Watching FC Barcelona outclassed in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and now facing a must win scenario in El Clásico has finally shown how unbalanced the club has become. With a final in the Copa del Rey still looming, most clubs would feel fortunate to be in a position to win one title let alone the possibility of two at this point in the season, but Barcelona is more than a club. The problem most pressing to the club now is how to utilize the greatest player of all time to his fullest potential with however many remaining seasons he decides to play.
FC Barcelona wasted a golden opportunity to go top of the La Liga table as they lost two to nil away to Málaga CF. The team was set up all wrong from the start with an obvious eye towards Champions League play on Tuesday as an excuse. Luis Enrique must shoulder a lot of the blame, but the players themselves must take a serious look in the mirror if there is any doubt why the club won’t win the league this year.
You can say it was a hangover from their last match and you might be right, but the reason FC Barcelona lost two to one to Deportivo de La Coruña at the Estadio Riazor was lack of fire and individual errors. Misplaced passes and poor defending on corners led to both goals for the home side. Barcelona on the other hand didn’t create enough chances and the few they did were wasted whether it was the final ball in the form of a bad pass or a lacking shot.
FC Barcelona punished a lethargic Deportivo Alavés away at the Estadio Mendizorrotza six to nil. Alavés lost the plot in the second half conceding four goals in the span of eight minutes. The match should have ended as revenge for the home defeat Alavés afflicted the club earlier in the season and as a warning to their future Copa del Rey final opponents. Unfortunately, the match will be remembered and marred by the late horrific ankle injury to Aleix Vidal.
Futbol Club Barcelona escaped the Estadio Benito Villamarín with a point after some bizarre referee decisions and lackluster play. Fans will blame the lack of rest between matches, the early start time, injuries, and mainly the referee but the club has to take a long look in the mirror after such an unconvincing performance. Real Betis were unfortunate to earn only a draw after hitting the crossbar and the post as well as overall pushing Barcelona to its limits.
How I learned to stop worrying and love the club. Things seemed dire before the match, third place in La Liga, one foot out of the Copa del Rey, but let’s conveniently forget to talk about Champions League play and the Lionel Messi free kick in San Mamés. It took three perfect works of art to change everything back to normal for the club. A three to one victory in Camp Nou not only sees FC Barcelona progress to the next round and silence numerous doubters, but also remind the world of the three exquisite match winning forwards the club possesses.
Athletic Club was ravenous in the first half and thrashed an uninspired FC Barcelona two to one in the first leg of their round of 16 Copa Del Rey matchup. Barcelona will cry foul after the match which saw more than one unique decision from referee Fernandez Borbalan. Lionel Messi netted a valuable away free kick goal but was mostly ineffective in a match which Neymar was the sole bright spot.
Barcelona fans needed one thing from the last group stage match in Champions League play, a victory. Four draws in five matches in all competitions has left a bitter taste in the Blaugrana’s mouths, but there were three other things the faithful desperately wanted to happen to turn the recent tide for the club. With the top spot in Group C already secured, supporters hoped to see a goal from Paco Alcácer, strong displays from fringe players, and for Lionel Messi to break Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for most goals in the group stage. Well, one out of three ain’t bad especially with the dominating performance displayed by FC Barcelona on the night.
The curse of Anoeta continues as FC Barcelona is lucky to win a draw against a dominating La Real performance. A moment of magic between Neymar and Lionel Messi rescued the club one point. They now sit six behind Real Madrid heading into the first El Clásico of the season.
FC Barcelona failed to impress at home and to keep pace with Real Madrid. On a night where the club sorely missed Lionel Messi, Barcelona were only able to tie a very defensive Malaga. Ten men behind the ball for Malaga meant Barcelona’s offense was severely limited to wide play and the individual magic of Neymar.