By Omer Barak
There are two things we learned from Barcelona vs. Valencia match. The first thing is that unless there will be a huge surprise, Valencia won’t win the championship this year. The second thing is that Barcelona can win the championship, but they might not to.
Barcelona – And I don’t think there is anyone to argue with me on this topic – got some of the best players in the world. What they don’t have, and that was obvious more than ever in the game against Valencia, is a good team to play all together.
Only a stupid man will say Barcelona can’t win the La Liga with players like Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Villa. It can. It can win the El Clasico, They can beat Real Madrid, they can be the champions. It would just be the worst thing that can happen to this team.
Barcelona is in a huge problem. Because it got no extra money, it got a very short squad. Look at what happening these days, when Xavi is hurt and Pep Guardiola just can give him a rest. He just can’t. He got no one, and I mean NO ONE (Mascherano? Really? Wanna bet he will leave at the end of the season?) to come from the bench and help the team.
The problem is only greater at the striker position. Villa is a good player. He really is. He is the right player at the right time, But, and that’s a really big but, Villa still doesn’t know how to handle the sort of pressure. With all due the respect to Valencia, Barca is his first really big team, and that’s a whole different set of pressures. Having no one (Once again, No one) coming from the bench to the rescue when it’s not working for him (And against Valencia it obviously wasn’t) only makes the pressure bigger.
But Hi, I’m sure some of you said, What about Bojan? Pedro? What do you mean by no one. Well, I mean no one. Bojan and Pedro are great players, very technical and very fast, but they are not pure strikers. Not like Rooney, for example, or Samuel Eto’o. Some one who can play with his back to the goal, someone who is tall and has a got some really good headers, some one – and that’s the crucial point – who will draw the attention of the opponent’s defense.
And nor Bojan and Pedro can do this in this point.
Barcelona got some great young talents. But in this situation, when Barca is behind Real Madrid, Guardiola can’t play with them because they are inexperienced and might make mistakes. But not playing with them, and that’s the irony, will be the biggest mistake of them all.
Barca must give the experience and confidence those young players need, even if it will cost them the championship this season. Xavi won’t be able to play the whole season, nor will Iniesta or Messi. Pep has to rely on his youngsters and make a bet. It might not work this season, but it sure will work in the long term future.
But, of course, Barcelona can’t really give up on the championship nor on winning the Champions League. They might do it, but they probably won’t. While Barcelona is still in the race, Injured Xavi will keep on playing, and exhausted Iniesta and Messi will play as well. As weird as it sounds, and unless some one will stop it at the right time, winning Valencia was the best thing that happened to FC Barcelona this season.