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.
FC Barcelona punished a lethargic Deportivo Alavés away at the Estadio Mendizorrotza six to nil. Alavés lost the plot in the second half conceding four goals in the span of eight minutes. The match should have ended as revenge for the home defeat Alavés afflicted the club earlier in the season and as a warning to their future Copa del Rey final opponents. Unfortunately, the match will be remembered and marred by the late horrific ankle injury to Aleix Vidal.
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.
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.
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.
Saturday will mark the 265th Clásico meeting between these two teams, the best in Spain for many years now. For Barça, this particular match is crucial, as Madrid sit six points ahead of them in La Liga standings. Cutting their lead to three would be a great result if Barcelona can get a win. Despite their bad play of late, it’s not impossible. In fact, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, and Alvaro Morata are now definitely out for Madrid while Andrés Iniesta might make a return from his knee injury suffered against Valencia.
The curse of Anoeta continues as FC Barcelona is lucky to win a draw against a dominating La Real performance. A moment of magic between Neymar and Lionel Messi rescued the club one point. They now sit six behind Real Madrid heading into the first El Clásico of the season.
On Sunday the La Liga kicks off for FC Barcelona for matchday 13. This time it’s a trip to San Sebastián to face Real Sociedad at the Anoeta. Exactly the stadium Anoeta has for the last decade been a true curse for Barcelona when playing there. Barcelona has not been able to win there since 2007, meaning a total of 6 straight La Liga games without winning there. With the current standings in the La Liga table in mind and the Clasico next weekend, a win is necessary for the team this 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.