Podcast discussing the latest news concerning FC Barcelona.
The BarcaBreakdown discuss Ronald Araujo's call up for the World Cup with Uruguay after recovering from thigh surgery. FC Barcelona must not be too happy with Araujo playing, as we experienced Samuel Umtiti hurting his knee permanently playing for France (and winning) in 2018. However, Araujo already had surgery and is recovering quicker than expected, which hopefully helps reduce any chance of injury. Here are the other Barca players at the World Cup 2022: Spain: Eric Garcia, Ansu Fati, Pedri, Gavi, Busquets, Ferran Torres, and Jordi Alba France: Ousmane Dembele and Jules Kounde Denmark: Eric Christensen Poland: Robert Lewandowski Brazil: Raphinha Netherlands: Frenkie De Jong and Memphis Depay Germany: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
The Barca Breakdown reviewed FC Barcelona's Victory against Osasuna. A game that seemed impossible to win after going down one goal and a man, Barca were able to muster the strength to take 3 points. This season, it has been atypical to see Barca perform well in the second half. But when it mattered most, Barca were able to score 2 goals and are now clear 5 points ahead of Madrid. The timing is perfect as all of soccer is heading into the international break for the World Cup. Barca were able to make their final mark and really solidify their place at the top of the La liga table. Subscribe to our channel for coverage of everything FC Barcelona - Thank you for your support!
The Barca Breakdown reviewed FC Barcelona's Victory against Valencia. A last minute goal by Lewandowski, assisted by Raphinha, gives Barcelona the win! However, the overall performance of the team was lackluster. Players look tired and off target with shots and passing. Physical and mental fatigue may be dwindling Barca's performances aside from all the individual injuries that riddle the team. The one saving grace Barca's La Liga record holds strong in run with Real Madrid and Barca are able to weather the storm of the October schedule. Two Liga games are left before the international break. Can Barca finish strong? Subscribe to our channel for coverage of everything FC Barcelona - Thank you for your support!
The Barca Breakdown reviewed FC Barcelona's defeat against Bayern Munish. Even before the game, Barca Europa League fate was sealed as Inter beat Plzen 4-0. With Barca knocked out of the Champions League two years in a row in the group stages, who is to blame? We tackle this question by addressing Xavi record this season, the players, and the Barca board. There were high expectations to the season and having them end again in harsh fashion has left the fan base split. Can Barca still make something of the season? Subscribe to our channel for coverage of everything FC Barcelona - Thank you for your support!
The Barca Breakdown reviewed FC Barcelona's victory against former manager, Ernesto Valverde's Athletic Bilbao. Xavi has really grown and chosen to try new lineups/strategies to adjust their play. This included playing 4 midfielders allowing Barca to control the midfield and push players forward. The star players were Dembele, Balde, and Frenkie De Jong. Additionally, Roberto played way more offensively adding to interplay with Demeble. This allowed Dembele to run in open spaces and connect with other players scoring a goal and contributing with 3 assists. Barca are on a upswing. Can Barca continue this trend in bigger profile games, including Wednesday's game against Bayern at the Camp Nou? Subscribe to our channel for coverage of everything FC Barcelona - Thank you for your support!
The Barca Breakdown reviewed FC Barcelona's victory against the Yellow Submarines, Villareal. The team that Barca lost to in their final game of last season at the Camp Nou. However, the tables were turned today's game as Barca were able to score 3 goals in the first half. Lewandowski scored a brace and face scored the third. The performance was overwhelmingly positive with Barca maintaining much of the possession and creating many opportunities. It's hard to tell what the reason behind Barca's success was as Xavi started a rather different line-up as of recently. We saw Frenkie De Jong start as the pivot in place of Busquets as well as Fati starting on the left wing and Torres on the right wing. Was it the midfield that provided the catalyst for the victory or was it the wingers? Could it also have been that Villareal did not perform very well and Barca took advantage? Whatever the case, Barce seems to be able to capitalize against many La Liga teams, but generally, in higher profile games, against strong teams Barca cannot find the same edge. Barca will face Athletic Bilbao and the return of Ernie Valverde in Sunday's game. Then they have another test against Bayern Munich midweek in the Champions League. Subscribe to our channel for coverage of everything FC Barcelona - Thank you for your support!
The Barca Breakdown reviewed FC Barcelona's defeat in El Clasico. As Real Madrid and Barca were tied on points heading into the game, a victory was crucial for either team. Although, it was Madrid who wanted it more. They dominated Barca in the transition and midfield control. However, it wasn't only the intensity that brought Madrid their victory, but Barca's poor defensive structure which left them susceptible to the counter attack. Yes, the ref wasn't great, but Barca did not play with intensity or a dynamic movement to overtake the Madrid defence. Too many times, Barca held onto the ball allowing for Madrid's defense to set itself up. Then there is Busquets. Again, he was too slow and made bad fouls resulting in a Madrid goal. Xavi was also slow to make substitutes after the first half in which Barca were losing 2-0. Xavi's stubbornness has seen Barca face difficult repercussions and it will only get harder towards the end of the month. Villareal is next on Thursday followed by Athletic Bilbao and Bayern Munich. Subscribe to our channel for coverage of everything FC Barcelona - Thank you for your support!
The Barca Breakdown reviewed FC Barcelona's draw in the second leg against Inter Milan at the Camp Nou. Every fan felt this game was do or die and the Camp Nou fans' energy was exuberant! The Blaugrana energy was also pouring out on the pitch as players pushed their physical limits. Dembele and Lewandowki were able to score 3 goals. However it wasn't enough. Barca were their own worst enemy as blunders from Pique, Busquets, and Eric Garcia resulted in 3 goals for the Italian side. The result is another knife in the side of Barca fans. Barca find themselves 3rd in the Champions League group still 3 points behind Inter. Inter must lose both remaining games and Barca must win both... but Barca still will face Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou. Xavi and his men will be faced with another challenge this weekend in the highly anticipated El Clasico against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu. A win against Real would bolster Barca's hopes of taking the La Liga title. Subscribe to our channel for coverage of everything FC Barcelona - Thank you for your support!
The Barca Breakdown discuss the loss in Italy against Inter Milan. In their 3rd Champions League game of the season, Barca find themselves 3rd in the group only able to score against Plzen. There were many problems in the game, but most issues can be isolated to Xavi's decisions and lack of adaptation. While Alonso can be a great asset, his start in this game is on question as he's only played against Bayern Munich and has had no other minutes since acquisition. Balde being the front man as left back was completely snuffed. Another issue falls in Raphinha playing on the left wing when it's clear his potential and skill are best found on the right wing. Despite this Barca had a few moments in the first half but were not equipped to break the low block defense of Inter. Where Xavi failed is his ability to adapt to the game and make player changes at appropriate times. The first substitute came in the 65'. Changes should have occurred after the first half at the earliest. Lastly, it appears Barca are struggling to be one cohesive team. Barca relies on individual skill and brilliance, especially when faced against better teams. They also are better suited against teams that fight for dominance as it opens the pitch up as opposed to teams with low blocks. Barca will face Celta Vigo this weekend and Inter again at the Camp Nou next week. Can Xavi adapt in a week?
