The weekend is upon us and it’s time for another La Liga match. This one can only be hectic and tough, as FC Barcelona travels to Madrid to play Atlético Madrid for the 3rd time in February. With Real Madrid’s loss in midweek against Valencia, it’s time for Barça to finally close the gap and smell 1st position, although Real Madrid has one match in advantage still.
It was about time. Barcelona B rediscovered their best version in Cornellà, and after exhibiting their superiority against a rival which had beaten them in the first round match at the Miniestadi, Gerard’s men took home all three points with a 2-0 win that rather flatters the hosts. Barcelona B’s revenge on their Catalan neighbors was based on the team’s defensive solidity and the attacking effectiveness. The winning cocktail of the two ensured that the Blaugranas maintained their slender one-point lead at the top of the table for yet another week.
Before the break, Barcelona’s Copa del Rey tie with Atleti was a dominant display capped off with a two-goal advantage.
The second half, conversely, was a reminder that you should never feel calm at half-time and always prepare for the last 45 minutes to test your nerves.
One point won or two points lost? Barça B could not take full advantage of their home encounter against their closest challengers for top spot, Alcoyano, but in the end the reserves managed to save a point, with Gerard Gumbau coming to the team’s rescue with textbook free kick right at the death. A draw was probably the best Barcelona B could get out of this match given the way things panned out, but the feeling at the end was one of what it could have been had the best Barça B turned up.
Unbeaten runs, no matter how impressive they get, have a beginning and an end. Our friends in Madrid saw their bubble burst last week, but Barcelona’s reserve team didn’t seem to take notice. After beating Hércules last week, a rival with similar ambitions, Barcelona B wanted to further extend their seven-match unbeaten run against another high-flying rival, Villarreal B. The hurdle proved a little too high for the Blaugranas though, whose meaningless dominance of possession was no much for the Yellow Submarine’s effectiveness.
Travelling to the small Basque city of Eibar is always a spectacle for Barcelona. Seeing Barça’s stars taking to the field at the hostile atmosphere of the Ipurua is an interesting sight, and the team of superstars are always expected to roll the little team over, but Eibar’s quick growth into La Liga battlers has made sure that they are anything but pushovers.
Champions are made of metal. Barcelona B have looked every bit like champions during this season, overcoming any kind of difficulty that has crossed their path to assert their superiority in Group 3 of the Segunda División B. So well-focused have Gerard’s players been, that they now seem to have mastered the complicated task of playing with a man down. This weekend in Sagunto, the Blaugranas played for half an hour with ten men, and still managed to pull off a seemingly unlikely comeback in the end.
Barcelona B could not stay away from the taste of victory for too long. After two consecutive draws against Prat and Espanyol B, Barcelona B finished the first round of league action and 2016 with a dramatic win away at CD Ebro. The team from Zaragoza pushed the Blaugranas all the way, but a stellar performance from Jesús Alfaro ensured that the team led by Gerard López held on to top spot to finish the year as winter champions.
Off the back of the disappointing Clásico, today’s match up against an Osasuna team who have won just one of their last 14 home league games was Barcelona’s chance to end their three match drawing streak in La Liga and begin the catch up on Real Madrid, who were six points ahead of Barça at the start of the weekend.
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.