The UEFA Champions League is back and all the drama, frills, thrills and explosive action are back on our faces. To be fully abreast with the necessary information you need to be on top of your betting game, keeping reading our publications. Also, as the World Cup is fast approaching, we offer information on teams such as Spain World Cup odds and predictions.
And speaking of Spain, this article will take a keen focus on one of the biggest Spanish sides and in world football at large – Barcelona.
Barcelona have ensured that they kept no stone unturned in providing the requisite quality requested by their manager, Xavi Hernandez, who is determined to take the club back to where it belongs.
Though he has had to let go of key players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Clement Lenglet to Premier League London clubs; Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, able replacements have been provided and Xavi will have nothing to complain about.
The signing of Robert Lewandowski can be pointed as the biggest coup for the Catalan giants as they were able to snap the Polish captain from their recent nemesis, Bayern Munich. They also added Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Raphinha, Marcos Alonso and some other free transfers to bolster their ranks.
So far this season, Barcelona has remained unbeaten in La Liga, and bar the draw in their opening fixture against Rayo Vallecano, the Catalans have won every other game.
However, their UEFA Champions League campaign has not been as smooth. Though they started with a smashing victory of Viktoria Plzen, a guts wrenching 2-0 loss to their eternal nemesis, Bayern Munich put a spanner in their wheel.
This article will explore the potentials and possibility of the Catalan giants conquering Europe once more, given the current situation of things. This will be done by laying out the advantages that could prove vital and the disadvantages that could prove inimical to their plans.
Advantages Barcelona have in pursuit of the Champions League
The addition of a proven finisher: Xavi knew what he wanted when he went for a goal machine in the form of Robert Lewandowski. The Pole has been consistently breaking records but domestically and in Europe. If Barcelona will do anything worthy in the Champions League this season, they will need their best player to be at his best always.
The 34-year-old is only third on the all-time goal scoring charts to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. If he gets the right service from those behind him, the goals will surely flow.
The retention of Frenkie De Jong: Though the Dutch midfielder was tipped for the exit door during the summer transfer window, he has nonetheless stayed and showed what the Catalans would have missed if he left. He provides healthy competition in the middle of the park, and his style of play suits Barcelona more than any other club.
Dembele is finally finding his feet: Ousmane Dembele has not been able to fully show the enormous potential that he promised when he made the big money move from Borussia Dortmund. Though he recorded no goal nor assist in the Champions league last season, he came alive in the second half of last season in La Liga and the Europa league. He recorded 13 assists in La Liga last season. This season, he has already recorded two goals and two assists.
If he continues to remain fit, he could prove very vital in their UCL campaign.
Disadvantages Barcelona have in pursuit of the Champions League
Potential injury crisis: Xavi must be scratching his hairs right now, given the recent news of an injury wave that has hit a number of his players during the international break. The likes of Ronald Araujo, Memphis Depay, Frenkie De Jong and more recently Hector Bellerin.
The squad is a very talented squad but there are too many injury-prone players. The likes of Ousmane Dembele, Hector Bellerin and Ansu Fati are the usual culprits.
Barcelona’s medical staff will have to be up and running in order to stem the tide, because if history is to be repeated, the Catalans are set for another setback due to injuries.
Relative squad Champions League inexperience: This is a disadvantage that you will mostly not associate with a giant club like Barcelona, but a quick survey round the team shows that only a handful of players have either won the tournament or even gotten to the finals. Xavi himself is managing his first Champions League season with the club. Though as a player he played so many times in the competition, the managerial circle is a totally different ball game.
Barcelona have assembled a plethora of talents that have the capacity to shake the tables in the UEFA Champions League, but there are some factors that could work against them. We will have to wait and see how it all pans out.