The Barca Breakdown discussed the victory against Mallorca after returning from the international break. With all the injuries that racked up, Xavi had to change the line up. Alba started as the left back with Balde on the right back alongside Pique and Christensen. Appearing in the midfield was Kessie, Busquets, and Gavi with Dembele, Lewandowksi, and Fati on the attack. While this is not Xavi's first choice, considering the return from international break, injuries, and the need to rest players before the Champions League game against Inter Milan, it was a good decision. The game was rather underwhelming. Barca was able to create one brilliant chance from Lewandowski in the 20'. This goal was all Barca needed to win the game and take 1st on the table, well at least until Real play Osasuna tomorrow. Other than the goal, Barca were flat on their chances and did not provide many offensive opportunities. The largest and most worrying aspect of the game was Barca's effort in the defense. Many times, Barca players seemed lethargic, uninterested, and distracted. These moments allowed Mallorca opportunities to score, however, they were not clinical and could not convert any chances. It seems this game may be the game to brush off the cobwebs after the international break. Hopefully so, as Barca face Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday in which Barca play in Italy.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the unfortunate news of players injured during the international break. It seems Araujo, Kounde, De Jong, and Bellerin have all picked up injuries. This could not have come at a worse time as Barca are about to have the one of the most important months of the year in October. Barca face Inter Milan two times in the champions league along with the second leg of Bayern. While Barca must beat Inter Milan so that there is no question to move out of the group stages, this puts Xavi in quite a predicament. Barca are in second place (2 points behind Madrid), just picked up 5 injuries, and have 6 la Liga games and 3 in CL in October, Xavi must decide what is more important, La Liga or the Champions League. Now it is possible that Barca make if through the CL even if they do not beat Inter, as Inter still can lose to Plzen or Barca could beat Bayern. However do to the uncertainty and the fact Barca most likely will not win the Champions League, it is more important to focus on La Liga. Additionally, after October, the World Cup will begin. International breaks will tire the players out and it's possible Barca will struggle after returning to Liga. It is important to get as many points as possible before the break. To make matters worse, Barca will play a Clasico match in the middle of the hectic schedule. This could very well he a critical moment in Barca's season which may set the stage for a La Liga trophy.
The Barca Breakdown discussed Matchday 6 against Elche. Elche has surely struggled this season as they've plummeted to 20th on the table. Barca's form this season has proved to be strong, scoring many goals, many of which coming from Lewandowski. Unfortunately for Elche, they received a red card for a poor foul on Lewandowski in the 15th minute leaving them with 10 men. Barca certainly capitalized on this opportunity, in the 34' when Balde crossed the ball into the box and Lewy slid in and scored. It was all downhill for Elche from that point. Depay was also able to box out his defender in the box and received a pass from Balde. Depay quickly turned and smashed the ball into the back of the net. The first half ended and Barca completely dominated possession and control of the game. The second half started with Kessie subbed off for Gavi. Soon after, Gavi pushed forward and crossed the ball back to Lewandowski. A one touch shot placed the ball in the left side of the net. Barca lead 3-0. Big shout out to Frenkie De Jong, Balde, and Lewandowski for a great performance and complete domination of the game. Elche only managed 1 shot on goal with a 22% possession. While this game cannot provide any insight on Barca's progress it keeps them very competitive in La Liga. International break has now begun for Barca. The big question is can they keep their form when they return? When we return in October to play Mallorca, we have a big test in the Champions League against Inter Milan. This is the focus of Barca.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the tough Champions League loss in Munich. With so much history in the recent years between Bayern and Barca, this match was highly anticipated. This is especially true as Barca has seen some wonderful improvement this year under Xavi and after the summer transfer window. Unfortunately, the game did not pan out in Barca's favor and they lost 2-0 to Bayern. Barca's biggest enemy was themselves. This game could have been won with some clinical finishing from Lewandowski and Pedri. Additionally, the front line overall seems to lack that final oomph. Let's take a step back and look at Xavi's lineup. It was pretty obvious Xavi was going to start Dembele, Raphinha, Lewandowski, Pedri, Gavi, and Busquets. However, surprisingly, Xavi started Alonso as left back ahead of Balde or even Alba. Christensen also received a start over Garcia, presumably due to the injury Garcia has. Despite the one curveball, Barca came out with a ferocity unseen in a big Champions League game in the last few years. Barca defense was able to keep Bayern at bay for most of the first half by intercepting the ball and stripping players in the midfield. This accomplishment was led by Busquets and Gavi who performed wonderfully in the first 90. Unfortunately, Raphinha seemed a bit off the mark and Lewandowski/Pedri both missed great opportunities. The second half began with subs on the Bayern side, yet none from Xavi. This had an immediate effect, as Bayern were able to break Barca's defense. Barca failed to effectively mark attackers on a corner and fell asleep on the defense resulting in 2 goals. Xavi finally decided to make some subs, however a little too late. Barca found themselves trying to fight back and could not finish anything. Xavi received some criticism for making late subs and for Ferran Torres being the first player off the bench. Barca are tied in Group C with Inter Milan under Bayern Munich. While this game did not give the results fans had hoped for, it certainly leaves hope in Barca's CL endeavors for this year. Focus will be turned back to La Liga for the weekend game against Elche.
