It's a good time to be a Barcelona fan right now. The beginning of the season is an encouraging one, with three very good and dominant La Liga wins against at least two worthy competitors. The Blaugrana had a tough stretch right at the season's kick-off, and they've cruised through it beautifully, securing a comfortable first place in the standings, standing alone at the top of Spain's First Division. They're the only team to win all three games, and no side other than Barça has gone the whole 270 minutes without conceding a goal.
This is an incredible start, and despite this being Luis Enrique's third official game as a manager, we are seeing things that we didn't see during the disastrous Tata Martino stint. The Lucho Era is based on balance. Enrique wants to win in convincing fashion, both on offense AND defense. Perhaps the biggest stat that illustrates that statement is the number of goals scored: six. It's a low number for Barça's standards, especially in the last three seasons -- Barça won the 2012/2013 season with 115 goals scored; right now, they're on pace for 76.
It doesn't matter. We can't hear any complaints from Barça fans or players. They don't care about the low number of goals scored. The defensive performance along with the domination showed in the first three matches are great signs of what's coming next.
Luis Enrique's scheme doesn't negate the historical style of Barça football. Offense, offense, and more offense. Chasing the goal at every moment, and trying to do it in good-looking fashion. The team keeps doing that. But the concern with the defense is worth noting. The team looked lost under Martino, and ugly mistakes and miscommunications that led to unnecessary goals were a constant. That's gone, for now.
Sure, Barça is going to concede goals one game or another. It's just harder to expect that now, and that's awesome to see. You're not desperate when the other team has the ball anymore. Now you think "nah, we're taking care of that, nothing is going to happen", as opposed to "NO, THEY HAVE THE BALL! THEY'RE GONNA CROSS! OH NO, ANOTHER FREAKING GOAL!". As of right now, it is part of the past.
On the offensive side of the coin, chill out. Luis Suárez is going to take care of that. The attack is going to be fine, as always. What troubled Barcelona in the last campaign was their inability to defend. Now, not only do they have that ability, they also make you feel safe watching your team.
Again, it's VERY EARLY, but I don't remember feeling that excited for a Barça season in quite some time. The Balancelona Era is upon us. Let's sit back, have a beer and enjoy some nice wins.
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