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The Two Horse Race

Creative Commons License photo credit: mcveja

I know it may sound a little bit crazy to say about the record breaking club, but Barcelona is having a less then spectacular year so far this season. 

I realize they just recently lost their first league match of the year, and they are currently in first place in La Liga and fifteen points ahead of third place Valencia, but when you are the first treble winners in your league’s history then the expectations for the next season become nearly impossible to reach because you have already accomplished so much. 

Going into the year many fans of the most beautiful game believed Barca was destined for a repeat treble after the signing of superstar forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  And to be honest winning the league title, the Copa del Rey, or the Champions League title is an extraodinary feat in itself.  So winning all three in the same season is basically considered a miraculous feat that of course has never been done by any La Liga squad. 

But this season Barca doesn’t even have the number one offense in La Liga (they are five goals back from Madrid) and the club doesn’t have the goal advantage either as of right now.  Of course they do have the most important stat (the most points in the league) and Madrid will play Sevilla this weekend whereas Barca will play a much worse Almeria squad and be granted the opportunity to move further up the board.  But it seems as if the gap has been narrowed down by Madrid this season with spectacular offense rather then poor play from Barcelona.

And the same could be said for the club’s performance in tournaments.  They are still alive in the Champions League and haven’t by any stretch of the imagination played poorly and will likely make it to the finals, but they need a critical win next match to assure those things happen.  Also the club was knocked out of the Copa del Rey against Sevilla earlier in that tournament as well. So maybe Barca isn’t as dominant as they were a year ago or maybe clubs are stepping up their game when they play against the treble winners.

Last year Barca scored 22 more goals then the second place squad.  This season they are trailing with plenty of football left in the year.  And although Madrid has taken over the goal advantage this year along with a stronger offensive performance, they still remain inferior in one crucial category. 

Barcelona is the only club that has Lionel Messi on their team.  And that is a nice advantage to have over the rest of the world.