A Revista Cadernos de Cultura e Ciência é de caráter nacional e multidisciplinar, cadastrada com o ISSN 1980-5861.

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Barcelona's Breakdown

por Stella Younger (2019-04-24)

Once upon a time Barcelona was leading La Liga by twelve points and were in scintillating form, many suggesting they were the favourites for the UEFA Champions League as well. What a difference three weeks makes. Barcelona's lead has now been slashed from a seemingly unconquerable twelve points, to a very vulnerable four points. All of a sudden there is a strong shadow of a doubt about Barcelona's title chances and their chances in Europe as well.

A1014705.jpgThink back to December when Real Madrid, being in all sorts of trouble, finally parted ways with their German manager Bernd Schuster. Enter Juande Ramos. He had the toughest assignment of them all in his first game in La Liga, an away trip to the Camp Nou. The game was almost a mismatch. 'El Clasico' as it is known, ended pretty one sided. An already desperate Real Madrid who were already nine points behind their bitter rivals, now were staring at a twelve point gap, and it wasn't even Christmas yet.

I'm not sure what Santa Claus had in store for Ramos and Madrid, but it sure was good. Madrid have not lost a game since that day, and have been incredibly consistent. Ever since the signing of Lasanna Diarra in the defensive midfield position, their defensive record has been even more outstanding. I think they've finally found a long term replacement for Claude Makelele. They have been scoring goals as well, despite injuries to key strikers such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy. The problem for Real was that Barcelona kept winning, so the gap continued to remain at twelve points for a couple of months. However, Real's persistence has finally paid off, and in the last three weeks Barcelona has dropped eight points. It all points to an exciting end to the La Liga season.

So what has gone wrong for Barcelona? In short, it is their defence that is faltering and more recently it seems their major stars, with the exception of Messi, aren't doing their bit in attack either. Their first slip up was against Real Betis, and although they did dominate possession, they conceded two early goals that they shouldn't have. They had to play catch up from then on and eventually came away with a 2-2 draw. The loss to Espanyol was simply a matter of Barcelona not taking their chances. Again, Barcelona dominated, but Espanyol took the chances they had and let's not forget that goalkeeper Victor equipaciones de futbol originales Valdes had a shocker and was entirely at fault for Espanyol's second goal. He hasn't been great in goal recently, and I think a club as big as Barcelona deserves a better goalkeeper. His weaknesses haven't been exposed until now due to Barcelona doing so well at the other end of the pitch, but now that they have been, it might be time for a change.

If the first two results could be put down to "bad luck" the last one certainly cannot. Losing 4-3 to Athletico Madrid, after leading 2-0, is of real concern. Athletico had no less than 22 shots at the Barcelona goal, and their four goal haul also included a penalty. If this doesn't show that the Barcelona defence is nervous then I don't know what does. This game in particular will really affect the confidence of the Barcelona players but it is important that they bounce back soon, especially with the Champions League around the corner. All of a sudden Lyon is starting to believe that they can upset the Spanish giants in the second leg of their round of sixteen tie.

Whatever happens from now, we are certain to see a tight finish to La Liga, and what once was almost a foregone conclusion, will now be a question of who is more hungry for the title, Barcelona, or Real Madrid?

ISSN: 1980-5861