Barcelona is known for their high ambitions and exorbitant standards and they sit at the top of the La Liga table and are looking forward to a solid campaign in Europe.
They have always had everything needed to win the biggest club competition in the world and they intend to do just that this year. We take a look at the reasons why Barcelona may or may not win the tournament, given their current state. After a “dip” in form by their standards, Valverde’s men are ready to go all guns blazing at the title of European supremacy.
With a star-studded squad and a massive transfer budget, they will be one of the favorites to win the league. Their margin for error, however, still remains incredibly slim for the La Liga giants.
A Rejuvenated Defense: Barcelona’s defense has been extremely solid. The signing of Nelson Semedo has worked out and the Spanish side has conceded less than half a goal per game. The defense was a problem for Barca last season and Ernesto Valverde has addressed that issue well enough.
A belligerent Lionel Messi: The little magician is back to his scorching best and has racked up 12 goals and 5 assists in 13 games. The Argentina megastar has shown why some call him the greatest of all times and he is pulling the team forward with everything he has got. With Luis Suarez not in the best form, Messi has been Barcelona’s big hero. He has made his intentions about the Champions’ League very clear. With the kind of form he is in, he may stroll towards the Ballon d’Or next year.
Messi stats and heat map against Valencia yesterday:
Passes (Acc.): 74 (78%)
Key passes: 3
Dribbles completed: 3
Shots (on target): 2 (2)
Chances created: 2
Duels won: 9 pic.twitter.com/yFqefAL9Uq
— CE Stats (@CEStats) November 27, 2017
Help from the bench: A lot here has to do with Paco Alcacer. The youngster has grown up to become a very capable striker who is feared by a lot of defenses in the league. Gerard Deulofeu and Sergi Roberto have also come off the bench to impact games. This trend will help the team to get through a lot of games when fatigue strikes from playing a lot of games.
Newbies settling down: The likes of Ousmane Dembele, Nelson Semedo, and Gerard Deulofeu are still getting into their stride at Camp Nou. They are all incredibly talented players but haven’t hit top gear yet for their new clubs. As the season rolls, these stars will get better and better which will lend Barcelona extra help in their conquest.
Lack of big games: Barcelona have played well so far but they have not played many big matches this season. They faced Juventus in the Champions’ League and Valencia in La Liga- and failed to win both of them. Once they get into playing big sides every now and then, the picture may change. Barcelona will have to treat the big games with extreme caution.
England’s Champions League revival: The English teams can be a factor. Premier League clubs had a bit of a slump in form when there were no English teams in the Champions’ League semi-finals for a few years. This is probably going t change this year. Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea have top quality squads under very able managers. Liverpool, despite their problems in defense, can be very dangerous especially in big games.
Luis Suarez’s goal-scoring form: We hope that it’s form and not age that has kept the 30-year-old from scoring more goals. Luis Suarez’s current situation is putting a lot of pressure on Lionel Messi and he needs to get back to his best. He has, however, managed to keep scoring and has 5 goals in 10 La Liga games. But despite that, the Uruguayan doesn’t look his usual lethal self and needs to find his winning touch again.
Barcelona has many players in the current squad who have won them the UEFA Champions’ League. The league leaders have the firepower needed to go on and win the league and claim their place and Ernesto Valverde has done an excellent job so far. But, whether he can go the distance or not remains to be seen. With a little help from the medical team and lady luck herself, Barcelona can win more than enough.