Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughIs there something wrong with Barcelona this season? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Is there something wrong with Barcelona this season? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Is there something wrong with Barcelona this season?

Last season Barcelona was the all conquering force. There’s no need to mention their accolades; who they beat along the way, nor how they defeated their opponents. They were at the summit of the football pantheon.

This season though, the Catalan giants haven’t looked at their finest. While they have progressed in cup competitions, with a very winnable tie against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League and a two-legged clash with Valencia in the Copa del Rey; their league form has been erratic. They are seven points behind rivals Real Madrid; drawing 6 games and lost just once so far. Last season, they drew six games throughout the whole La Liga season, which is a league where draws a new defeats.

Barca though are far from out of it though, there is still that undeniable feeling that they can win it. So far though, there is a feeling that maybe they can’t win, because they haven’t looked the same. Could it be that they had enough? Has luck ran out? Are Real Madrid now actually the better team? The Trequartista looks at a few points as to why the Barca isn’t the force they were last year:

Implementing new players
Barcelona’s dominance over the last few season has been due to the team have a solid spine throughout it: a constant, consistent six or seven players who play weekly. The names can roll off the tongue, Messi, Xavi, Inesta, Pedro, Puyol, Pique, Alves. Time though, requires changing. Xavi, Puyol and David Villa are coming to the end of their careers, so it’s time for the next generation: Fabregas, Alexis and Thiago and in line to replace them. Problem is to be in this Barcelona team; where they play a certain style, formation and it’s up to the players to fit into the team, not the other way around. Guardiola hs slowly brough in new players, meaning it has effected the fluency of the team. Its a necessary act to continue the Barca domination, but it must be done carefully not to harm the team’s success.

Changing formation
Guardiola’s reign of Barca means they play a 4-3-3. However, there is no doubting its success, throughout the season; Guardiola has slowly blended the team into a 3-4-3. Pique stated that “
the idea behind the 3-4-3 is to make us more attacking, give us more possession, and help us create more goal-scoring chances”. While it has worked in terms of possession, Barcelona have struggled to create and score more goals this season; resulting the Barca suffering more draws this season. It can though be used to create affect; most notably in their 3-1 win Real Madrid in the Clasico; but at times it hasn’t. As the season as worn on, Guardiola has tried to use it more and more. Problem is it might be costing them points.



Messi’s too much of the man
The World’s Best player is more than just a cog in the Barcelona machine; he’s the acceleration that makes the machine go forward. There is no understating the importance of Messi. In 19 games in La Liga this season, he’s scored 22 goals. The next on the list is Cesc Fabregas on 14 goals. It seems that when Messi scores Barcelona win, yet this is a problem. Barcelona are known for their ability to create chances for everyone, with everyone having the ability to score. The fact that Messi is their leading scorer yet again isn’t new, but in the past he’s had valid support from teammates Pedro, David Villa, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o to name a few. With no supporting scoring acts next to Messi, Barcelona have become too reliant on their Argentine superstar and it’s shown this season.

Loss of Desire
It happens to every great team; eventually you have enough. You’ve run your legs, dived in for every ball, tracked back to defend and ran upfront to help every attack. Eventually, you lose the desire to win things. This could be Barcelona’s problem. After three very dominating years (11 out of 13 trophies speaks for itself), the players, even Guardiola (whose yet to resign for another year) have had enough of giving 100% every week. They might try and try, but the willpower to push themselves that extra yard to win it those crucial games.

Conclusively while Barcelona hasn’t been at their consistent best this season, they still have every chance to win a bag of trophies this season. The question though, is can they do it? Can they push themselves that extra yard, the extra kick to win? Is relying on Messi to scoring going to be a problem? Will the new boys hinder or help the team? This Barcelona side is without question one of the greatest sides in the history of the game; only time will tell if they can continue their legacy.

Andrew Bishara

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