The Weekly Review: Week 38 | Lionel Messi hitting top gear as FC Barcelona continues to irritate

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona (L) duels for the ball with Mario Suarez of Club Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on September 24, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. barcelona won 5-0 and Messi scored his second hat-trick this season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Can you say erratic? In the last couple of weeks Culés, pundits and critics alike have been treated to some inconsistent, if not unpredictable, performances. For every epic battering of an opponent there’s an equally as woeful display of abysmal defending in the next fixture. FC Barcelona has yet to achieve consecutive victories. Pep’s squad either keeps a clean sheet and dominates its opponents, or draws the game 2-2. It’s like FC Barcelona has developed a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of personality. When it’s good, it’s wonderful and when it’s bad, it’s just awful. Judging by recent performances I’m inclined to believe that Mr. Hyde will reappear one the scene once more, in the UEFA Champions League against FC BATE Borisov. Due to FC Barcelona’s lack of "real" defenders, Pep Guardiola has not only been forced to employ central midfielders (!) as makeshift center backs, he has also used the 3-4-3 formation more often than feasible. If Valencia FC’s Roberto Soldado had not tried his best to give Chelsea FC’s Fernando Torres a run for miss of the season, FC Barcelona would have paid the price for Pep’s insistence to not buy a defender during the summer months. If I’m being honest, my beloved Blaugrana didn’t deserve to not lose the game against Valencia. Furthermore I dare to say that FC Barcelona have been found out. A Valencia side featuring the likes of David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata would’ve ruthlessly exploited the Grand Canyon-like holes in Barca’s defense.

Valencia 2-2 Barcelona Goals Highlights HD 21/09/2011 

Valencia CF - a legitimate threat once again?
The battle should be fascinating. Barcelona-Valencia games may have lost the glamour status they carried at the beginning of the previous decade; but this time around, Barca have to travel to face a rejuvenated club with real ambition. Emery's men will have a chip on their shoulder that should prove difficult to surpass. After years spent in limbo, this time around, Valencia are a truly formidable foe. - Michael Doran

Keep in mind, Michael wrote and published his editorial before the Valencia fixture.

It’s just dumb luck that prevented FC Barcelona from recording their first loss of the season. The more I think about it, the more I hope there’s actually some truth to the Gary Cahill transfer rumors. The Bolton Wanderer’s player will be available for a cut-price fee in January (read: no more than €6 million, tops). According to several media outlets even Real Madrid has joined the hunt for the England international. Though I’m in favor of a move for Cahill let’s see what Jose had to say write about this:

FC Barcelona: Bolton Wanderer's Gary Cahill an option for January
Cahill would improve Barcelona's ability to compete for Silverware on all fronts if he could adapt quickly to the technical nature of La Liga. Adapting to new surroundings would definitely be an issue that Cahill would need to overcome but he seems to posses the technical attributes that would make him a good signing. - Jose A.

However, Cahill, or any other defender for that matter, wasn’t really required when FC Barcelona dished out yet another hammering following an underwhelming draw. This time it was a hapless Atletico Madrid side that found themselves on the receiving end of the abuse inflicted by Lionel Messi & Co. The little Argentine was in irresistible form. But then again, does he ever stop being outstanding? His hattrick against the Rojiblancos has put him on track to overtake Laszlo Kubala as Barca’s no.2 all-time scorer in La Liga.

FC Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid 5-0 - All Goals & Highlights - [24.09.2011] 

Greatness Personified- Lionel Messi's March Into History
Similarly, in league play, his 124 goals, again, trail only the totals for Rodríguez (195) and Kubala (131). Messi should lay claim to #2 some time in the coming weeks, and is unlikely to have to wait past his 26th birthday to overtake Rodríguez. - Emile Avanessian

La Pulga is already FC Barcelona’s top scorer in international competitions, having surpassed Rivaldo’s record of 31 goals a while ago. His current goal-tally stands at 40. The boy is just 24 (!). Let’s hope his goal-scoring exploits can help FC Barcelona become the first club to retain the UEFA Champions League in its current format.

FC BARCELONA and Ol' Big Ears: Can Lightening Strike Twice?
One wouldn't bet against Barca, and I really do hope they go on to retain the trophy because no other team deserves it more. But considering, the 'curse' of the tournament and how teams like Madrid, United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and AC Milan have improved drastically in recent times, it would take a humongous dose of desire, hard work and luck (in regards to injuries for example) for Lionel Messi and co to lift the trophy again and rewrite the record books.

- Inder Methil

I guess we’ll find out soon…

 

I'm outta here.

Yours truly,

Sebastian

 

 

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