The Barca Breakdown discussed matchday 5 away in Cadiz. A team that is 20th on the table with ZERO points and ZERO goals on the charts. Seeing Barca have their first huge match of the season against Bayern on Tuesday, Xavi chose a lineup that featured less starters. Bellerin started as right back alongside Araujo, Pique, and Balde while the midfield started with Frenkie, giving Pedri a rest. Memphis and Torres were the attacking front with Raphinha. As the lineup is very fresh, it was expected to have a slower start. Most goal scoring attempts came from the left side of the field, however, the finishing touches were sloppy and off the mark. Torres continued to sky the ball into the stands and Depay continued to shoot low and weak at the goalie, making for easy saves. A great output was seen from Frenkie and Gavi while Busquets held the midfield ground. However no goals were scored and Cadiz was able to play a heavy defensive line to crowd the box. The second half started with no substitutes. But it was the starting XI that could score the game opener. Raphinha runs up the right side of the pitch getting the ball to Gavi who crosses the ball and the goalie blocks it. The rebound fell to Frenkie de Jong who put in the opening goal. After this moment, the game opens up as Cadiz must score to equalize or lose the game. Xavi then puts on Dembele, Fati, and Lewandowski. Not long after, Bellerin makes a run down the right pitch and gets the ball to Raphinha who crosses the ball into Frenkie and a Cadiz defender. The ball slips off and Lewandowki slides in for the goal! In the 80' the game was paused due to a person in the crowd falling ill. After about a 45 minute delay the game resumed. Fati was able to score in the box from an assist from Lewy and another goal from Dembele! The game ends 0-4 and Barca take another 3 points. The Breakdown looks forward to the midweek Bayern game. Where Barca will face their first huge test of the season.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the champions league season opener against Plzen with goals from Lewandowski and Dembele. While Barca fell in the Group of Death (again), Plzen were the least threatening. However, Barca could not afford to lose points in the group as Barca will play Bayern Munich and Inter Milano. The Bayern game is next Tuesday and it's safe to say Xavi wants his most trusted starting XI ready and rested. So in today's game, we saw an interesting line-up which included Alba and Roberto as fullbacks, Frenkie, Pedri, and Kessie in the midfield, and Fati with his first start alongside Dembele and Lewandowski. The game opened up a little rusty, with Barca losing the ball which led to some fast breaks for Plzen. After a few close calls from Plzen, Barca adjusted. Suddenly, Barca were on the ball consistently and maintained possession in the attacking half. Plzen became helpless as they scrambled to cover the gaps in their defense. The game exploded wide open after Dembele's corner came soaring to Kounde. Kounde headed the ball to Kessie and Kessie put the goal away. The next 3 goals came from a hattrick by none other than Robert Lewandowski! His assists came from Roberto, Dembele, and Ferran Torres. The last goal was scored by Torres with an assist from Demebele. Overall, Lewandsowki and Dembele were equally magnificent in the Champions League opener. The team was able to dominate possession and capitalize on Plzen's mistakes. The Barca squad also put in high effort offensively and defensively, constantly looking to score and get the ball back. While the Barca squad did a fantastic job, it must be said that Plzen did not perform very well. They clearly could not match the caliber of Barca and were not prepared. Despite this, Barca put out a completely dominant performance and should be applauded for their hard work! The Breakdown looks to the weekend as we play Cadiz and next week's Champions League game in Munich.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the away victory against Sevilla. Coming into the game Barca had just come off a 4-0 win against Villadolid and Sevilla only had 1 point in 4 games. Xavi also decided to use the same line up against Villadolid, but started Dembele on the left side and Raphinha on the right. In the first 20 minutes, Barca struggled to move the ball forward as Sevilla dropped their defense into their defensive half. This was also difficult to deal with because our midfields were pushed too far forward. However, Gavi dropped back and was able to intercept and steal the ball from Sevilla. This was the catalyst to Barca's success. In the 21' minute, Gavi intercepted the ball and was able to find Dembele running down the left wing. Lewandowski receives the ball and chips it over the goalie, but a defender knocks it before it makes it past the goal line. Luckily, Raphinha had tracked on the right side and headers the ball in to make the opening goal. After this moment, Sevilla wasn't able to hold Barca back. By the end of the first half Barca were up 0-2 with an assist from Kounde to Lewandowski for an astounding goal. The third goal came from a nice set piece from Dembele and Raphinha to Erica Garcia in the box. After this, the game was sealed and Sevilla could not come back. Barca look forward to the midweek champions league game against Plzen, then Cadiz on the weekend, and lastly face off against Bayern Munich.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the debate of who should start, Frenkie or Gavi and Barcelona's choices for wingers. Special guest Jaleel, aka ThePurist_ on Twitter, joins us to give his insight. Gavi and Frenkie both have their strengths and weaknesses, but the differential in minutes seems to favor Gavi. We discuss why Xavi prefers Gavi and why haven't we seen more Frenkie. What type of match do each of these players prosper in and has Xavi figured this out? Then there's the discussion of Dembele and Raphinha playing at the same time. It clear that both of them perform better on the right wing. If this is the case, should be be playing them both at the same time if they both ar best on the right? What about the left wing? Raphinha is not the only option on the left wing. Barca still have Fati and Ferran Torres. But both have recently come back from injury and have yet to reach their forms. One thing is for sure, Barca have many options and can experiment in the coming season.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the 4-0 victory against Valladolid. After much anticipation, Xavi started Kounde as the right back alongside Araujo, Garcia, and Balde. Again, Frenkie De Jong lost the starting position to Gavi. And the seemingly standard starting front line of Rahpinha, Dembele, and Lewandowski kicked off at the Camp Nou. The possession was dominated by Barca in the whole 90'. This isn't particularly surprising as Valladolid had recently just returned from regulation and in previous seasons always fell to the bottom of the table. Barca attacked time and time again until Lewandowksi scored from a cross from Raphinha. This opened the game up as players were able to find the open pitch and make runs through the midfield. The wingers dropped to the middle which pulled defenders back allowing Gavi and Pedri to run up the pitch into the box. Many times Gavi was able to get the ball in the box, but held on too long or was covered too quickly. Then the play dies. Moving forward though Dembele lit up the match with two assists. The first was a pass to Pedri at the middle of the penalty box and the second came to Lewy in which he back healed it into the net. Lastly, Lewy just misses a hat trick off the crossbar and Roberto smashes it back. Barca geet another 3 points. However, Valladolid performed very poorly, and this game cannot be completely representative of Barca in its peak performance. Barca just drew Bayern and Inter Milan in the Champions League and these games will be much more of a test of Barca's capabilities.
The Barca Breakdown discussed victory in Anoeta against Real Sociedad. Barcelona take their first W of the season with a 1-4 scoreline. While the scoreline maybe flattering, Barca certainly struggled to break the tie until the 60'. The game changed when Xavi subbed in Fati and Raphinha, which provided a much stronger threat. Quickly, La Real found themselves at the mercy of Fati of which provided an assit to Dembele and scored a goal for himself. But who was responsible for this victory. Xavi utilized a 3-2-2-3, or some might call it a 3-4-3, formation. In this set up Araujo played as a right back but had to cover more space as he was Barca weren't playing with their traditional back 4. In this situation Araujo is already playing out of position. Ferran Torres played in the middle behind Lewandowski. The midfield was set up as a double pivot of Frenkie and Pedri. Lastly, Dembele had to play more defensive to cover the space Araujo would normally cover. None of this seemed to be working. It wasn't until the sun's came in, the game lit up. So, yes, Xavi put these players in, but did they succeed because of him, or was it their individual skill/brilliance that lead Barca to Victory?
The BarcaBreakdown discuss FC Barcelona's 1-4 victory against Real Sociedad at Anoeta. Xavi's surprising starting eleven clearly did not work, though Pedri, Balde and Lewandowski combined for a fantastic goal in the game's opening minute. However, Araujo as RB, Frenkie De Jong as pivot, and Ferran Torres working inside with Lewandowski left us open to a counter and early goal to tie the game 1-1 by Isak. Overall, Xavi tried a new 3-4-3 (3-2-3-1?) lineup that did not work for the first 60 minutes of the game. The substitutions of Ansu Fati and Raphinha immediately changed the complexion of the game, as Fati assisted Dembele and Lewandowski before scoring his own goal to lead the 1-4 victory. Fati proved again why he is FC Barcelona's #10, and how absolutely magical he is when healthy and playing consistently. Unfortunately, Ferran Torres (who made only 1 appearance in preseason) looked very rusty and out of position as he was not dribbling in from the wings. Christensen again had a great game in defense, and he is continuing to prove why Xavi is relying on him as a starting centerback. Eric Garcia put in a good shift, though he was unlucky Frenkie gave the ball away and put Garcia in a bad position for the Isak goal. We hope to see Xavi continue to tinker with the team and find the best lineup to improve our defence and midfield. The signing of Kounde will be critical to make sure he can cover the RB or RWB spot this season.
