Hey, Luis Enrique used those very same words. He was referring, of course, to being able to withstand other teams’s pressure. It’s no secret, of course, that teams have been using this strategy for a while, knowing how the Barcelona style of play depends on ball control and possession. Teams that have had success against Barcelona have implemented that very same strategy time and time again with Luis Enrique teams (Celta beat them 4-3, Athletic Bilbao took a 2-0 lead in Copa, Valencia almost snatched a victory earlier this season). Oftentimes, Barcelona’s superior talent is enough to see them through, but the opposition can make life difficult for them. Despite this, with the match against Atlético Madrid that saw Barça advance to their fourth straight Copa final we learned that maybe Luis Enrique’s side has learned how to suffer.
This tie was the first real acid test of the 2016/2017 season. In Atlético, we faced our conquerors from a season ago; The team that famously stopped the MSN in last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final. This tie gave us a look into what the takeaways of that encounter were. And with flying colours, Luis Enrique passed the test.
A match between Barcelona and the opposition from the north is always sure to be a good one. With Paco Alcácer starting in place of Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Neymar up front, the midfield was made up of André Gomes, Arda Turan, and Rafinha. The defense included Aleix Vidal, Gerard Piqué, Samuel Umtiti and Jeremy Mathieu. With Marc-André ter Stegen in goal, the match was off.
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.
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.
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.
We’re looking for a few experienced social media people to help us maintain and grow our Twitter presence. If you are passionate and knowledgeable about Barça, this is the perfect way to take it to the next level. If you already run a smaller account, this would be a great opportunity to expand your reach.
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.
Talk about getting a monkey off your back. This performance may not have been the best Barcelona performance, but it may have been the most necessary. Coming to a stadium that has plagued so many a blaugrana side and leaving with a positive result is such a rarity that even the low scoreline of 0-1 could be enough to finally be the spark that ignites Luis Enrique’s men. Not to mention that this result has come at a time where Real Madrid have looked vulnerable for the first time this season. Bravo Lucho.