Ousmane Who? Semedo shows exactly why he’s Alves’ heir apparent

Let’s get one thing clear from the get-go: Ousmane Dembele is one of the most talented players in world football, and this writer’s first-choice signing to replace Neymar when the Brazilian announced his departure. The young Frenchman playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez is a tantalizing prospect, one which, when Dembele adapts to his new teammates, will bear great fruit for Ernesto Valverde.

The fact is, though, that against Juventus FC there was another player, also signed this summer, who impressed in a position where Barca have had a lot of trouble over the past couple of seasons. Nelson Semedo was bought and presented at Barcelona without too much fanfare and early rumours surrounding the Portuguese full-back stated that he was ‘worse than Douglas’. It’s safe to say that the Juve game put such rumours firmly into the metaphorical trash can, where they belong, as Semedo was a key component in a comprehensive performance by Valverde’s men. To put into context just how impressive Semedo has been, and how much Barca have needed a player like him, there’s a need to understand exactly why the right-back role has been such a problem for the club. A big part of that problem, ironically, was Dani Alves, and just how good he was at doing exactly what was needed of him at the right time.


A game of perspective: An analysis on the start of the season

The first game of the league season is officially out of the way and as culés we honestly couldn’t have asked for a better start in terms of both results and performance. After honouring the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Barcelona and playing with Barcelona not just in their hearts, but on the backs of their shirts as well, the team recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory.

This victory has been perceived in different ways, but for most of us non-pessimists who want the team to move on from the shambolic Super Cup games this was a welcome step in the right direction. It wasn’t just a positive result, but a positive performance too.

Perspective is important in a game like this as there needs to be a balance, between optimism and downright negativity, and in order to paint an accurate picture of what this game means it is important to compare it to the aforementioned Super Cup games against Real Madrid; in particular the more recent second leg.


The 222 Million Euro Question

You’re one of the biggest football clubs in the world and are heading smoothly towards the start of a promising season when, without any warning, one of your star players leaves. You now have 222 million Euros added to your bank balance and only a month to not only replace said star player, but plug in any other holes in your squad too. What do you do?

Laid out here are a few of the ways the board should consider spending the money, with points for and against them. At the end of the day there are no guarantees any of these will take place but as a fanbase we can dream!

(Please note only major money signings are being considered here – major in today’s market of course)


It’s how he left

It’s finally over (for the most part). Neymar Jr. was officially presented as a Paris Saint-Germain player as the summer’s most discussed transfer saga finally came to a close. The last two and a half weeks have seen a multitude of newspaper headlines, tweets and articles being written in discussion of his transfer: Would he do it? Surely he wouldn’t give up everything he had to go to a ‘smaller’ club? Was it all about the money? We’ve now had a little bit of time to absorb all the happenings and make up our own mind about the answers to these questions and a lot of the others doing the rounds on social media. The predicament this writer is in right now, however, is that being a fan of both the player and the club, it’s not those questions that are bothering him.


Espanyol Match Review: Onwards and (hopefully) upwards!

Three goals and 3 very important points should be the biggest take-away from the match at Espanyol. As disappointing as it is, Real Madrid, winning at the death (again) courtesy of a fine Marcelo effort ensured that the destiny of the league title is still very much in their hands. That being said, had Barca stumbled at all against their local rivals the title race would have officially been over, so credit where credit is due to the players for grinding out a good result.


New Year, New problems, New hope?

The wonderful thing about the beginning of a New Year is that it offers one a very real chance to reflect on past events and work towards improving oneself, both in character and behaviour. In fact, the start of a new year has proved to be so synonymous with self-reflection and betterment that the first question on everyone’s lips post the customary midnight firework display is always one and the same: “What are your resolutions for this year?”. In other words, through what means  are you aiming to advance yourself in terms of both characteristics and personality.


Review: Two points lost or one point gained?

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.


Match Review: Lucho’s new Barca chugs on

As much as today’s victory was a monumental team effort, make no mistake; Luis Enrique deserves all the plaudits for achieving what he has with all the pressure that following in Pep Guardiola’s footsteps comes with. With today’s win at the San Mames, Lucho became the fastest ever coach to reach a hundred victories in charge, surpassing the now Manchester City boss’s records in both Barcelona and Munich. This game typified exactly how far he’s come from his first game in charge, making this team his own.


Another treble a wonderful but difficult possibility

There was a night in Berlin when hundreds of millions of viewers tuned in to watch a match between the best two clubs in Europe. Juventus had just beaten Real Madrid off a great performance from Madrid’s own Alvaro Morata, and Barcelona had just squeezed through a stacked Bayern Munich team, coached by Barcelona’s former manager, and perennial title winner, Pep Guardiola.  The teams were different then than now, Juventus having a lineup with Pirlo, Vidal, Pogba, Morata, and Carlos Tevez; Barça still employed the services of Xavi and Pedro. Rakitic gave Barça the lead early on, but Morata equalized ten minutes into the second half. With the game tight and Juventus gaining ground, Messi’s shot was blocked wide and Suárez put it back in to give Barcelona the lead. To finish it off, as we all know, and Neymar  struck late and gave Barcelona a 3-1 lead. They had won the treble: La Liga, La Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League.


Has Lucho really fixed last season’s problems?

A lot has been said about the 2015/2016 season. And even though it proved to be a success (Yes, a double is a success folks), there was a bitter taste left in the mouths of all cules. Seeing our arch-rivals in Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid competing for top honours in the UEFA Champions League Final seemed a strange ending to a season that had started with so much promise. Celebrating the Copa Del Rey triumph proved an even stranger feeling. I personally can attest to feeling like I was jumping for joy for a 2nd place finish.