of La Liga sees Spain’s first marquee matchup of the season as Barcelona ties Atlético one apiece. The encounter was a defensive one with Ivan Rakitić giving the blaugrana a lead just before the break with a header. Ángel Correa tied the match after a nice dribble and a Javier Mascherano slip.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Barça under Luis Enrique, and especially how the current version compares to that magical 4-month period in the spring of 2015. Now, obviously, there is one simple answer – that team was just starting out, they had a point to prove and fresh legs. They steamrolled everyone in their way with a mixture of talent and relentless toughness. After two seasons of success and a mountain of games under those players’ legs, that lightning in a bottle is hard to replicate. Also there is the tricky matter of memory – a team even of just a year and a half ago will be idealized up against the 90-minute present of last Saturday. With those caveats in place, however, let’s explore.
The last three matches against Atlético Madrid have brought almost no fruit. A 2-1 win in the first leg of the UEFA Champions Quarter Final in Camp Nou (against a 10 man Atlético), a 0-2 loss at the Vicente Calderón in the second leg, and now a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. There are few sides, if any, that are capable of nullifying our team the way Atlético are. Then again, there are few sides, if any, that are capable of the defensive discipline Diego Simeone’s men are. When these two sides clash, it is a battle of Attack vs Defense. A true battle of opposites. So then, does this mean that Atlético indeed has figured us out, and if so, should we be concerned?
Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go: Yes, dropping two points when we had the chance to gain ground on Real Madrid is a disappointment, without a shadow of a doubt. A quick look at the way Atletico scored makes you want to pull out your hair even more; a completely avoidable goal that was the result of a momentary lapse in concentration from two players (Pique and Mascherano) who were absolute beasts otherwise.
In the past seven days, a lot has happened. Exactly a week ago, Luis Enrique found himself licking a few early-season wounds from the loss to Deportivo Alavés. Eyebrows were raised as to whether Lucho had made the right decision in resting so many key players that weekend. A few weeks into the season, we can now start analyzing the intentions of most managers. On the surface level, anyone with a seasoned culé eye would have been able to see Lucho’s clear intention of rotating his players to utilize the benefits of economies of squad– That being that this time around, Lucho has arguably the best and most versatile squad in Europe. Why? Because one of the biggest reasons (in fact, to many blaugrana’s, the only reason) why our team fell apart in it’s only blemish last season in the loss to Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final, was down to fatigue. It only makes sense to rotate as much as possible, even to a fault (such as what was witnessed in the Alavés game), if it ensures that MSN and co are fully fit come April 2017. Other than this, Lucho has pulled a few rabbit’s out of the hat too.