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FC Barcelona: The Highest Scoring Team in Europe... and The Best Defense

It is a testament to the fantastic season Barcelona has been having in La Liga that, out of all European Leagues, Barcelona are both the most prolific scorers and the the most impenetrable defense.

Barcelona are firm leaders in La Liga and, after only 21 matches, they hold a disbelieving goal differential of +56, with 67 goals scored and only 11 conceded.

As far as scoring is concerned, only PSV comes even remotely close in Europe, with 58 goals (in 21 matches, as many as Barcelona). Manchester United, leaders of the much overrated Premier League, have only scored 45 goals, even thought they've played three more matches than Barcelona.

Overall, Barcelona have scored 108 goals this season and look set to beat the European record of goals in a single season... set by themselves in the glorious 2008/2009 season with 159 goals. This season, the team is averaging 2,91 goals per match (3,19 in La Liga), while they "only" averaged 2,56 in 2008/2009.

With the MVP attacking trio firing in all cylinders (76 goals, 47 in La Liga), Barcelona seem poised to beat all scoring records. Real Madrid's 107 league goals record from 1989/1990 is sure to be shattered.

In fact, out of Barcelona's first team players, only the goalkeepers and Javier Mascherano haven't scored yet, which highlights the offensive power of Pep Guardiola's Dream Team. Lionel Messi has been showing superhuman abilities and he already has a quite ridiculous 37 goals and 18 assists in only 32 matches!

But even Barcelona's often overlooked defense is the best in Europe, with merely 11 goals conceded in 21 league matches. In this department, only Borrusia Dortmund comes (very) close, with 12 goals conceded in 20 league matches.

This statistical dominance helps understand why Pep Guardiola's Dream Team has been steamrolling each and every opponent and why many pundits have hailed this current squad as one of the best all-time.

Yesterday, David Villa said that he believed this Barcelona side have what it takes to define an era and it's hard to argue with him. When you consider just how impressive the team has been and how (relatively) young the players are (the average age is 27, with more young talent coming through), it makes one wonder just how long this team can keep dazzling and dominating world football.

Tomorrow's match might well be an era-defning moment. A win would be the 16th straight league win for Barcelona, thus setting the record set in 1960-61 by Di Stefano's Real Madrid, another legendary team that marked an era.

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