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Just how good are Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona?

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Chelsea FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Barcelona are having a pretty incredible season it has to be said. The team are seven points clear in La Liga and still to taste defeat, into the Copa del Rey final and looking good in the Champions League.

Yet there’s still a real doubt about just how good the team is, particularly in comparison to some of the legendary teams of the past.

Barcelona have not been setting the word alight with the amazing, free-flowing football of old, which has drawn plenty of criticism, despite their brilliant record this season.

Tuesday’s Champions League draw with Chelsea was a case in point. Barca struggled to break down a compact and organised Chelsea defence and weren’t at their best. Yet they still dominated possession for long spells, grabbed an away goal and head into the secong leg with the tie just about turned in their favour.

It wasn’t a great performance, but it’s a great result and that’s pretty much what this season has been about. Fortunately that’s also how success is measured in football.

Yet despite their results Guillem Balague reckons this is the worst Barcelona team in a decade. Here’s what he thinks of the current league leaders.

“Have a look at the calendar and it was 10 years ago that Pep Guardiola arrived. Since then the standards have been very high and this is a Barcelona side that still depends too much on Messi and also Iniesta, who struggles with 90 minute performances in every game, which is why Ernesto Valverde chooses when he plays.

“It has to be a particular type of game that Barcelona controls to see the best Iniesta and when that doesn’t happen Barca lose control. Of course they want Coutinho and Arthur and Dembele to improve the team, but right now, the Barcelona against Chelsea was frustrating and, having set their standard so high, was the worst of the last decade.

“Not only have they seen the difficulties and lack of quality throughout the squad, they are acting upon it and want to get rid of eight players. That suggests they agree with me and this is the worst Barcelona of the last decade.”

Source | Sky Sports

Standards are very high at Barcelona and that is something Valverde will be well aware of, but he can also only work with the players he has available and the squad is clearly not as strong as in years past.

Yet for all the criticism the team has received this season, and although it’s still a dream at this point, Valverde could yet end the season with the treble.

So just how good is this team? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!