So far it’s been a good season for us. We’re on the track to willing La Liga, la Copa del Rey, and we’re still alive in the Champions League. Certainly the defense has been good, and Messi has been spectacular. However, one of the unsung heroes (or villains, however you want to look at it) for Barcelona this year has been the post. Love it or hate it, it’s had an impact this year. Never was that more plain to see than against Chelsea, in which Antonio Conte’s London side hit it four times. But beyond that, it’s become an important part of the season since it began.
Here we go again.
Philippe Coutinho rumors are swirling once more as the Brazilian is reported to want a move to Barcelona. Amid claims he’s house hunting here and Nike advertisements that seem to be predicting the future, most fans want two things. One, they want to see Liverpool’s #10 in blaugrana. And two, they just want answers.
But is Coutinho worth the price tag they’ll inevitably slap on him?
A win is a win, no matter how you slice it. A draw isn’t winning, but at least it’s not losing. So far this season, FC Barcelona have won every game they’ve played but two, against Atlético de Madrid and Olympiakos, which they drew. Say what you will about the team’s form, its depth, or the tactics of Ernesto Valverde, they’ve had, at least record-wise, a tremendous start to the 2017-18 season. They’ve put themselves in a great position early on, especially in La Liga. Players like Lionel Messi, Samuel Umtiti, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are at a world-class level of form. And while Valverde’s tactics may rub some of us the wrong way, at least he’s willing to take risks. That being said, we can’t waste the golden opportunities we have now.
One of the most difficult – and overlooked – positions in all of sports is the goalkeeper. In many ways, they are the most important player in the defense. In a team like FC Barcelona, they are important tactically as well. As they can see the whole pitch, the keeper is often called upon to play the ball just like a midfield player. Being a keeper is an important job. Which is why I’m proud to say ours is Marc-André ter Stegen.
FC Barcelona, for all intents and purposes, is a desperate club right now. The Neymar transfer debacle has ended, and now the team wants to sign players to reinforce the squad and replace him.
So why are they so bad at it?
… and everything. Maybe it’s time for a moment of reflection. All the news floating around has made things difficult, but let’s try to take it in. Buckle up, this is going to be a long one.
With the fate of La Liga officially out of our hands, all we can do is continue to win and hope for a slip-up. The match on the weekend against Villarreal was a test: The best defense in the league was rolling, having won its last three games. But Barça found a way, as they often do.
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.
Yes, I know about PSG and that historic comeback. That was truly something special, a magical night at the Camp Nou when we witnessed something that had never happened before. A 6-1 win after being 4-0 down? A stoppage time winner that saw a stadium of nearly 100,000 explode? Sergi Roberto will forever have a special place in the hearts of all Barça fans. Neymar’s undying faith that anything can happen fueled his wonderful play. It was one of the greatest nights in football history – unless you’re a PSG fan, of course.
But la Juve is a different beast altogether.
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.