Barcelona search for striker bringing no rewards

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Barcelona have made no secret that they are on the lookout for a new striker this month to provide competition for their established number nine Luis Suarez. Munir El Haddadi left the Camp Nou to join Sevilla in a €1m deal earlier this month, leaving Suarez as the only recognised senior striker at the club.

Barca are said to have rejected the opportunity to sign Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata while Fernando Llorente now appears more likely to stay at Tottenham. A host of other names have been linked to the Catalan giants, including Girona’s in-form striker Cristhian Stuani  and Carlos Vela, currently at Los Angeles FC. Continue reading

Barcelona chase experienced attacking trio

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Barcelona have been linked with an eclectic mix of strikers in the January transfer window, as Ernesto Valverde looks to bolster their La Liga challenge.

The Catalan side are in pole position to retain their title, with a five point lead at the top of the table, however they have been linked with moves to add experience to their attack.

La Blaugrana are reportedly interested in a deal for Uruguay international Cristhian Stuani from local rivals Girona, Premier League duo Olivier Giroud and Fernando Llorente.

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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

Barca need to up the ante in the Champions League

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When your captain and talisman is steadfast in his resolve that this will be the year that the team is going to win the Champions League, the least that’s expected from every player is 100 percent concentration, commitment and effort in every game in the competition.

It’s a given at the top level, but since Lionel Messi uttered those words at the start of the campaign, the Argentinian has been the only one following his own advice in each European match that he’s been involved in. 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

Lionel Messi’s injury might benefit Barcelona in the long-term

At the time, Lionel Messi’s fractured arm looked to be body blow for Barcelona. It came at the worst possible time for the Catalans, with games against Inter in the Champions League and Real Madrid in La Liga looming. Barca, as a team, are reliant on Messi and it was widely doubted that they would cope without their spiritual leader.

Since then, though, Barcelona have beaten Inter at home, drawing to the Italians at San Siro, thumped Real Madrid in El Clasico, also toppling Rayo Vallecano and Leganes on the road. Messi has been missed, but his absence has been dealt with an in an efficient way that looked beyond Ernesto Valverde’s side just a few weeks ago.

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Luis Suarez has stepped up to fill the void left by his Argentinean teammate, scoring six times in his last five appearances, including a hat-trick against Real Madrid. The Uruguayan has become the attacking hub around which Barcelona revolve in the final third, making up for Messi’s absence in more than one way.

Philippe Coutinho is another who has found his best form in recent weeks, driving Barcelona forward from deep in a way that Messi frequently does for the Catalans. Then there’s Ousmane Dembele, who has also come up with some big goals of late, and Arthur, who has slotted into the Barcelona midfield seamlessly since joining from Gremio in the summer transfer window.

It’s only natural that when Messi is on the pitch, Barca look to him. He has the ability to decide a game all on his own. The sport has never seen a player like him before, and so it’s not only natural, but it’s right that Valverde should build his team around such a talent. It’s in Barca’s interests to harness their best player.

Nonetheless, it’s good for the Catalans to have depth, as well as diversity in talent and tactics. This is where Messi’s recent injury, which has kept him sidelined for the past three weeks, could actually benefit Barcelona in the long-term, certainly in the latter stages of the season.

They have proved to themselves that they can cope without their number 10, that they can still pull off big results in big games. In recent years, Barca have tired late on in the season. This is what contributed to their humiliating exit from the Champions League to Roma last term, with Valverde reluctant to rotate his squad.

Messi is now into his thirties, meaning Valverde might have to take greater care with his greatest asset. The Argentinean perhaps can’t play every minute of every game for Barcelona. Not so long ago, this might have been considered an issue, given how reliant the Catalans were on him. Now, the burden may have been eased.

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La Liga Weekend Picks – Round 12

parteyWith a full card of action scheduled in La Liga this coming weekend, let’s take a look at which players are worth consideration for inclusion in your fantasy teams over the next few days. With some nice fixtures coming up such as Sevilla doing battle with Espanyol, Celta Vigo hosting Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid hosting Athletic Bilbao (on Saturday) there will be plenty to keep you entertained between Friday and Sunday, so without further ado we will adopt a 4-3-3 formation this week and get cracking!

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La Liga Best XI – Week 11

ponsThis past weekend saw a couple of cracking games in La Liga, with Real Betis and Celta Vigo fighting out a thrilling 3-3 draw while Barcelona earned a hard-fought victory at Rayo Vallecano, triumphing 3-2. That win means the Catalans retain their three point lead over local rivals Espanyol at the top of La Liga, while Vallecano are four points adrift from safety, sitting second bottom. With that in mind, let us now take a look at which 11 players performed the respective roles the best in La Liga this weekend.

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Euro Fantasy League Podcast – #26 – Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha remembered

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Jamie and Dave are back with October’s edition of the Euro Fantasy League Podcast! In this episode the lads kick things off by remembering Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, wishing luck to Glenn Hoddle and discussing some of the issues from the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A over the last month. Gareth Bale, Lionel Messi, Jose Mourinho, Mauricio Pochettino and more are discussed. Continue reading

Luis Suarez offers a reminder of his quality in El Clasico clash

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Luis Suarez gave Barcelona fans a reminder of his goal scoring brilliance, with a hat-trick in the 5-1 La Liga win over Real Madrid on Sunday. Simply out, Suarez tipped El Clasico in Barca’s favor.

Suarez netted a first half penalty, given after the referee consulted with VAR following a foul by Raphael Varane, before two expertly taken goals in the second half sealed the win for Ernesto Valverde’s side.

Much of the pre-match talk was on the absence of Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi through injury, but Uruguayan international Suarez reminded the world exactly what he is still capable of.

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