With the win against Sporting Gijon, Barcelona now
The way they demolished
To make things even better for Barcelona, their chief rivals Real Madrid aren’t exactly in the best shape at the moment; with a new and inexperienced manager in Zidane at the helm and a transfer embargo looming over their head among other internal turmoils, it doesn’t look at the moment that they can seriously challenge Barcelona, at least in the La Liga. But history and common sense tell us that things will probably not be as easy as many may think right now – in other words, don’t expect Barcelona to walk over to collect the treble unopposed, if they do end up doing it (and the odds are probably against it) it will take something really special.
Barcelona are undoubtedly in a great position at the moment, but it needs to be kept in mind, first and foremost, that no team has ever defended the Champions League in its current format; that includes Guardiola’s Barcelona, who were arguably even better than the current incarnation and the clear favorites to defend the title in 2010 and 2012. Inter and especially Chelsea’s victories were considered massive upsets at the time, but in a Cup competition things like that are always bound to happen. Being the best team over a season doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win a competition where one or two bad matches are enough to end your campaign. While La Liga seems to be in Barcelona’s hands at the moment and they’ll also be huge favorites to retain their Copa del Rey title against Sevilla, the Champions League is a different story altogether.
On paper, you’d favor Barcelona in any potential matchup against Europe’s best. With the likes of Neymar, Suarez, and Messi firing on all cylinders and staking a claim for being perhaps the
But again, it needs to be remembered that Inter and Chelsea weren’t really perceived as ‘obvious threats’ back in 2010 and 2012; in fact, Barcelona
The upcoming tie with Arsenal is considered by most as a shoo-in for the Blaugrana, but it’s unlikely to be that easy. Arsenal
Another quirk of cup competitions is the possibility of key players picking up injuries at the worst possible time. As ominous as Barcelona look right now, an injury to someone like Iniesta or especially Messi could be enough to make the difference between winning and losing against a European heavyweight. A 6-point lead in the La Liga is relatively comfortable, but not comfortable enough that Luis Enrique will be allowed to rest players for the Champions League. In that sense, though, the additions of Vidal and Turan will prove invaluable as they’ve added some depth to a very thin squad that has played a huge amount of matches over the past two years. Vidal provides cover for Daniel Alves while Turan’s versatility will allow him to play in either midfield or on the wing, according to the team’s necessities.
The next 3 months have the potential to be another glorious page in Barcelona’s rich history, as well as another feather in Lionel Messi’s legacy as arguably the greatest player ever, but it will require everything to go right. Winning La Liga and Copa del Rey will be hard enough, but becoming the first team to defend the Champions League title will be a monumental task.
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