I think all the football fans will be thinking the same thing today:
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO F.C. BARCELONA???
The team, that was the envy of the football world at the start of April, has fallen in spectacular fashion in a duration of 3 weeks. And it all started during the Clasico.
The Pre-Collapse Times:
Coming into the match with Real Madrid, Barcelona had opened up a 10 point gap over their arch-rivals and were 9 points above second-placed Atletico Madrid. They were on a 39 match unbeaten streak. The match was at Barcelona’s home ground, Camp Nou. The trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez was wreaking havoc everywhere it went.
The odds looked to be safely in Barcelona’s favour.
And then it all started.
Barcelona, leading against Madrid 1-0 till the 60th minute, lost the game 2-1. That was 2 weeks ago.
That loss was followed by a loss at Real Sociedad, where – strangely – Barca have failed to win even once in their past 6 outings. Called the “Anoeta Curse”, it struck again, and Sociedad won the match 1-0.
This was what was happening in the league. But the same fall was seen in the Champions league where they were ousted from the quarterfinals by Atletico Madrid.
The fall did not stop there, though. Hosting Valencia at home, they lost that match 2-1 too.
That loss to Valencia has surely thrown up a lot of questions.
- What is happening to them?
- Can they still go on to win the title?
- Whose fault is it anyway?
- Is the manager, Luis Enrique, to blame?
- Or had the players already started thinking that the title was in the bag?
- Is it black magic?
Ok, Ok. I admit the last question is mine. But the others are completely valid.
Football is a complex game. So pinning down one reason to explain the collapse is impossible. And it is saddening to watch a team full of superstars fail to perform for so long.
The Current Scenario:
Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, just leading the chase for so long throughout the season, will really be fancying their chances now. It is quite ironic to see how fast things can change in life. It just seems like yesterday when Sergio Ramos had commented that their own title chances depended on Barca’s fate in the league.
How true those words were!
(Someone seems to be happy about Barcelona’s downfall)
Well, both of them are back in the hunt, and it is anyone’s title now. Barcelona is just ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference while both are tied at 76 points. Real Madrid is third at 75 points.
If I could chip in with my own analysis, I would say that Barcelona has relied too much on their attacking trio, so much so that it is not able to handle any game in which they misfire. And I think it is all connected to a sense of fatigue.
It is not the first time that fatigue has set in the players. Over the past few years too, mini collapses have taken place among top teams who have been unable to play with the same energy throughout the year. But never before has a team fallen in such a dramatic fashion to change the entire equation of the race to the title.
That was one. The other reason is this:
Remove Messi, Suarez and Neymar; and Barca is not the same anymore. The substitutes like Arda Turan and Thomas Vermaelen have failed to impress this season, thus preventing Luis Enrique to rest his key players. And as I said, that is where the fatigue sets in.
From the beginning, it was Barcelona’s title to lose. And the situation now is for everyone to see. Lose one more match, and their title hopes will be all but over.
Let’s hope it does not come to that, though. I do have a soft spot for them.
But all we can do now is wait and watch.