The BarcaBreakdown discuss the issues FC Barcelona and Xavi are facing after a draw to Rayo Vallecano fell well short of expectations. With the additions of Lewandowski, Raphinha, Christensen (and now Kounde), Xavi needs time to develop Barca. However, some fans are worried about a continuous trend from Xavi's side, so the BarcaBreakdown tackle the issues he must conquer! First, we discuss how Ronald Araujo playing as a full back against Rayo did not go well, and our believe that Araujo should only be played there against very threatening wingers. Araujo lacks the ability, like we saw Xavi use with Dani Alves last season, to act as an inverted full back. This role is crucial as it allows the full back to act as a second pivot and help facilitate the ball and draw defenders away from the interiors and wingers. It will be interesting to see if Xavi continues to not believe in Sergino Dest and whether Barca sell him in the next few weeks. Kounde may be a better option at right back, though we will need to see Kounde perform there over the next few weeks to understand if he is a good fit. One of the revelations from Rayo was that Frenkie De Jong still plays a large role in this FC Barcelona side, even after all of the rumors of his departure have been circling this month.
The Barca Breakdown discuss the first day of the 2022/23 La Liga season against Rayo Vallecano. A team that beat us in both match days last season, was responsible for our third home loss, and was the final game of the Koeman era. Every Barca fan could only imagine the sweet payback Barca would get with a huge summer of signings. However, match day 1 did not deliver exactly as fans would have thought. Xavi's starting line-up did not feature Dest, who was not even called up, nor Frenkie De Jong. Instead Araujo slotted in the right back position with Christensen and Garcia as the center backs and Gavi received a start along side Pedri and Busi. There was no other choice but to start Raphinha, Dembele, and Lewandowski in the attacking front. As one would expect, Barca dominated possession of the ball and in the first 20 or so minutes created many opportunities. It must be said, the mid field was not an integral part of these first minutes as they were hardly involved in the build up. Instead, it seemed it was the job of the defense to get the balls to the wings and allow Dembele and Raphinha to control the ball forward. This tactic was soon after found out and Barca slowed their advances to the end of the first half. There were plenty of great opportunities though. Dembele had many services into the box to Lewandowski and Raphinha. Many of which were snuffed out by the goal or off the mark. Rounding into the second half it seemed that Barca just could not break the defense of Rayo in addition to their time wasting. The game certainly picked up when Frenkie subbed in. He was able to dribble the ball down the center, creating lethal opportunities. Despite all best efforts, FC Barcelona could not find the back of the net and leave their first game of the season with a 1 point. Hopefully the team can become more cohesive through the next few games to find the net. Xavi will need to make some adjustments including starting Frenkie and not keeping in Busquests for a full 90.
Jaleel/ThePurist's Medium Article: https://medium.com/@Jaleel/decoding-barcelonas-centre-backs-7914e994cea1 ThePurist Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThePurist_ The BarcaBreakdown have special guest Jaleel aka the Purist, as he's known by his Twitter handle, to discuss is most recent article "Decoding Barcelona's Centre Backs". We discussed his preferred gala backline as FC Barcelona have more defensive options with the signing of Christensen and Kounde. The other players to choose from are Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba, Ronald Araujo, Sergino Dest, Sergi Roberto, Balde, and Gerard Pique. Jaleel explains why he chose each of the 4 players based on what Xavi needs and each players strengths and weaknesses. The Breakdown picked Jaleel's brain about the downstream affects of some of the choices and the expectations for the team coming into the 2022/23 season. It is clear Barca have a a high potential next season, however, with the signing of many new players and still having a young squad, Barca will still face some adversity. Nonetheless, Jaleel provided some great insight and discussion about the current state of Barca's backline and the season to come. It is exciting to consider all of Barca's options and hopefully they will come out of the preseason with a hunger to take some titles under the direction of Xavi.
The BarcaBreakdown discuss the final preseason game vs. New York Red Bulls, as goals from Ousmane Dembele and Memphis Depay led to a 2-0 victory for Barca. Xavi now leads the squad to the Joan Gamper game before the La Liga season begins. With Gavi, Busquets, and Frenkie de Jong starting in midfield along with Raphinha-Lewandowski-Dembele up front, a clearer picture of Xavi's preferred 11 comes into mind. Up front, with Ansu Fati recovering and Ferran Torres still on the sideline, the trio of Raphinha-Lewandowski-Dembele seems like the clear favorite. The two energetic wingers provide incredible speed and driblling, while Lewandowski looks primed to pour in goals (though he hasn't yet this preseason). In the midfield, Pedri and Busquets are clear starters for the game against Rayo. Frenkie De Jong and Gavi are battling for the 3rd starting spot, though the BarcaBreakdown believes Frenkie is better suited to play in midfield right now. In defense, Xavi has a tougher decision as he still hasn't worked with Christensen or Jules Kounde enough. We expect to see Araujo start alongside either Eric Garcia or Pique. Jordi Alba is guaranteed to start at left back, although it was comforting to see Balde play well against Red BUlls. It will be seen if Sergino Dest, the only true right back, will start, or if Araujo/Kounde will begin to take time at the RB position.
The Barca Breakdown discussed another landmark transfer in the summer window. Joules Kounde has signed with FC Barcelona, a deal including €50 million transfer fee + €10 million in variables over 4 years. Despite Chelsea offering over €60 million, it was clear the Frenchman didn't want to go to the Premier League. Barca now have a reinforced defense that will help them make it further into the Champions League and stop the comebacks that Barca fell victim to. But it matters no longer, Barcelona have Gerard Pique, Joules Kounde, Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo, Andres Christenesen, Sergio Roberto, Sergino Dest, and Jordi Alba. This will allow Xavi to rotate players much more effectively as well as mitigate the impact felt when a defender becomes injured. With so many options will Barca play a 4-3-3 or a 3-4-3? A 3-4-3 has seen much of Barca fall victim to assault from the wings, many times having players backtracking during a counter. It is likely that Xavi will stick with a 4-3-4 especially when trying out different lineups and their effectiveness. The last thing to consider is what will Xavi's preferred lineup be? Players to get the most time in as center backs will most likely be Kounde and Araujo, but there will be plenty of time for Christensen. We believe Eric Garcia will lose some minutes/starts and dest in certain situations may have to compete with Roberto or Araujo. Whatever Xavi leans towards, Barca definitely have some great potential and will be facing Juventus tomorrow in the USA.
The Barca Breakdown discussed FC Barcelona's preseason El Clasico match in Las Vegas. The starting line-up included Lewandowski, Raphinha, Fat, Pedri, Gavi, Busquets, Alba, Christensen, Garcia, Araujo, and Ter Stegen. In his first game joining FC Barcelona, Lewandowski looked like a lethal stud. He was playing on both sides of the pitch working and looking to score. A few shots on goal created some very exciting moments for the Pol. However, he never was able to find the back of the net. Nevertheless, after a great Barca press, Real Madrid were forced into a bad position and lost the ball due to a terrible clearance. Raphinha is able to smash the ball into the back of the net and take Barca up 1-0. After a close opportunity from Fati the first half ended. The second half the whole team changed and we were able to see some play from Dembele, Sergio Roberto, Kessie, Frenkie De Jong, and Depay, amongst others. While this half was not as exciting as the first half, it still had some interesting highlights from Depay, Kessie, and Roberto. Barca were able to hold off Real Madrid for 90 minutes, without allowing them a shot on Target. The damage against Real Madrid was not large with a 1 goal deficit but it could have been worse if Courtois was not saving almost every shot that came to the giant. With an exciting Clasico, it gives Barca fans a hopeful look at what is to come during the 2022/23 season!
