The most cheerful set of results are falling in Barcelona’s favor and that clearly indicates that the Catalan Giants are enjoying the happiest of Christmas.
Barcelona moved 14 points clear of Real Madrid on Saturday in the La Liga, as Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi fired Barcelona past Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in a blazing Clasico. And on the other, thanks to the defeats of their pursuers, which have ensured that there is a gap of 14 points between them.
Exactly, three and a half months back from now, the scenario was entirely different. A disastrous Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid meant Ernesto Valverde’s campaign at the club was already tainted. But now after 3 and a half from that defeat, Barcelona is the most feared team on the planet, again. They are now on the top of the La Liga table and have even qualified for the knockout stages of Champions League.
Three months back it was said that Barcelona is no longer an all-conquering force and face a very uncertain future. But now everything is in front, they are 14 points ahead of their arch-rivals Los Blancos are looking to romp away with the La Liga trophy this season.
Lionel Messi Stands Alone:
Barcelona has a kind of player who starts or finishes the majority of his team’s attacking game. The player has again emerged as a single force which is capable of haunting other teams. The Argentine wizard again leads the Pichichi charts with 15 goals in 17 league games and has even played every minute in the La Liga this season for his team.
On Saturday, when Barcelona took on Real Madrid, the Argentine scored from a penalty for the second goal and even assisted Aleix Vidal for the third one. In the Champions League, where the player has been rested for two games, the wizard has three goals.
Luis Suarez Has been Reborn:
Suarez has been instrumental to Barca for the past three years and has contributed a hell lot of goals in this three. But at the start of 2017/18 campaign, Luis suffered a dip in form, which led to so many questions on his place in the Starting 11. Between the international break in November and the Christmas holidays, we have observed Luis Suarez’s return to form.
Luis Suarez in La Liga this season:
– from round 1 to 11: scored 3 goals
– from round 12 to 17: scored 7 goals pic.twitter.com/1czgwMaM9f
— adil (@Barca19stats) December 24, 2017
The Uruguayan could only score three goals in the first twelve league games, but in the last few weeks he has rediscovered his rhythm and has scored seven goals.
Valverde Has The Key To Victory:
Under Enrique, it was MSN (Messi-Suarez-Neymar) who used to create and score most of the goals. Rest of the team used to focus more on covering up the lost possession and counter attacks from the opponent. But now under Valverde, it is Messi and Suarez as Neymar departed for PSG at the start of the 2017/18 campaign.
Xavi: "I like the idea of Valverde's football. I think that years back, Barcelona lost their style. His idea represents a return to that philosophy, the one we all like." #fcblive [cat radio]
— FC Barcelona Fl (@FCBarcelonaFl) December 20, 2017
Valverde has made the team more stable, now they just don’t depend on their star forwards for goals. The midfield dominance is back and we can see that. And with Dembele’s injury, Valverde needed to shift to 4-4-2 from Barcelona’s traditional 4-3-3, as no decent alternatives were available for the Frenchmen.
Samuel Umtiti was injured against Celta Vigo and will be out of action until February. Earlier his injury was a major concern for the Catalan Giants. His energy allowed Thomas Vermaelen to enter the playing eleven. And now the Belgian had finally started to prove his worth. Nobody would’ve really wanted Vermaelen to start the Clasico.
He was really solid and held the ground in the most competitive game in the world. Vermaelen is now proving that he can survive at the club. His good form has limited Javier Mascherano to a substitute’s role. The Argentine could’ve played his last game for the Catalan Giants as he is eyeing a move to China.
And behind the back four stands Ter Stegen. The German has been in a sensational form this season, after just letting in eight goals in twenty-two games.
Barcelona has been linked with some of the best players from Europe and South America. Barcelona is targeting to improve the team and will be targeting a midfielder and a center back in January.