One of the most difficult – and overlooked – positions in all of sports is the goalkeeper. In many ways, they are the most important player in the defense. In a team like FC Barcelona, they are important tactically as well. As they can see the whole pitch, the keeper is often called upon to play the ball just like a midfield player. Being a keeper is an important job. Which is why I’m proud to say ours is Marc-André ter Stegen.
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.
In the end Barcelona ended up dominating Espanyol in the Catalan Derby, but not after a a few early visits from lady luck. All four of the squad’s new summer signings took part in the match and all four showed glimmering glimpses of what Culés can expect in the coming months. Critics may argue the club is missing a player the caliber of Philippe Coutinho but currently the squad sits first in La Liga four points in front of Real Madrid.
We are all Barcelona. The city needed a victory and the club delivered in the fashion of a two to nil victory over Real Betis. Incredibly the thing the match missed the most was a goal by the great Lionel Messi. FC Barcelona dominated the match, but things could have been much different if not for a world class tackle from Javier Mascherano.
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.
… and everything. Maybe it’s time for a moment of reflection. All the news floating around has made things difficult, but let’s try to take it in. Buckle up, this is going to be a long one.
Barcelona B went into the second leg of their promotion playoff against Cartagena defending a valuable 2-1 lead from the first leg away from home. In the previous round, the Blaugranas suffered a damaging home defeat against Cultural, and this time round, they wouldn’t let it slip. On Sunday, Cartagena managed to become one of the few teams which beat Barcelona B at the Miniestadi this season, but their 1-0 win was in vain, as the Barça reserves scraped their way to the final whistle to earn a hard-fought ticket for the final on away goals.
It was all shaping up so well for Barcelona B. The reserves majestically clinched top spot in their Segunda B group to secure a place in the group winners playoff. They received Cultural Leonesa at the Miniestadi on Saturday with all the excitement in the world, but it was not enough. The team from Castilla y León proved to be no pushovers, and although Barcelona B had the most chances, the visitors took home a commanding 2-0 lead ahead of the next week’s return leg at the Estadio Reino de León. Barcelona B will be needing a minor miracle if they are to secure the ticket to the Segunda A from next week, but if anything, the first lef does leave room for optimism despite the result.
With the fate of La Liga officially out of our hands, all we can do is continue to win and hope for a slip-up. The match on the weekend against Villarreal was a test: The best defense in the league was rolling, having won its last three games. But Barça found a way, as they often do.
Get the job done. That’s what yesterday’s match against relegation-threatened AE Prat was all about for FC Barcelona B. Last, they conceded a late goal and let the chance to secure top spot in the league slip. Not this time though. The Blaugranas made light work of their visitors and after the referee’s final whistle, the Miniestadi, finally went into party mode.