Top La Liga Strikers in 2018/19: Luis Suarez

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Remembered for his time with Ajax and Liverpool, Luis Suarez is now known as a veteran of Barcelona after completing his 5th season with the club and as a result he was one of the finest strikers in La Liga this past season.

In winning the league title Suarez has picked up his 13th major title with Barcelona and his switch from Liverpool was certainly a good one for the Uruguayan. He instantly found a chemistry with both Neymar and Lionel Messi and continued that this year with Messi even if at times Suarez has not had his strongest season.

But at the end of the day Suarez still managed 21 goals in La Liga coming joint 2nd with Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and only beaten by Messi. Yet because of picking up 5 yellow cards Suarez dropped a few points and as a result finished 3rd in European Fantasy League rankings for La Liga strikers.

Along with his goals Suarez also assisted in 6 further goals and finished on a total of 93 points for the season. His value this season was 15m.

Suarez’s highlight of the 2018/19 season came in the biggest game in Spain if not world football when Barcelona at home played Real Madrid in El Clasico. The game ended up being one sided in which Barca ran out 5-1 winners with Suarez scoring a magical hat trick, he finished with 13 points, which could have been more but he picked up a yellow card in the game.

The beginning of the La Liga campaign was in fact a slow one for the striker and apart from picking up 10 points when he scored 2 goals and made an assist in Barcelona’s emphatic 8-2 victory over Huesca Suarez was really struggling to pick up the points. Take out the Huesca game and in his first 7 games of the season the 32 year old player picked up seven points. It was all tit for tat and there was no consistency to his game. This form inevitably brought on pressure from the media and the fans who thought that Suarez was finished as a Barcelona player. But as the season went on he had points to prove and prove he did.

His goal and assist in a tricky match against Sevilla which ended up in a 4-2 victory for Barcelona was vital. There was also his dominance in the Eibar victory which ended 3-0 with Suarez grabbing 2 goals and setting up the third to earn 9 points.

Towards the end of the season only Atletico Madrid had any chance of catching Barcelona for the league after Real Madrid’s chaotic season and Barcelona beat them 2-0 which effectively ended the league title that day- again Suarez was on hand to get one of the goals.

In all Suarez had a very good season, perhaps not his best but still good enough to star in a team that won the league with what seemed like ease. The one minus against him will be the 15 games where he failed to score and he also had a very quiet time at the turn of the year. But Suarez remained with enough quality to at least convince Barcelona to retain him for a 6th season.

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What next for Barcelona’s Todibo, Murillo and Boateng?

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As we hurtle towards the end of another gruelling La Liga campaign, Barcelona will already be looking towards a successful 2019/20 season, and to that end Eric Abidal will need to do some wheeler-dealing in the transfer market.

With Matthijs De Ligt just one name being mentioned as a possible new signing, it’s clear that the Catalans will have plenty to do across the summer.

The futures of most of their players remain crystal clear, but there are question marks too. Continue reading

How Barcelona can beat Liverpool

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The time has come. Barcelona’s biggest, and potentially most difficult game of the season is upon us.

For the second season in a row, Liverpool have reached the Champions League semifinals, and they are at least Barca’s equal in this two-legged affair.

The Reds have history on their side too, as the Catalans have never beaten them over two legs in European competition. Continue reading

Barcelona seal LaLiga title with home win over Levante

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It was only just and proper that Lionel Messi was the man to score the winning goal which gave Barcelona their second LaLiga title in a row on Saturday.

Levante were the visitors to Camp Nou as they continue to fight for their status in Spanish football’s top division.

Messi actually started on the bench for the home side with Ernesto Valverde clearly having one eye on his side’s upcoming Champions League semi-final clash with Liverpool.

Luis Suarez brought a good save out of Aitor with Barcelona’s first real chance of the game. Then Philippe Coutinho rattled the crossbar with an excellent effort from a free-kick. Continue reading

Dembele has vindicated Valverde’s trust

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There was a time, not so long ago, when Barcelona’s demanding fanbase couldn’t have cared less if Ousmane Dembele was sold or not.

