FC Barcelona were matched against Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid to form on of the two blockbuster UEFA Champions League quarterfinal clashes. The matches will be played on April 5th and 13th. This is likely the most difficult matchup Barça could have faced, but hey, at this stage of the competition only big boy pants to be worn. The other mega clash is Manchester City coming up against Paris Saint-Germain. Real Madrid otherwise got Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich will face Benfica. Easy draws for Zizu and Pep.
The streets surrounding the Camp Nou were empty. The stadium was leaking. Not with excitement, but with hesitance at the newly unveiled Espai Barça, culés unsure what to make of momentous change for a club already the epicenter of the global game. In typical catalan fashion, the rare site of rain was enough to keep some socis at home. Plans were worth canceling, laziness increasing incrementally with each drop. Some other time.
If the term has been “peak Arsenal” it surely now has graduated to “Everest Arsenal”. Arsenè Wenger hopes to make the “impossible possible” tomorrow night when truthfully it should be entirely certain this be his coup de grace. If Stan Kroenke wasn’t so busy getting rich with his new LA Rams he’d pay attention to the fact Arsenal will likely finish 2015/16 as a ninth trophiless campaign in 11 years. Arsenal will bow out of Europe at the first hurdle for the sixth year running tomorrow whilst Wenger will bemoan something or other he’s bemoaned before and praise something or other that isn’t worth that infuriatingly perma-stuck zipper on his coat. Sometimes it’s not about whether you’re good or not, it’s simply about being somebody else. Jürgen Klopp is a fantastic manager yet he fizzled out at Dortmund and now look at them under Thomas Tuchel. Wenger is (or was) good, he has nothing to prove, but Arsenal need somebody else.
On Sunday, Barcelona B were presented with a prime chance to make a case for themselves in the battle for the Segunda B playoffs. Away at fifth-placed Lleida, the reserves aimed to challenge a direct rival and further extend their excellent unbeaten run. This time though, it wasn’t meant to be. The Blaugranas were typically secure at the back, were not afraid to go head to head with the hosts, but for the first time in a very long while, a lack of sharpness in front of goal came back to haunt them, as they ended up beaten 2-0 by the effective hosts.
In the summer, Gerard Deulofeu was sold permanently to a Everton, a club where he enjoyed a successful loan spell in the 2013/14 season. The speedy winger returned to the Merseyside club with a lot of hope, he was looking forward to the consistent game time in England that he couldn’t be promised at Barcelona. With a buy back clause in his contract, what are the chances that one of La Masia’s pearls will return, and does he deserve to?
Sometimes life simply isn’t fair. You can do your absolute best to achieve a certain goal or work towards a particular endeavor, but it doesn’t always work out.
This in no way implies that Getafe came to Camp Nou with a solid plan to contain the blaugrana. The Madrid-based team started the game a point from the relegation zone, knowing that they’d have to face 3 of the top 4 teams over the coming few weeks. You wouldn’t fault them for being demoralized and expecting a spanking from the best team in the world, but they didn’t have a choice. A team fighting for its place in the league is always a dangerous proposition. With Atlético Madrid playing very well as of late a slip-up would have been dangerous.
The Getafinder app was created to encourage people to go to the stadium: find love over a shared common interest was the idea behind it. Yet, before finding love, Getafe must struggle to find and understand themselves before rekindling the relationship, now only a point above relegation, and having lost seven of their last eight matches. Meanwhile, Barça finds itself on vacation. The first time without a midweek game since the start of the year (if you include internationals it is even longer), Luis Enrique decided to give the players a few days off. For a team whose success ultimately depends on their form, this did not go unnoticed.
Nowadays, Barça tell a very different narrative from almost all teams around the world. The Spanish club can boast four goals past a poor opponent’s net, break a long-standing record from their eternal rivals, whilst playing some meteoric football, all in predictable fashion. At some point, when you become too used to winning, you have to step back and appreciate the work of art from a distance.
Winter renaissance. An oxymoron, yet also the phrase that so perfectly describes the spectacular turnaround over the space of two months, with the reserves, once relegation candidates, now being promotion playoff contenders. Many people will ask how it is even possible for a football team to undergo such a transformation. Barça B’s case is living proof for that, yet before the renaissance could happen, a revolution had to take place first.
As part of the 28th game week of the Spanish third tier, Segunda B, FC Barcelona’s B team had to face their group’s classification leaders Villarreal B and there could have been no better occasion to resume their winning run put to a halt by a recent draw.
Coach Gerard López opted to start the match with the following line-up: Ortolá, Palencia, Moisés, Fali and Gumbau, Samper, Xemi, Kaptoum (Ros, 66′), Dani Romera (Godswill, 86′), Perea (Chamorro, 74′), and Cámara. Interestingly, Villarreal’s XI featured several names familiar to culers: Aitor Cantalapiedra, Edgar Ié, and Carlos Julio all share a background at the blaugrana club.