After another dominant El Clasico performance, and with the Champions League once again the priority, Ernesto Valverde must start tinkering with his squad.
His ‘safety first’ approach will need to take a back seat in a handful of the next few league games as Barca go for it in the European competition.
Though the Catalans can still conceivably be caught in La Liga, both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are far enough behind for the Blaugrana to have a blip and still remain as leaders. Continue reading →
For the first time in Barcelona’s rich and storied history, they will play two Clasico fixtures against Real Madrid back-to-back at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Not once since 1899 has that happened, and many commentators are suggesting that whichever of the two Spanish behemoths comes out on top over the two matches, they can look forward to another hugely successful season.
In Europe, Los Blancos reign supreme and have done for just over 1000 days now, a quite astonishing statistic in the modern era. Continue reading →
Defending La Liga champions are facing a tough run of fixtures in domestic and European action, just as bitter rivals Real Madrid are preparing a late bid for the league title.
Ernesto Valverde’s side have drawn their last two league games, against Valencia and Athletic Bilbao, dropping four key points, in the same fortnight that Santiago Solari’s team have beaten Alaves and Atletico Madrid.
That has nudged Los Blancos ahead of their city rivals as the Catalan side’s main challengers, and the current leaders will be looking over their shoulder.
After not being able to overcome eternal rivals, Real Madrid, in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, Barcelona were dealt a further blow with the news that Arthur Melo has been ruled out for 3-4 weeks.
The Brazilian has been an incredible success story since his arrival from Gremio, to the extent that there are now genuine concerns as to how successful Barca will be in his absence.
He has given the Catalans an extra layer of security thanks to his ball retention and willingness to set the tempo and rhythm of a game, and they’ll certainly miss his input. Continue reading →