The Barca Breakdown discuss the signing of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich! The Pol comes to Barca on a 4 year deal at €45 million transfer fee + €5 million in variables. In a crazy summer transfer window, Barca are able to sign some big names and Lewandowski is the icing on the cake. For several years now, Barca have been missing an all out striker to score goals, and now they have him for 4 years. There are many postivies the striker will provide, but his proven track record of 50+ goals in all competitions year in and year out, only strengthen the excitement of his arrival. With Dembele and Raphinha on the wings providing balls into the striker, this front 3 will be a force to be reckoned with. The only downside is Lewandowski is older (33), but with age comes wisdom and experience. If we can even get 20+ goals it would be a success. Barca still need some help in the defensive line, however this has given hope to a quality 2022/23 campaign!
The Barca Breakdown discussed the agreement reached by Leeds United and FC Barcelona for the purchase of Raphinha. The agreement includes 58 Million Euros + 6-9 Million in bonuses until 2027. With the signing of Dembele, Barca have managed two very important signings in the summer transfer window on top of the acquisition of Christensen and Kessie. The board was able to make purchases due to the sale of TV rights that generated them funds. The signing of Raphinha has sparked concern that Barca could be over spending money right after they got some funds. On top of the worry that a 5 year signing could be troublesome if Raphinha underperformed. It wouldn't be the first time Barca signed a player that ended up flopping for large amounts of money and long contracts. While all of these are viable concerns, Barca are under new management, there is a new squad, and it's great to have fresh attacking players. Speaking of available forwards, Depay is rumored to be leaving the team and Ferran Torres has a wound to one of his feet. The sporting team of FC Barcelona have been busy this summer. Hopefully some of their purchases will pan out and Xavi will be able to win some trophies next season!
The Barca Breakdown discussed that reports are, Dembele has signed a contract with FC Barcelona at a reduced salary until 2024. After the chaos of last season, it seems Dembele's agent has only forced a lower salary by not taking the initial contracts. While this may be bad news for Dembele, Barca get a great deal and the player gets to stay where he pleases. Now that Barca have signed Dembele, what does that mean in the quest to acquire Raphinha and Lewandowski? Both players would cost a pretty penny for them to come and Barca would be signing several forwards when they definitely need to bolster the back line. The economic levers that will generate Barca money should be used wisely. Money should be managed well when looking to purchase either player. Reports are Raphinha will come to Barca but Bayern Munich has yet to say they are willing to let Lewandowski leave. Transfer rumors are a tricky business, but one name has been thrown around a lot this summer. Frenkie De Jong has made news several times in connection with a transfer to Manchester United. However, the Dutchman has clearly stated he wants to stay at Barcelona. Additionally, he has several years on his contract in which he deferred payments to the later half of his contract, meaning he is owed larger amounts of money. It is rumored that Frenkie's contract was leaked by Barca to justify his release. Whatever the case, Frenkie wishes to stay and play Champions League Football which would not be found at Man United. Chelsea has joined the running for the Dutchman. Lastly, Barca sent Trincao for 10 Million Euros taking a loss from his original acquisition. Whatever the case may be, Barca finally cut ties with old signings that haven't panned out. This is one of the last few steps Barca are taking to get rid of the Bartomeu era.
The BarcaBreakdown discuss the recent transfer news, including Laporta saying Frenkie De Jong is staying, Barca officially announcing Kessie and Christensen signings, Lengelet being loaned to Tottenham, Dembele and Raphinha updates, and Luuk De Jong and Adama Traore returning to their teams from loan. Though some of these are rumors, the economic levers being pulled does mean that Kessie and Christensen are officially FC Barcelona players. We are a bit skeptical of Laporta saying that Frenkie De Jong will stay, and we think that his comment about the need for Frenkie's wage reductions will be used to eventually explain his departure to Manchester United. In a sudden turn of events, Raphina's transfer from Leeds to Chelsea has been halted, as there are increasing rumors that Raphinha will head to FC Barcelona! It is not official, but Deco and Raphinha have strong links to Barca right now though the transfer fee with Leeds is still going to be hard for Barca to agree on. Ousmane Dembele's contract with Barca is officially gone, though there have been increasing rumors that he will transfer over. We are saddened to see Clement Lengelet leave Barca on loan to Tottenham, though clearly he no longer has a place on the team. He was a good player for us and we wish he had been able to match his great performances from 2018/2019.
The BarcaBreakdown discuss the news that Xavi's desired front three is Raphina, Lewandowski, and Ansu Fati. After the economic levers were pulled by the socios last week, there is a chance we keep Dembele or get Raphina, get Lewandowski, and other options that will radically affect our starting lineup next season. We discuss the worrying reports that Ansu Fair's decision to not get surgery may mean he is still not 100%. Some within the club are worried, and Luis Enrique not using Fati for Spain was unexpected. Dembele now seems to have no suitors for him, so FC Barcelona and Laporta have cut down their contract offer to him. Dembele seems upset and unwilling to sign the lowered contract, but we believe it is his agent's fault and he won't find a better offer. Finally, we discuss Ferran Torres and whether he has a spot in the lineup if we get Lewandowski. With a new striker who can actually convert chances in Lewandowski, we believe he will be able to have a better showing in the coming season.
The BarcaBreakdown discuss the possibile winners of the Ballon d'Or for the 2021/2022 season. Karim Benzema is the clear betting favorite after a tremendous season, including a La Liga victory and Champions League victory. Among the other contenders for a top 3 finish are Liverpool's Mo Salah and Sadie Mane. Both had a wonderful season with better goals/assists from Salah while Mane won the African Cup of Nations with Senegal. As is usual, Robert Lewandowski remains a threat with over 50 goals this season for Bayern Munich. Unfortunately, it is not likely that any FC Barcelona player ranks high for the Ballon d'Or this season. Pedri was hurt for much of the year and Araujo was probably our second best player along with Dembele.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the extraordinary assembly gathered to vote on motions to inject money through the sale of 25% of TV rights and up to 49.9% stake of BLM. Both motions, or Levers as they called it, were approved by the Socios. This means Barca will get around 700 million euros. It is enough money to bring them out of debt and even allow them to make some important signings I'm the 2022 summer transfer window! It is unfortunate that it is has come down to this, but the board must take action to fix the financial situation. Fortunately, there are actions they can take to take back the stakes at a later time which would not allow them to lose out in the future. Speaking of the future, many Socios wished to remind the board that the money is for the future of the club, and to be careful with the spending as that is how Barca got into this situation in the first place. Hopefully careful spending will be upheld while Barca still being able to sign a striker like Lewandowski and maybe Kounde/Koulibaly. Barca are still in need of a LB and RB, so maybe a purchase there. Will this stop the possibility of Frenkie De Jong leaving to Manchester United?
