Where does Coutinho fit in at Barcelona now?

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Against Getafe on Sunday night, Barcelona’s record signing, Phillipe Coutinho, was again left on the bench.

That’s right, €160 million worth of talent being given a cursory eight-minute cameo at the end of the match.

Predictably it wasn’t enough time for the Brazilian to really make an impact, and that is becoming a consistent theme for him of late. Continue reading

Three players who could leave Barcelona in January

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There are just another few weeks remaining until the transfer window is open for business once again.

Noises have already been made from various players and clubs, some more subtle than others it must be said.

Most of the spadework on deals will have been done prior to January 1, 2019, with the nuts and bolts of any switch to be ironed out in good time after that date. Continue reading

Time to stop talk of a Neymar return to Barca

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Not too long ago, Barcelona’s Pep Segura made a simple statement that could be easily understood and with no room for misinterpretation.

Any player that leaves the club is not welcome back.

It was almost as if he was saying ‘if we weren’t good enough for you then, you’re not good enough for us now.’

An understandable point of view, particularly when it relates to one of the biggest names in world football. Continue reading

Has Dembele blown it at Barcelona?

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After a disappointing opening campaign at Barcelona, which was mainly as a result of an untimely injury not long after joining, Ousmane Dembele was expected to hit the ground running at the start of 2018/19.

Though there were some suggestions that the Catalans should cash in, with Liverpool allegedly interested in his services, Ernesto Valverde was clear that the young Frenchman was absolutely part of his plans. Continue reading

One year since Neymar blew the transfer market wide open

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This time last year the football world was still reeling from the astonishing €222 million capture of Neymar by Paris Saint-Germain.

It was a stunning coup by the French side, taking a player destined to become one of the world’s best from one of the footballing super powers that PSG aspire to be.

Barcelona were dumbstruck and, as a result of that particular deal, have been careful to ensure much higher buyout clauses for their best players. Continue reading

La Liga Game of the Week: Barcelona close out Valencia in tight affair

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This week’s La Liga Game of the Week saw Barcelona overcome a challenging Valencia side to secure a 2-1 victory at the Camp Nou.

Barca will have been justified had they come into the game with a degree of trepidation, knowing full well that the fourth placed side posed a credible threat to their unbeaten record.

However, the hosts put the handle on the game from the early stages – taking the lead in the 15th minute when Luis Suarez netted near post after Philippe Coutinho’s exquisite slide-rule pass.

The Uruguayan’s emphatic celebrations have been a regular occurrence this season, with him having hit 23 goals in 28 games on his way to 100 points.

Equally, the Brazilian will have been delighted to have contributed to the goal.

The 25-year-old has dropped off the exceptional rate of goals and assists he was delivering at Liverpool following his big money move but moments like this show he is certainly beginning to settle in at his new club.

He again highlighted his ability once again when Umtiti headed in from his whipped cross to double Barcelona’s lead on 51 minutes – punishment for a Valencia side that had missed a number of high quality chances.

With nine goals and 11 assists across the two leagues, Coutinho’s 77 points this season and will be a hot favourite to really kick on next campaign.

With the game seemingly tied up, Dani Parejo added a touch of spice when he converted from the spot to score his seventh goal of the campaign after Dembele was penalised for a foul in the 87th minute – the hard shot squirming under Marc ter Stegen’s body.

ter Stegen will have been disappointed to have conceded the goal so late on, with the German on the cusp of an 18th clean sheet of 2017/18.

The penalty added a touch of drama to the final moments of the game but the hosts were good value for the victory in truth, seeing the tie through to the finish as they secured an 25 win of the campaign to put them on 82 points.

The victory puts Barcelona another step closer towards claiming this season’s La Liga title, though second placed Atletico Madrid did secure a 3-0 victory over the weekend.

The Catalans next see action against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, whilst Valencia travel to Celta Vigo as they look to consolidate a qualification place for next season’s Champions League.

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