How Have Barcelona Fared In Champions League Meetings Against English Teams?

With FC Barcelona being one of the biggest clubs not only in Spain but also in Europe, it should come as little surprise that they’ve faced some of the best teams across the continent. The many years that the Champions League has been running means that a variety of teams have tried to beat the Spanish giants with some of them being English – here are some of the most intriguing ties between them.

One of the first games that springs to mind is the infamous 2010/11 knockout round clash between Arsenal and Barcelona – a game that will probably go down as the Emirates Stadium’s best moment in its fifteen year history thus far. While Arsenal would end up going out narrowly via a 4-3 aggregate scoreline, the home leg is the game where the Gunners ran out 2-1 winners against arguably one of the best sides in history. With the iconic midfield trio of Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Xavi, as well as a prime Lionel Messi, lining up against an Arsenal side with the likes of Johan Djourou and Andrey Arshavin, on paper, Arsenal should have been trounced.

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However, the actual outcome was rather different. David Villa would open the scoring for Barca on 26 minutes, and the Spaniards looked to be cruising. However, a spell of wasteful chances including a notable miss from Messi allowed Arsenal to creep in and launch a spirited comeback kickstarted by a Van Persie near-post tap in. The best was yet to come for the Gunners as a few minutes from time, a vicious counter-attack was launched that culminated in a curled effort from Arshavin from the edge of the area that found its way int the back of the net. Barcelona’s reaction to that goal will forever be characterised by goalkeeper Victor Valdes’ slow falling over as the ball went over the line.

FC Barcelona have notably met an English side in the final of the Champions League multiple times. In that same year as the Arsenal clash, 2011, Manchester United stood in the way. Unlike the Arsenal away tie that was closely fought, Barcelona looked in control as they brushed aside United in a 3-1 victory. It would be the Catalan side who scored first through Lionel Messi and them who would have 68% of the ball and have nearly 6 times as many shots as the Red Devils. The 2011 Champions League final was interestingly a repeat of the 2009 edition where Barcelona had met Manchester United before and ran out winners there once again via a two-goal margin, although they did manage to keep a clean sheet in the process.

Unfortunately, after the departure of Pep Guardiola in 2012, Barcelona have struggled in the Champions League with a solitary title in 2015 since then. This year looks little different as they have a 4-1 deficit to overcome in a visit to the French capital. Guardiola, on the other hand, is in charge of a Man City side who are the favourites across all four competitions they are still in, including the league where they have odds of 1.005 in the Premier League betting due to the large gap they have created between them and the rest.

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In previous years, FC Barcelona have been an unstoppable force in the Champions League, not least against English teams. That could be all about to change, though, with Messi nearing retirement and English teams such as Manchester City having a long-term aim to become one of Europe’s best, it may not be long before a changing in the European football guard is seen.

The Manchester City development that will leave Barcelona worried about Lionel Messi

For Barcelona fans, the previous transfer window will have been an anxious time, as it seemed certain that they would lose Lionel Messi. That wouldn’t just be bad news – it would be a catastrophe. It’s unthinkable.

Or, at least, it was. Now, it seems a matter of time before he does go, and the rumours are sure to pick up once again when the window opens up in January. The Argentinian great will have just six months left on his contract at Camp Nou, so he is free to talk to other clubs. Whilst that may not happen with the player himself, as Messi concentrates on his football, you can be sure that his representatives will know what’s out there.

 

And, even at 33-years-old, there will be a lot out there. His impact on the pitch remains high, whilst the fact he would transform a club commercially will appeal to all the big clubs.

It had been suggested that Manchester City were leading the race for Messi in the summer, and you can be sure that they will be interested once again. They have the financial power to satisfy the demands of the left-footer, but more importantly, they have the sporting project that Messi also craves.

A look at the latest Premier League betting odds shows City are the 7/4 favourites to win the league, and they are also one of the frontrunners in terms of the Champions League. Clearly, they are a quality team.

Then, there’s the Pep Guardiola factor. As everyone will know, the Spaniard was in charge when Barcelona, and Messi, were great. It was under Guardiola’s guidance that Messi’s game went up another level – he shone as a false nine and hit the sort of goalscoring form that nobody thought was possible. So, the City boss knows the quality of the Argentine and he would be able to find a plan that would ensure arguably the best player ever can still thrive.  

Given Messi’s desire to win the Champions League again before he retires, this makes grim reading for Barcelona. That’s because the brutal reality is that a move to Manchester would seemingly give him more of a chance of doing just that.

 

Guardiola signing a new deal with the English side is not what anyone connected to Barcelona wanted to hear. It means he will be backed as he searches for City’s first European Cup, and it means he believes he can deliver it. The team will need to be improved to do just that, so Messi may be on the radar.