The Barca Breakdown discussed the rumors circulating that Xavi has told Pique that his time at FC Barcelona is over. Do these rumors have any foundation? There has been controversy surrounding Pique regarding his split from Shakira, but that cannot be the only reason. It is clear that he has faced some injuries at the end of the last season, however the sports outlets claim it is due to Pique being unfocused at Barca. Furthermore, Barcelona wants him to renounce his 40M Euros that he is owed to him for completing his contract in 2024. If rumors are true, it could be dark days as the only back ups to Pique are Lengelet, Umtiti, and Mingueza. These players have not shown to be as good alongside Ronald Araujo. Erica Garcia would be the next choice, but his performance last season had too many major mistakes and he is unreliable. This would cause mayhem beginning next season and Barca may find themselves in another hole to dig themselves out of. Aside from the current roster, the summer transfer window is an opportunity for Barca to back fill this spot. However, it is unlikely Kounde or Koulibaly will be coming to Barca as their price tags are too high and Barca is BROKE!!! So where does that leave Barca? If the rumors are true, more dark days are in our future. If they are not, Barca still has time to develop Eric Garcia into a solid defender while having Pique assist.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the inching reality of Dembele, clearly one of the best players FC Barcelona has to offer currently, will most likely not come to an agreement with the club. The continued talks over the last year have not seemed to improve. Dembele is receiving interest from Chelsea and PSG for a new contract this summer. As his contract with Barca expires summer 2022, we will not be able to sell him and use the cash injection for future players.... much like the debacle with Messi. It is really tragic that Barca cannot hold on to some of the best talent walking through the Camp Nou. Reports are no further contact discussions will be taking place between the two parties. Interestingly enough, as one winger might be exiting, another winger just leaving PSG could be joining Barcelona. Di Maria made head lines when information suggested that Leo Messi recommended that Di Maria join Barcelona this summer. While there is not much backing the headline, Barca are in need of a bolstered roster. If the Argentinian could take some reduced wages, we could see the 35 year old winger find a place with the blaugrana. This would be a good move if Barca were to lose Dembele and Traore as our options are becoming increasingly limited. Lastly, it seems the Lewandowski is making things clear. He has lost the passion to stay at Bayern Munich and wishes to join FC Barcelona. Information suggests that Lewy is only considering a move to Barca and ignoring all other options.
The BarcaBreakdown discuss the financial struggles for FC Barcelona, and how Laporta and the board may find revenue this summer. Unfortunately, as the season has ended, rumors are all around and many are speaking constantly about FC Barcelona's financial woes. We do indeed need to rebalance our books, which is looking increasingly hard with players like Umtiti, Lengelet, and Braithwaite (among others) who do not want to end their contracts with Barca this summer. The board does have many options to increase our funding through the possible Tebas CVC Deal, selling our streaming/licensing rights, and other loan options. The BarcaBreakdown believe it is too early in the season to be constantly stressing. Laporta and the board have a weeks/months to make the adjustments necessary to get us in a better financial situation.
The BarcaBreakdown discuss the beginning of a wild summer, with rumors swirling that Manchester United want to buy Frenkie De Jong as Frenkie himself reiterates his desire to stay for the club. As Xavi, Laporta, and Frenkie have all come out in the last month reiterating the importance of Frenkie to Barca's new sporting project, it seems clear that the media and journalist are reporting any and every story for clicks. However, there may be some substance here, as Barca are clearly needing money to help sign and fund new players this summer. Though, the season just ended and FC Barcelona's current money situation will improve over the coming month as the Board learns how to best fund the new season.
The Barca Breakdown traveled to Spain to watch the final two games of the season against Getafe and Villareal. Unfortunately, Barca were not able to score in either game and the performances were uninspiring. The environment of the Camp Nou was something you will not be able to feel at home through the TV. It was a beautiful experience and a joy just to be in the presence of the fans and vibe. There was not much to fight for as Barca had solidified their place in second, but it was sad to see so many players being uninspired on the pitch in the final two games. The team needs a lot of work and this seemed like a great opportunity to kick it into high gear and try some beautiful football. In the Getafe game there was at most one high light and the line-up was undesirable. No dembele and a backline of Mingueza and Lenglet. Then in the Villareal game, they just played poorly and let Villareal walk around them scoring two great goals. Hopefully this does not continue on into the next season. The top highlights were Adam meeting Pedri at the F1 formula race and the tour of the Camp Nou. The tour really gave you a deep dive into the history of the team and how they have come to be so great over the last 120 years. With the first Champions League trophy from Ronald Koeman's free kick goal to the astounding careers of Pep, Ronaldinho, and Messi. Even a great history of the presidents/coaches of the club. It was a beautiful reminder of what FC Barcelona is about and hopefully we can return to some semblance of greatness in the coming years.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the victory at the 3-1 Camp Nou against Celta Vigo. With Busquets out on a yellow card, Nico and Pedri injured, Xavi decided to not start our only midfielder Puig. Instead he opted for a 4 man attacking front with Ferran, Aubameyang, Dembele, and Depay, leaving Frenkie and Gavi to cover the midfield. The line-up made Adam and Yusef nervous as not having Busquets was bad, but not having 3 midfielders sounded even worse. It is interesting to note even though this was a difficult situation, Xavi still didn't decide to start Puig. This must say something regarding Xavi's trust in the midfielder. Is it time for Puig to make his leave and gain experience elsewhere? Regardless, Barca started the first half a bit shaky as the team had to adjust with a missing midfielder. For the first 20 minutes Celta made some good attempts at goal, however they couldn't seem to finish. Once Barca adjusted, Dembele put on his jet engine boots and was flying around the pitch. He was able to drive down the right flank and dribble the ball into the right side of the box. He made a beautifully placed pass to the middle of the box where Depay was waiting. Depay shot immediately and scored the opening goal at 30'. Before the end of the first half Jordi Alba makes an over the top pass down to Depay on the left wing. Depay kicks the ball to the middle and the Celta defender is not able to control it. Aubameyang sneaks in and kicks the ball into the back of the net. Half time ends with Barca up 2-0. Barca continued to press in the second half. At the 48' Auba makes a pass to Dembele. Dembele runs down the right flank with Auba running through the middle. Dembele gets the ball back to Auba who one touches the ball to take a 3-0 lead. Not 2 minutes later, Ter Stegen makes a terrible pass to Araujo. It was intercepted and Celta Vigo scored. Celta dropped to 10 min due to a bad foul at the top of the box. Not soon after Araujo Clashes heads with Gavi and is on the floor for several minutes. Reports are he was concussed and is recovering now and will be good. The last notable comment is that Frenkie De Jong, Eric Garcia, and Jordi Alba will all miss the next game against Getafe due to yellow card accumulation. Barca Look to take on Getafe in Madrid this Sunday where Yusef and Adam will be live at the game! Forca Barca
