Even if things go as expected in Spain for the remaining fixtures still to be played in La Liga this season, FC Barcelona will still have a chance of some silverware for the Nou Camp fans to celebrate, and with the Copa Del Rey final being against Alaves, the Catalan club are huge favourites to lift the trophy on May 27th.
Archive for the ‘Copa Del Rey news’
The Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has called for video goal line technology to be introduced into Spanish football, as it has been in the English Premier League, after his side were denied a clear goal in their last league match against Real Betis at the weekend, Sky Sports has reported.
The Catalan club did end up rescuing a draw from the match but losing another two points while the leaders Real Madrid won to stretch their lead at the top to four points with a game in hand seems to me to have ended any realistic chance of Barca winning the title, although you will get very good odds on them now.
FC Barcelona have enough problems on their hands without having to deal with Cristiano Ronaldo, so Tata Martino and his players will have received the injury update from Carlo Ancelotti with open arms. Ronaldo is still out of action with what is being reported as tendonitis or a muscular problem in the thigh.
Andres Iniesta and other Barcelona players have refused, publicly at least, to accept that Real Madrid will be significantly weakened by this, as they have the likes of Isco, Di Mari and Morata who could take his place, but they must be pretty glad of the news really.
The fact that Barcelona have not lost a game by more than one goal all season is a pretty incredible stat and should give Tata Martino and his players a great deal of confidence for tomorrow. But the Barca boss is taking no chances and is set to name his strongest possible starting XI.
The second leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final against Real Sociedad should see the new manager book a place in the final of a major competition at the first time of asking. I’m not including the Spanish Supercup victory over Atletico Madrid because Martino was not in charge to qualify for that.
There have been concerns raised in Spain about the form of Barcelona and Lionel Messi. As usual, the two are closely linked, even perhaps intrinsically linked, especially with new Brazilian star Neymar currently unavailable with his own injury problem.
People have pointed to the fact that Messi has not been playing quite the same role as usual, often dropping deeper and not making his trademark bursts into the penalty area. His goalscoring has certainly not been what we expect since he returned from a two month lay-off with a hamstring problem.
It must be difficult being the manager of FC Barcelona. You do not get a lot of credit for winning, even when your players play brilliantly and score a hatful of goals. But one defeat and the club is in crisis, whether the defeat be a narrow or undeserved one or not.
Tata Martino has faced the Spanish press today ahead of the Copa Del Rey semi-final against Real Sociedad and as well as deflecting more questions about the Neymar transfer, he has had to field questions about the so-called crisis of losing to Valencia at the weekend.
The performance of Lionel Messi was one of the few positives to come out of the Barcelona vs Valencia game at the weekend. Not only did Barcelona lose at the Nou Camp for the first time this season, the defeat meant that the Spanish champions slipped off the top of La Liga for the first time in well o0ver a season.
The result of this two legged tie was almost settled in the favour of Barcelona in the first leg at Levante, but the Spanish champions made absolutely sure with a professional and ruthless performance at the Nou Camp last night. The weather was awful, but the team warmed the home fans up with five goals and a place in the Copa Del Rey semi-finals.
The opponents in that semi will probably be Real Sociedad and they must be wondering if they have any chance at all after Barcelona won 5-1 without Messi and made the aggregate score 9-2 against decent La Liga opponents. Messi was rested and Alexis Sanchez was given a chance to shine in the middle. He grabbed it with both hands and scored a nice brace.