Let’s discuss Why Barcelona having a dream run in LaLiga while awfully performing at European Competitions including Europa League & Champions League.
In Laliga, Barcelona this season has been on another level, racking up 59 points from a possible 66, losing only once in the process. We have a healthy 6-point lead over 2nd-placed Real Madrid and lead the way in goal difference as well. From a defensive perspective, the Blaugrana have only conceded a staggering 7 goals in 22 matches and have kept a clean sheet in 17 of those matches. If we do keep this up until the end of the season, this is statistically one of the greatest team defensive performances of all time.
However, if we turn to look past the glamour and the glitz that is laliga to the European competitions, we lost three games and drew one out of the six games in the champions league, conceding 12 goals in the process, ultimately being relegated into the Europa league. There we faced Machester United and again conceded two goals, drawing 2 – 2 in the process. This form is barely recognisable from the team that is dominating laliga.
2-2, Xavi’s Controversial Decisions & Match Report – Barcelona vs Manchester United
So what changed? What is the reason for these abysmal performances from Barcelona in European competitions?
With what happened in the game against Manchester United, one could easily put the blame on the team selections, of choosing Marcos Alonso and Jordi Alba over the likes of Christensen and Balde, who have been mainstays in the Barca defense. It was also against an in-form Manchester United team with players like Marcus Rashford in red-hot form. However, while these maybe excuses for this match in particular, we cannot use them for our form in the champions league, where our only wins came against Victoria Plzen and even in those two games, we conceded 3 goals!
One main reason that we see is the style of play. Laliga teams have a certain style of play. However, when it comes to European games, there are teams from many different leagues with varying styles. This causes teams to change styles and adapt to match certain aspects of play. For example, the Physicality and free-flowing nature of the Premier League, the defensive play of the Serie A, the dynamic attacking styles of the Bundesliga, etc.
Therefore, adaptability is important to sustain in European competitions. Perhaps it is this change of style that is causing Barcelona to struggle in European competitions but dominate in Laliga. This seems very plausible given the lack of experience and the number of young players in the squad. It could also be why Real Madrid are so successful in European competitions as they are highly adaptable and have a very experienced squad of players. This resilience was in full display when they beat Liverpool 5 – 2 after being 2 – 0 down inside the first 15 minutes.
What do you think is the reason for this change in performance? Comment your theories down below.