The Barca Breakdown discussed the victory in Seville against Real Betis. This was an important game as a victory here was going to solidify Barca's placement in the Champions League. As the game was highly anticipated due to its importance, it left Barca fans biting their fingertips. The first half seemed totally disconnected and disorganized with Betis running around the Barca midfield. Despite a shaky half, Barca were able to hold betis off from scoring, The second half was not much different in the first 15-20 minutes. However, Xavi replaced the whole attacking front and placed in Fati, Traore, Aubameyang. Not soon after FATIMANIA struck! Fati receives the ball at the top of the box. Quickly three defenders step in front of him and he fires the ball to the left side and the goalie had no chance. The ball goes in and Barca scores the opening goal. Unfortunately, Real Betis' Bartra scored a header when he received the ball from a free kick. The game was even and the hopes of winning three points declined. There was not much potential; however in the 90 +4' Dani Alves crossed the ball to Jordi Alba. Alba immediately strikes the ball right over top of the goalie and the game is over! Barca Secured 3 points and their placement in the Champions League. Additionally, this gives more hope to the possibility of retaining 2nd place which would earn them 6 Million Euros for their admission in the Supercopa. There is still much work to do as many problems have been seen over the last few weeks. We at least get to celebrate what we have now to hold onto.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the upcoming match Real Betis in Seville. There is a lot to be won if Barca can defeat Betis. Not only are Betis 3 points behind Atletico Madrid for the 5th spot in the table, but Sevilla are only 2 points behind Barca fighting for the second place spot. With Real Madrid already securing the title, Barca need this win in hopes to maintain their Supercopa chances. However, in the last meeting Barca were defeated at the Camp Nou 0-1 with Juanmi scoring. It is important to remember this game was Xavi's fourth game after becoming the Manager and the team was struggling. That game Barca were playing Abde, Jutgla, and Depay upfront with Busquets, Nico, and Gavi. This was a less than ideal line-up and things really changed when Barca acquired Aubameyang, Traore, and Ferran Torres. There was also the drama of Ousmane Dembele who was not getting play time due to the contract negotiations. Now the Barca team is different and a new story can be written. The recent performances however have really seen Barca struggle against sub tier teams. Alongside the injuries to Pique and Pedri, Frenkie De Jong has also been struggling in the midfield and his frustration is clear. To be fair, there is a lot happening and his performances may be due to the other surrounding issues limiting his abilities. Lastly, with the return of Ansu Fati, it could be what Barca need if they are struggling in the second half. It is unlikely that Xavi will start the youngster as he is just getting back from his injuries and it would be unwise to rerisk injury.
The Barca Breakdown discussed 3 points that were secured in match day 34 against Mallorca at the Camp Nou. With Dembele feeling under the weather, Xavi chose to start Depay on the left and moved Ferran Torres to the right wing. Of course, Pedri is out so Gavi started alongside Frenkie and Busi. In the back line, Pique started with Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba, and Dani Alves. The first half was pretty lackluster and disorganized. A few breaks from Mallorca could have easily been scored, but their team was not clinical. It didn't seem too promising until Jordi Alba placed a ball over the top for Memphis Depay. He was able to control the ball and score to take Barca 1-0. The half ended with much improvement to be desired. In the second half Barca really turned up the tempo, constantly attacking Mallorca. In the 54' Ferran Torres' shot gets blocked and Busquets picks up the ball. He shoots off his left foot into the right corner of the net and Barca are up 2-0. Fati and Dembele are subbed on for Aubameyang and Ferran Torres. Immediately, Barca shut down. Mallorca continues to attack on counters, and eventually earn a free kick. The ball goes over the top of the Barca line and straight at an open Raillo. The ball deflects off his knee and makes it past Stegen... 2-1. The match ends with Barca hanging on by a thread to their 3 points. Luckily, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla dropped points this week. Barca look to take on Real Betis on Saturday.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the atrocious loss at the Camp Nou against Rayo Vallecano. For the first time in history, Rayo has defeated FC Barcelona 2 times in a season. Xavi deployed the usual starters excluding Pedri due to injury. To think the team that defeated Real Madrid at the Bernabeu 0-4, has just lost 3 consecutive games at home. After losing to Frankfurt, Cadiz, and now Rayo, Barcelona find themselves at a strong potential to lose their top four standing. Heading into the first half Barca were terrible. Passing was slow, off target, and poor in transition. Right at the 6' Rayo's Garcia receives the ball on where there are no players but a distant Dest. He takes a quick shot at Stegen;s near post and scores. Stegen did an awful job and that was Rayo's first and only shot in 90+ minutes. Barca could not recover for 113 minutes and score an equalizer. The only good players on the pitch were Gavi and Dembele. Who were close to scoring but could not finish. It seems this is the story of Barca in their recent matches. Their play is slow and predictable with possession for possession's sake. It resembled Koeman right before he got sacked. Barca only attempted offensive play with crosses that lacked any potential. There is much to say that the players looked fatigued and uninspired. Clearly underperforming; however, Xavi has a lot to do tactically to bring the team back into form to maintain a possible Champions League spot.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the defeat at the Camp Nou which ended Xavi's 3 month unbeaten streak. After a tough loss at home against Frankfurt, Barca played Cadiz. Normally, a team fighting relegation in 18th place would not cause such an upset; however it seems things are catching up to Barca. Xavi has not been able to rotate players enough causing tired legs and injuries after returning from the international break. Pique and Pedri were out due to injury and Araujo was suspended due to yellow card accumulation. With these players out, we had Lenglet play alongside Eric Garcia and Gavi in the Midfield. As Aubameyang has yet to return to his goal scoring form (having also played many minutes since coming to Barca), Depay had his first start since returning from his calf injury. This line-up didn't seem out of question, although the results spoke for themselves. Barca were not able to create any effective opportunities on goal and the defense was weak. It only took one counter for Cadiz to score. It seems that Xavi's tactics have become predictable as the ball moves to the wings constantly and attempts to cross fall into the void. Moving the ball through the middle and any buildup is nonexistent. Many teams including Cadiz formed a strong defense against us and forced the counter. Barca stood no chance with slow, uneventful possession and they paid for it with a loss. FC Barcelona continue their fight to maintain top 4 in La Liga. With a lul of play, predictable tactics, and tired/injured players we look at the possibility of dropping to 5 or lower if we cannot defeat Real Socidad on Thursday and Real Betis in May.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the breakdown of Xavi's squads in the second leg against Frankfurt at the Camp Nou. Another big match in Europe where Barca were knocked out of the Europa League in a terrible performance. First and foremost, we think Xavi deployed a less than ideal starting XI with Minguza as RB and Gavi in for Frenkie De Jong. Even though we consider Aubameyang and Ferran Torres as regular starters, we believe after such poor performances from the duo that Xavi needed to try a different line-up. Despite what we thought, Barca came out in the first few minutes with an absurd foul from Eric Garcia. 3 minutes into the game and Frankfurt had gotten a penalty. Kostic converted to take the game to a 0-1 lead. Frankfurt continued to play aggressively, shutting down Barca's midfield and nurturing the wings. The mayhem did not cease as a screaming shot from Borre slammed into the back of the net taking them 0-2. The half ends and Barca leave the pitch defeated. The second half begins and Xavi makes 1 change by taking out Pedri, due to injury, and putting in FDJ. Things continue to look grim as Barca can't create almost any shots on goal and the chances that are created fall flat. In the 67' Kostic was able to shoot from the left side and scored in the right corner. Frankfurt's 0-3 lead practically sealed the game. However, deep into the second half (90+1') Segio Busquets put away a goal. Barca did not let up there, with Memphis Depay, who came in for Torres, was able to convert a penalty which was drawn by Luuk De Jong. Barca are able to get 2 goals, but FT is called and Barca are officially out of all major European competitions. Barca fans all around the world are left in shock as Barca cannot seem to compete in European competitions. Where does that leave us? Well, FC Barcelona are second in La Liga and still trail behind Real MAdrid by 12 points. Barca face off against Cadiz this coming Monday at the Camp Nou. Can Xavi compete for the La Liga title?
