The Camp Nou was buzzing as almost 100,000 fans commemorated Lionel Messi’s 500 goals. It seemed as if the match against Osasuna was a side attraction. The match ended up being enjoyable while putting pressure on Real Madrid to perform. Leo appreciated the gesture, but, as we saw, he wasn’t done yet.
This review comes at a delay because I’ve spent the last two days in a fugue state, waiting to wake up from what surely must have been a culé’s hopeful, feverish imaginings.
FC Barcelona scraped out a 3-2 win over Real Sociedad at home on Saturday for a vital, if not convincing, three points.
FC Barcelona wasted a golden opportunity to go top of the La Liga table as they lost two to nil away to Málaga CF. The team was set up all wrong from the start with an obvious eye towards Champions League play on Tuesday as an excuse. Luis Enrique must shoulder a lot of the blame, but the players themselves must take a serious look in the mirror if there is any doubt why the club won’t win the league this year.
If any of you have ever seen The Departed (no spoilers here), do you remember that part in the elevator where you thought it was about to end well and then it suddenly didn’t end well at all? With this win over Atlético Madrid on Sunday, La Liga has become that elevator scene. And yes, Real Madrid also won against Villareal, but they were anything but convincing – and once again, dubious referee decisions (yes, again) allowed Real back into the match. FC Barcelona are closing up the gap, and Sevilla don’t appear to be going anywhere. While this ain’t Boston, that elevator scene might be playing out over the next few weeks.
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.