What a depressing week for FC Barcelona. Despite progressing into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey at the expense of eternal rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona certainly did not impress in the midweek Clasico. Sure, they raced into a 2-0 lead, but the second half performance was sub-standard, although how I would have given for a similar performance yesterday against Villarreal. That’s just how bad they were.
I don’t really care that we are unlikely to win the league, after all, this level of success simply is unsustainable, it is just the sequence with which Barcelona are "losing it". It is clear that this team is still the best in the world. We even have a badge on the middle of our shirts to tell us this, not to mention countless victories against the next best club in the world, Real Madrid.
However, the best club in the world can no longer claim to be the most consistent side in Spain, which is what is hard to accept. How can you be the best, but not beat the majority of sides you face? Simply infuriating.
Last night’s match was a cruel blow, we know that Barcelona can beat Villarreal, but the combination of their league standing, current form and the sheer magnitude of the three points available ensured that is was a bad day to be a Culé. You couldn’t help but feel disappointed, it was a winnable match. The substitutes had a huge impact, but were simply left on the bench for too long to influence the game.
Pep Guardiola has got things right for so long, without anyone really noticing the intricacies involved in each decision, that he has taken the majority of the blame for the draw. It would be easy to point the finger at Pep, after all, it suits us down to the ground. It means that we could have won that game, as opposed to if we realise the players were not up for it. It’s an over-reaction, but something that can be rectified. Unfortunately, it is wrong.
The players are disinterested away from the Camp Nou. They can produce when it matters, when it suits them, when the world are watching, but when things are a bit quiet, they switch off. We just have to hope that Bayer Leverkusen and the Champions League is suitable motivation, otherwise the Blaugrana could be in for a nasty surprise. Long way until we reach that stage though.
This week, Brodie asked the question of who you would sign from Real Madrid, and it’s taken me a while, but I would opt for Enzo Zidane. It would quite frankly piss Real Madrid off to lose the son of their legendary number five, not to mention one of the few talents from their youth academy. Come on Enzo, you know we would treat you right!
Now for the million dollar question: So then what if we could take one, or two players from this Real Madrid side to bolster our line-up? (They can’t beat this Barcelona team so they’re basically at our mercy. Whipping Boys, at best. So we are entitled and at liberty to discuss this matter, at least until they beat us.) Who would we take? Would the choice be based on those who’ve had experience playing alongside their Spanish compatriots? Which player would fit the best into the system, or add another dimension to what Guardiola has already realized to this point?
I would talk a little more about the Villarreal game, but it really is worth forgetting, ready to move onto Wednesday and Valencia. However, in the build-up to the game, I answered a few questions for Villarreal USA, and as it turns out, my answers were pretty spot on. Villarreal did sit back and absorb the pressure, they did not repeat their pathetic showing from Jornada Two and they got a favourable result after reaching the half on level terms. Why couldn’t I have been wrong?
At least now we find out what this team is really made of.