Barcelona have only manged to take just one point from their last three La Liga games and have allowed Atletico and Real Madrid to crawl their way back in the title race. At this point, Atletico are only 3 points while Real are just 4 points behind Luis Enrique’s men.
That is not it, Barca could only muster a narrow 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou in the Champions League quarter final 1st leg tie. By all means that tie is still alive and could very well see holders get knocked out of the tournament tomorrow night.
So what has suddenly gone wrong for Barcelona after a seemingly unstoppable season thus far? The obvious answer would be the lack of form and goals from their mercurial front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
The game against Villarreal could prove to be the real turning point where Barcelona let slip their 2-0 lead from a freakish Jeremie Mathieu’s own goal. The game ended with a 2-2 draw and Barcelona have not recovered since then.
That result was followed by the El Clasico defeat where a 10-men Real Madrid stifled Barcelona and showed the world how Barcelona were beatable. Atletico had almost managed that but Fernando Torres’ red card changed it all. Then Real Sociedad adopted the same technique and defeated Barcelona 1-0 last Saturday.
Lionel Messi has not scored in last 4 games which is a rarity given his goal flurry this season. Teams have marshaled him really well and have forced him to drop deep in to midfield to receive balls and influence games.
Neymar looked tired and overworked in recent matches and is not been able to win games for his team. Only player who has looked the part for Barcelona in their time of adversity is Luis Suarez.
Former Liverpool striker scored both the goals against Atletico Madrid and will once again be an important player for Barcelona in the return leg. In a way, Barcelona seem to be more relied on their mercurial front three to win games, but at times they need to be bailed out as well.
That is where other players at Barcelona need to step up and raise their game which they have not done in recent times. Luis Enrique would want to establish his current team as a fully functioning unit rather than relying on his gifted individuals.
Champions League 2nd leg tie will be a massive game in Barcelona’s season where if they come out victorious, we could see a strong finish from The Catalans. However, if they lose or get knocked out then even winning the La Liga title would get extremely difficult for them in the remaining 5 matches of the season.
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