With thirteen major honours in four seasons Josep Guardiola forged a team that is widely regarded as the best club team ever. The immaculate and mystical ways, in which Barcelona have performed on the world stage; the Catalans have bequeathed a feeling of eternal contentment amongst the global assemblage.
It goes without saying, in football things can change rapidly. Not many teams would consider it an unfortunate campaign if they were to finish second in the league and make it to the last four of Europe’s most prestigious club competition. However, it is a different issue when it comes to Barcelona. Such is their appetite and avidity that coming out second best is simply not an option.
Already out of the Champions league and destined to lose the league title to bitter rivals Real Madrid these are ‘dark days’ in Catalonia. The season already branded as a fiasco has prompted people across the globe to believe that it is the end of road for Guardiola and his men.
Although all good things must come to an end, the alchemy of Barcelona is far too good to come to an end just yet. The aura of the profound personage in the Catalan ranks is way too paramount to evanesce so soon.
Barcelona have been subject to massive criticism following recent defeats against Chelsea in the Champions league and the title-decider against Real Madrid. Earlier considered as peerless, Guardiola’s tactics have come into question lately. The fact that Barcelona were the superior team against Madrid and Chelsea and yet failed to come away with a victory has raised eyebrows of millions across the globe.
In the first leg of the Champions league Semi-finals Barcelona managed an incredible 845 passes as compared to Chelsea’s 228 and in the process, creating 24 chances to Chelsea’s four. However, in the end it was Chelsea who came out victorious with a solitary goal which eventually decided the tie after the second leg in which the story was very much similar. It was no different at last week’s El Clasico as Barcelona dominated from the onset managing 700 passes compared to Madrid’s 273. However, both teams created equal number of scoring opportunities with Real Madrid scoring more than the home side. The lack of composure in front of the goal has never been in question for the Catalans before. However, having squandered numerous chances off late, the credibility of the players as well as the tactics have come into question. Questions are being raised regarding the absence of a back-up plan.
However, the fact that even the tightest of defences could not hold Barcelona from creating enormous amount of chances speaks volumes about them. Defeats have exposed Barcelona’s weakness. Every team has one. Barcelona have had trouble dealing with counter-attacks and direct football being played against them in the past. Despite the influx of Fabregas and Sanchez strengthening the squad, the absence of a top class defender and a strong centre forward has caused Barcelona all sorts of problems when playing against physically superior European sides. The poor form of Pedro Rodriguez and the absence of David Villa due to injury has aggravated Barcelona’s problems.
Despite the wave of negativity thrust upon the Catalans, a few changes, a couple of tweaks here and there will see Barcelona rise to prominence yet again. In a matter of days most people seem to believe that the football world has found a solution for Barcelona’s mechanism. While the footballing community plunges into the incredible depths of criticism, it’s time for Guardiola and Barcelona to equip themselves for the coming season and put together the missing pieces which will return them to their rightful place in world football.