Incessant newspaper headlines relating to poor timekeeping, a lackadaisical attitude and little effort being shown in training or in matches, meant that if his Barca career wasn’t hanging by a thread, then it wasn’t too far off.

That’s when Ernesto Valverde played his trump card. Continue reading

Barcelona aiming to have La Liga title secure by April

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Barcelona will look to have successfully retained their La Liga title before the end of April, in time for a potential Champions League semi final.

As it stands, Ernesto Valverde’s side a huge favourites to win back to back domestic titles, with a ten point lead over second place Atletico Madrid, with nine games to go in the 2018-19 campaign.

If Barcelona win all of their forthcoming games, they will be Spanish champions again with three games to spare – winning the league at home to Levante at the Nou Camp on April 27th.

Continue reading

Valverde looks for squad depth ahead of season run in

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Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde will be looking to reach into his first team squad as they prepare to defend in their La Liga title in the closing weeks of the season.

Barring a significant decline in form, the former Athletic Bilbao boss will oversee a second successive league title in charge at the Nou Camp, with a Champions League quarter final clash with Manchester United also to come.

However he will need to balance his squad in the coming weeks, with injuries playing a role, and the need to preserve some of his star players for European competition.

Continue reading

Real Betis defeated by another Messi masterclass

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The final game of the La Liga weekend encapsulated the meaning of how some things can be worth waiting for.

With Barcelona featuring in the last game on Sunday evening, at Real Betis, we all knew we could be about to witness something special from the greatest player on the planet.

Lionel Messi did not disappoint.

The Barcelona number 10 brought his La Liga tally to 29 goals for the season with another sublime hat-trick as Barcelona won 4-1 at Real Betis.

What are Barcelona going to do about Philippe Coutinho?

As Barcelona celebrated their third goal against Rayo Vallecano, the TV cameras looked to the Barcelona bench. There, a little crouched over in thought, was Philippe Coutinho. He’d barely even sat down having been taken off in the 81st minute by the time Barca scored a wonderful goal in the 82nd minute. It was the sort of goal they would have struggled to score with the Brazilian on the pitch.

Coutinho has become a misfit at Camp Nou. He was Barcelona’s record signing last year, arriving as the player to replace both Neymar and Andres Iniesta simultaneously. No pressure. Now, though, the Brazilian playmaker can’t even force his way into Ernesto Valverde’s strongest team.

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Saturday, when Coutinho was handed a rare start against Rayo, was a chance for him to prove his worth. Instead, the Brazilian floated through the game without making much of an impression. It was only when he was taken off that Barcelona started to play the sort of football their fans have come to expect from them.

Far from being the solution to a problem, as he was billed when he first arrived just over a year ago, Coutinho has become a problem himself. The role he is being asked to perform is very different to the one he conducted so well over the course of his time at Liverpool and there are few signs that he will adapt and tailor his game effectively to earn a place at Barcelona.

Coutinho frequently finds the space he would often occupy filled by Lionel Messi. Rather than imposing his own game on Barcelona, as he did at Liverpool, Coutinho is being asked to fit around others. Ousmane Dembele is much more effective on the left side of the attacking three and there appears to be no place for Coutinho in the midfield unit either.

So what can Barcelona do to solve their Coutinho problem? There have been rumours that the Brazilian could be sold at the end of the season, with Manchester United among those reported to be interested in signing the 26-year-old. That would require Barca to take a big financial hit, though, on a player they splurged £146 million on not so long ago.

Beyond that, Coutinho might have to wait until Messi fades and becomes the midfield pass-master he is predicted to become before he can claim a place in Barcelona’s attack. Waiting around for Messi, arguably the game’s greatest ever player, to fade doesn’t sound like the most solid of plans.

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Valverde has to rest Barcelona’s big hitters now

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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