Fourth humiliating defeat or a sixth CL trophy for the mighty Barcelona?
Will it be the fourth consecutive year that Barcelona suffer a humiliating defeat in the premier club tournament or will they get their hands on the coveted Champions League trophy for the sixth time?
It has been a long time since Barcelona last won the Champions League trophy. What’s more disheartening is the heavy losses the team has been suffering for the past few years.
Obviously, last year famous 8-2 thrashing from Bayern Munich highlighted the hollowness created in the team and the Board of the Blaugranas seems to have done well to fill up space.
The mass exodus of some of the biggest names of the club created a lot of buzz on the internet. But the team also had a few good additions and additionally, this will finally give the talented products from La Masia academy to showcase their talents.
Philippe Coutinho has returned from his loan in the Bundesliga and looks stronger far more technically. He has had an amazing restart of his Barcelona career. He already has 1 goal and 2 assist to his name, but stats are not the yardstick to measure the performance of a player like him.
The mere presence of the Brazilian is an advantage. He adds a lot of creativity and talent in the midfield. Coutinho will be the link to connect the midfield and the attack. Especially after his big success with Bayern Munich, he looks set to repeat the same with Barcelona.
Barca fans all over the world are obviously rejoiced to see their captain back at his best. Probably for every Barca fan the smile on his face that he gave against Villarreal was more than the Champions League trophy.
Messi also has had a great start to the season, with a goal and assist and a fruitful international break with Argentina.
Messi alone can win you the Champions League and now he has players like wonderkid Ansu Fati, Coutinho and Greizzmann at his side. If the board manages to keep the legend patient and satisfied, he will single-handedly bring home the coveted trophy.
The defence looks steady
The defence of Barcelona has been the talking point for a quiet few years now. But this season things look different.
Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique are back at their best. Clement Lenglet after a tough last season is now delivering sturdy performances. Along with this, Barcelona has secured Soringo Dest, who will inject a lot more pace into the backline. At last the man of all-season, Sergi Roberto also looks focused.
Thought Barca may have conceded a few goals in their last outings, but never did their defence look un-organised the way they were last season. The pressing looks to be in sync and focussed.
There is a clear rhythm between the full-backs and the central defenders, and above all, there seems to be a lot of passion and commitment in their play.
A look of Caution
The first thing that would be a cause of concern for any manager of the team is growing age. Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquests, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, all are now in their thirties. Also, Philippe Countinho, Antoine Greizzmann and Mirelem Pjanic no more represent the youth.
The only young regular players in the team are Frenkie de Jong, Ousmane Dembele, Seringo Dest and Ansu Fati. Any injury to the aged stars can take a long time to heal.
This could sideline them for quite a few days. These injuries could come calling during the latter part of the knock-out stages in the Champions League.
Valuing the Chances
Barcelona has a great team and the presence of arguably the greatest player the world has ever seen. However, to get the best out of the players, the team must be in good hands. If the board and the staff can make things strike in the correct way, the path is bright for the Blaugaranas.
Featured image credits: LatinAmericapost