When Barcelona started 2009/10 season, they were champions of Europe and Spain. They also had won the Copa del Rey. However, at the start of this season, they were only the Spanish champions.
This season, it seems that Barcelona have taken another step back. They have scored 14 goals so far, compared to Real’s 22 and have a goal difference of 8 compared to Madrid’s 18. Barcelona are currently only a point behind the leaders, Real Madrid and are in 3rd place behind Villarreal on goal difference.
The table doesn’t seem worrying at the moment but what is worrying, is the form and over all game play of the most decorated football team in the World. Bettor.com has analysed the new signings made by Barcelona and seen how are they coming along compared to their predecessors.
The Spanish world cup star was expected to walk into this team and feel at home straight away. However, this has not been the case. The little man, who replaced the giant Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has only managed to find the back of the net twice in 7 games. This isn’t good enough for a player who was bought to the club for a reported 40 million Euros.
In contrast, last year’s ‘flop’ signing Ibrahimovic had managed 7 goals from 7 games at this stage of the season. The big Swede later found it hard to adjust to the playing style of Barcelona. This was the reason why Barcelona opted for a player who looked to have developed great understanding with Barca players, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro and Busquets, when playing for Spain.
While there is a general consensus that its only a matter of time before the former Valencia man reaches his peak form and starts banging in goals week in week out, at the moment this is being done by none other than Lionel Messi.
The starlet has been deployed on the left and through the middle by Pep Guardiola. Although, he has looked sharper when on the left, he still looks a shadow of a player who took the World Cup by storm.
Lauded as the best defensive midfielder in the world and suggestions that he is the final piece of Guardiola’s dream team, Javier Mascherano has failed to make the impact that was expected of him.
Signed from Liverpool amid controversy, the Argentina captain is certainly one of the best, if not the best of all defensive midfielders in the world.
He has replaced Yaya Toure in the Barcelona midfield. The Ivorian did not have the best of times last season, when he played a more prominent role on the bench rather than on the pitch. However, he stepped up to the plate whenever called upon.
Mascherano produced his best display in the Champions League where he was singled out for praise by manager Pep Guardiola. He too like Yaya Toure has been on the bench more than he would have liked to.
Like Villa, Mascherano was also expected to make Barcelona invincible but both the new boys are finding their feet in a new team.
The Old Lot:
Players like Xavi Hernandez and Andre Iniesta have been playing too much football of late and this has been shown in their early season form. Xavi seems to have been going on non-stop for three years now and it seems too much football is starting to take its toll on the midfield maestro.
Both these Spaniards are integral to Barcelona’s make up and when on song, they make Barcelona tick, along with Lionel Messi.
Pedro was a revelation last season but he has failed to impress so far in this campaign.
It only shows that if an out of form Barcelona can sit only a point behind in form league leaders, Real Madrid than an in form Barcelona, with the likes of David Villa and Javier Mascherano settling in, can make the Catalan giants simply irresistible.