Feb 272013
 

Last night Real Madrid convincingly beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp for the first time in many years.

The Catalans were beaten 3-1 at the Nou Camp in the Spanish Cup, just a week after being beaten relatively easily by AC Milan.

If there is one thing Barcelona fans enjoy more than beating Real Madrid, it is defeating Jose Mourinho. And if there is one thing those same supporters like less than being beaten by the capital club, is it losing to the Madrid team coached by the Portuguese. Tuesday night’s loss, then, was particularly painful.

Following their latest disappointment, Barsa have gone from being the world’s best to a team in turmoil – seemingly in the space of just a few weeks. Last Wednesday’s damaging defeat at AC Milan set the alarm bells ringing for the Catalan club. By Tuesday night, the fires were blazing. “There is no point in dramatising,” stand-in coach Jordi Roura remarked after losing to Madrid. Few fans will share that sentiment.

So where has it all gone wrong for Barcelona?

Milan and Madrid used similar tactics to frustrate the Catalans, breaking Barca by soaking up pressure and hitting the Blaugranawith quick counterattacks. Have Barsa been found out? Not exactly, because most sides opt for such strategies against them, yet Milan and Madrid are better than the majority of those and the Catalans have looked less adept at both scoring and saving goals in recent times. Previously, however, such obstacles were often overcome with relative ease.

With Pep Guardiola gone and Tito Vilanova recovering from cancer in New York, Barsa have been stripped of the two men who led this project from the outset in 2008 and Roura is looking less like a man who can lead this team to further triumphs.

Following on from Pep, isn’t as easy at was first expected.

Following on from Pep, isn’t as easy at was first expected.

 

Indeed, many Barcelona fans feared the worst when they saw the team for Tuesday’s match. Ever since the Milan game, it had seemed as if David Villa would at last get his chance. The Spain striker played and scored on Saturday, has been praised all week by the Catalan press and was even lauded by Messi. Yet come Tuesday night, his name was not on the teamsheet. It should have been.

By the time Villa was introduced, Barsa were already two goals down. It was too late. With Messi disappointing for the second big match in a row and isolated both times, the striker would have given Barsa something different, an added threat. Having remained at the club in January amid speculation he could leave, he will wonder what exactly he needs to do in order to start at the moment.

With a league game on Saturday against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, and their return leg against AC Milan luring, unless Barsa’s form changes dramatically, Sr. Rosell, Presidente of FC Barcelona, may have to start looking for the replacement he felt wasn’t necessary for Pep Guardiola, who will be at Bayern Munich as from next June.

Clive Jagger