Barcelona not Winning Pretty
Over the last four or five years, Spanish giants Barcelona had made it not only habit of winning, but winning pretty. Their breathtaking football has taken the world by storm, creating many new Barcelona fans than there was ever before. And inevitably, the name of their former manager Pep Guaridola will come up when Barcelona and their philosophy of beautiful football come up.
The man, who was born in the city and raised in the famous la Masia academy of Barcelona, has football flowing through his veins and having had the legendary Dutchman Johan Cruyff as his manager in his younger days has helped him develop a unique style that represents the club like nothing else. When the side thrashed Manchester United 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League final in 2011, many thought that this would be the kind of football that would rule the world for a long period of time.
But that hasn’t turned out to be the case, particularly in this new season. With Guardiola leaving his post as manager, handing over the reins of the club to former assistant Tito Vilanova, the club maybe winning, but not with the pretty and sumptuous football we relate with the club. The club’s last match against Sevilla away from home was a testament to that when the Catalans went down by 2 goals very early in the second half and had to depend on two moments of magic from Lionel Messi to clinch the tie, and that too, in stoppage time.
They may have had the perfect start to the season, but the opposition hasn’t been testing for the players, to say the least. Barcelona failed miserably in the biggest test so far in the season when they suffered a 2 loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup over two legs, and the capital club put on a master class performance against the Catalans in the second leg of the tie to completely outplay their eternal rivals.
For a team that swears by the philosophy of beautiful football, it will definitely not go down well with the board and although Vilanova’s appointment as the boss might have been just a few months back and they will know that he needs time, still, there must be questions raised about the performance of the club.
For the skeptics, this gives them the chance to criticize the club at the slightest opportunity, for its over reliance on the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Messi but it has to be understood that these three form the core of the club’s plays. If one takes out Hazard or Oscar or even Juan Mata from the Chelsea lineup, they will also stutter.
However, it is also true that the brand of football they follow doesn’t allow the promotion of individual performance. Maybe once in a while, one has to depend on some magic from Messi, but not always and this season, that dependence is increasing match after match on the Argentine striker.