The Barca Breakdown discussed Matchday 31 where FC Barcelona faced off against the near relegated Levante. Notable changes Xavi employed were Nico in for Pedri and Araujo for Pique. The first half began with an awful performance. It seemed Barca had lost the fundamentals with passing off the mark and the lack of an ability to open the pitch. This was also exacerbated with Levantes keen defense and great man marking. While the frustration of the first half was overwhelming, Barca were able to hold on to a 0-0 outcome with the help of Ter Stegen, Eric Garcia, and Araujo. Coming into the second half, Xavi didn't make any immediate subs and the chaos ensued. A penalty was called against Barca and Levante scored to take the lead. Xavi made a switch to the midfield and put in Pedri and Gavi. Immediately the game changes. Dembele crosses the ball into Aubameyang and the header goes in to equalize! Soon after Levante got a second penalty and Ter Stegen made a huge save. The young duo strike; Gavi is able to pass the ball into Pedri who takes a 1 touch shot and TAKES THE LEAD! Barca are up 1-2. Lenglet gets subbed in and fouls causing a 3rd penalty. Levante score and equalize. As a last chance sub, Xavi places in Traore and Luuk De Jong. In the 90' + 2 minute Alba crosses the ball into Luuk and a game winning header flies into the net! Barca are VICTORIOUS! The Breakdown look forward to the second leg against Frankfurt on Thursday!
The Barca Breakdown discussed the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Europa League where FC Barcelona faced off in Germany against Eintracht Frankfurt. With Europa League most likely being Barca's only chance at a trophy this season, Xavi would have to prioritize the win in today's game. However, it seemed Xavi chose to rest some big players in the match. We saw Dembele and Frenkie De Jong on the bench for Traore and Gavi. Additionally, Pedri played on the pitch as a RCM and Gavi played as the LCM. Of course with the unregistered Dani Alves and injured Dest, Araujo slotted in the RB position. Our other two attackers were Aubameyang and Ferran Torres. Coming into the game Barca seemed to be playing with their foot on the gas. This doesn't mean they were doing it too well. Barca seemed chaotic, disheveled, off key, and did not control the pitch. Frankfurt took advantage and were aggressive. The first half left barca heavily on the defense fighting to prevent Frankfurt from scoring. The beginning of the second half didn't change all too much. Xavi finally made some subs in the 60' and put in Frenkie and Dembele. Immediately it had an effect and Barca were able to score with some interplay with Ferran Torres. Barca leave the game in a draw with the hopes the following leg will be a different result. The Breakdown looks forward to facing off against Levante in which we discuss who should be rested and what our expectations are.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the return from the international break to face off against Sevilla. While we feared the possibility of Barca falling into the luls of returning from the international break, Xavi's men were ready to fight. The first half had a solid 25 minutes of moving the ball forward to create chances. However, as we saw during the game, Barca's performance went through many peaks and troughs. Dembele was continuously crossing the ball into the middle to create chances for ferran torres and Frenkie De Jong. Although, like Torres has typically played, he couldn't score, missing some big opportunities. Xavi's Barca really held strong in the defense and midfield, snubbing out any Sevilla chances with the help of Pique, Araujo, and Alba and controlling the ball. It is to say Aubameyang was having a quiet game as well. During the second half Sevilla had a few opportunities but failed to convert. During this time Barca were in a trough of performance, losing the ball and control. All out it changed in the 60-65' when Barca were reignited. Barca seemed to be playing much more aggressively and looking to score. It all came together when dembele passed to Pedri who spectacularly made two Sevilla defenders stumble in front of him. Hecreated the space and took a wonderful shot straight into the back of the neck right past Bono. Pedri, the 19 year old golden boy scored the game winning goal against Sevilla to bring Barca into second place on the La Liga table. All facts considered this game had a wonderful result and the Barca Breakdown is excited coming into the Europa League game against Frankfurt on Thursday.
The Barca Breakdown discuss the Sevilla La Liga match coming up as the 2nd and 3rd teams face off. Coming off the international break, we hope Xavi is able to recreate the magic we were seeing from the team, culminating in the 0-4 victory against Real Madrid in El Clasico. There are some interesting storylines for FC Barcelona as as the season comes to a close. Firstly, Ousmane Dembele and Barca are reportedly in talks again about signing a contract renewal. Sergino Dest being injured as well as Eric Garcia's string of good performances will place an interesting dynamic on the right back position. Will we see Ronald Araujo continue to play there? Or will Dani Alves get a majority of the playtime? With many games in April, we are hoping to see Xavi utilize rotations well to keep everyone healthy. With Gavi, Nico, Lengelet, Depay, Luuk De Jong, Adama Traore, and more on the bench, we are well-positioned to keep players healthy with the incredible depth FC Barcelona have.
The Barca Breakdown discussed the utter DOMINATION as FC Barcelona won with 4 away goals against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Aubamayeng, Ferran Torres, Araujo all scored, with Ousmane Dembele getting 2 assists. Though Real Madrid came out with a bit of resistance early, Carlo Ancelloti's men were thoroughly outclassed by Xavi's Barca, with free movement and beautiful passing throughout the game. Busquets, Frenkie De Jong, and Pedri were wonderful in the midfield, against a Real Madrid team that seemed to have no passion or interest in competing. Having Araujo covering for Dest in the right back position completely shut down Vinicius Junior. Additionally, having Osuamne Dembele placed on the right wing to connect with Aubameyang was a recipe for destruction. Dembele's crosses were on point leading to the first goal which was placed in the back of the net by Aubameyang. Then A corner from Dembele flys in to the head of Araujo making it 0-2. Typically we expect things to change coming into the second half, however, Ferran Torres immediately opened the half with a missed shot on goal. Soon after Torres came back with an assist from Aubameyang and smashed one to the top right corner. The mayhem didn't end there as Aubameyang got a ball back from Torres and went straight over the top of Courtois. Xavi's Barca came out with fire and completely dominated the table leaders and this game has really shown how far Barca really have come. Shout-out to Erica Garcia and the midfield of Frenkie, Busquets, and PEdri who decimated the Real Madrid midfield of Modric, Kroos, Casamiro. Barca has the international break coming up and will be looking forward to continuing the run in La Liga and heading into the Quarters of the Europa League. Music from Tunetank.com Nick Froud - Hidden Gods (Copyright Free Music) Download free: https://tunetank.com/t/6e4v/4081-hidden-gods