Barcelona must prioritise Pique’s successor

Time and again we are told of Barcelona’s dependance on Lionel Messi and how they wouldn’t be close to the same team without his influence.

That is ostensibly true of course, but there are other players in the team that are coming to the end of their professional careers and for whom the Catalans will find just as hard to replace.

One of those is their central defender, Gerard Pique. Continue reading

There’ll never be another Gerard Pique

He’s been making waves in the tennis world recently, and his acknowledgment that he only gets four hours sleep a night hasn’t gone down well with his employers, but Barcelona are lucky to have Gerard Pique.

The elegant Catalan has been a rock at the heart of the Barca defence for the last decade, and it’s fair to say that he’s the glue that has held the back four together over the last few years.

It wasn’t always like that mind. Continue reading

Long way back for Umtiti

It wasn’t that long ago that Samuel Umtiti was a fixture in Barcelona’s back four. An untouchable player and one of the first on the team sheet.

He’d taken to La Liga effortlessly and, considering how prices for players have sky-rocketed, at just €25m, he looked like an absolute bargain.

His skillset also complemented that of Gerard Pique perfectly, and there were never any question marks over his starting spot in the team.

In the space of a year, all that has changed. Continue reading

How Barcelona will beat Man Utd

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They might be favourites to win the tie over two legs, but there’s no way that Barcelona will be taking Manchester United lightly, particularly at Old Trafford.

Playing at the Camp Nou for the second leg may seem to afford the Catalans an advantage of sorts, but Ernesto Valverde and his team will want to make that a formality.

In order to do so, they’ll need to take the game to the Red Devils and quieten the expected 75,000 crowd.

But just how are they going to manage it?

Continue reading

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

Should Pique be dropped?

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Gerard Pique remains a world class defender, however, does that make him un-droppable for Barcelona?

In the recent past, the elegant Catalan will be the first to acknowledge that he’s not been at his best for his club side.

A dip in form is only to be expected from time to time, but should a player then be taken out of the firing line or allowed to work through it? 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

Abject Spain crash out of tournament

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Fernando Hierro’s Spain were left licking their wounds as they crashed out of the World Cup Following a disappointing performance that leaves many querying where they go from here.

Spain went ahead early in the tie when 38-year-old Russian defender Sergei Ignashevich inadvertently turning a Marco Asensio free kick into his own net as he bid to stop Sergio Ramos at the back post.

Despite going ahead, Spain failed to turn their dominance into further chances and paid the price before half-time as the tournament hosts secured a shock penalty as Artem Dzyuba’s header from a corner hit Gerard Pique‘s outstretched arm. Continue reading

La Liga Team of the Week Match May 38

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An enthralling La Liga season has drawn to a close and many of the division’s stars will now be turning their minds to the upcoming World Cup in Russia. But who made a final in the last round of fixtures to secure a place in the last Team of the Week?

Marc ter Stegen, Barcelona – seven points

A final clean sheet of the campaign rounded off what has been a wonderful season for the German.

With 113 points to his name, ter Stegen will be eyeing a starting berth for his national team come the World Cup. Continue reading

Germany and Spain lay out draw in La Liga-studded clash

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With La Liga action being suspended for the international break, we took the opportunity to take a look at how many of the Spanish division’s top stars performed in the clash between Germany and Spain at the ESPRIT Arena – a game that saw Barcelona’s Marc Ter Stegen and Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos play for the hosts, as sixteen leading La Liga players featured in total.

Having come off the back of a successful qualifying group in which they won nine of their ten fixtures, Spain arrived in the game brimming with confidence and a desire to prove themselves against an elite side having whimpered out of the last two tournaments. Continue reading