Of course, there is a hope among the Barca support that the upcoming elections can convince Messi to commit to the club. However, as we’ve mentioned, time is against the iconic number ten. He may have to be selfish if he wants to fulfil his goals before he ends his glittering career. At City, everything is in place. They have a great squad, a manager that knows him,  and a style of play that suits him. Therefore, Barcelona’s unthinkable scenario may play out in front of them in 2021.

Barcelona set to see off Madrid’s challenge

Barcelona and Real Madrid remain locked together at the top of La Liga following a disappointing goalless draw at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

The result left Barca top of the standings ahead of their big rivals on goal difference, although it is fair to say that neither side will remember the latest El Clasico with much fondness.

Read on as we look at the latest state-of-play between these two sides and their respective hopes of success this season.

Tensions overshadow the latest El Clasico

The game was originally scheduled for October 26, but was postponed due to fears of civil unrest in the Catalonia region.

There were clashes outside the stadium on Wednesday between protestors and police, but the game passed without any major problems inside the Nou Camp.

Barca were favourites on the PowerPlay Website to win the match, but both sides struggled to create any meaningful chances during the 90 minutes.

Madrid star Gareth Bale denied afterwards that the protests had any impact on the players’ performance, but it’s fair to say that El Clasico lacked a certain sparkle.

Barca keep hold of top spot

Barca have turned in a few disappointing performances during the first half of the season, but remain in top spot ahead of Madrid.

They have now gone seven games without defeat against Madrid in La Liga and that statistic will undoubtedly please their fans.

The reverse fixture between these two sides on March 1 could prove to be pivotal, but Barca will travel to the Bernabeu Stadium confident they can get a result.

They are still favourites to retain their title and with the prospect of improved performances in the New Year it would be a brave move to back against them.

Madrid flatter to deceive

Valverde claimed after the game that Barca had been dominated by Madrid, although the possession statistics didn’t back up his comments.

Barca had more of the ball and had the better of the few chances that were created, leaving the suspicion that Valverde was playing mind games with Zinedine Zidane.

The Madrid boss was under pressure during the early part of the campaign and his team still don’t look like potential title winners.

With former Chelsea star Eden Hazard struggling to fill Cristiano Ronaldo’s boots, it would be a surprise if Madrid were able to beat Barca to the league title this season.

Barca on a mission in the Champions League

Barca’s collapse against Liverpool in last season’s Champions League semi-finals was undoubtedly a major shock to the system.

However, they have breezed through the group stage this term and have been handed a favourable draw against Napoli in the round of 16.

Madrid will certainly have their work cut out to reach the quarter-finals as they have been paired with Manchester City.

Barca were left wounded by last season’s experience against Liverpool and may well put things right this time around.

Barcelona season preview

With the transfer window nearly closing, it’s nearly time to finalise the squads and start letting the football do the talking.

 

Barcelona have had a great pre-season and transfer window. Unlike Real Madrid, who have lost their influential manager, Zinedine Zidane and star man, Cristiano Ronaldo- Barca have been able to keep their squad together and have made it much stronger than is was last season.

 

The Catalan giants have added Arturo Vidal, Malcolm and the talented Brazilian Arthur. Vidal and Malcolm bring in a wealth of European experience and something that this current squad doesn’t have.

 

Barca haven’t lost many players that could be called first team regulars. Of course, Andreas Iniesta has left the club, but the time was possibly right for that to happen. Other departures are Alexis Vidal who re-joined Sevilla and Lucas Digne who signed for Everton. Yerry Mina is also a player that is widely expected to leave during the window with Barca currently maxed out on their non-Eu players.

 

Ernesto Valverde seems to want to replace a few of those players that have left as he was explicit when asked about transfers, saying that the team are open to adding more players before the end of the window. His priorities are a central midfielder and a left-back, after Lucas Digne left for Everton.

Valverde has been very happy with the pre-season campaign and being able to see his squad players, he said: “The performance is better than the results obtained, we lost two games and drew one but I’m leaving with a good feeling. There are lots of positives.

“Tottenham scored in the last minute to draw, the late Roma goals came when the younger players were on, and against Milan, we dominated, but they get the goal.Other positives have been the new signings, Arthur, Lenglet and Malcom, as well as the B team players: Riqui Puig, Miranda, Monchu, Collado. They can help us not just in the future, but in the present.”

Will the successful window have a positive outcome on the Barca dream to finally break the Real Madrid grip on the Champions League trophy? Most sports betting companies currently think that Barcelona have a better chance than Madrid to win the big European cup but the current favourites with most bookmakers is Juventus- possibly down to the effect of signing Ronaldo.

In order to consider this season a success, Barcelona will need to improve in European competition. Their embarrassing defeat to Roma in Stadia Olympico made it three straight years without a semi-final appearance.

There will be a few younger players on the books at Barca that will be hoping to be given a chance in the upcoming season and you will be sure to see Carles Alena, Abel Ruiz and Carles Perez in at least the Copa Del Rey.

Barca have had a grip on the domestic trophy in Spain for the past four seasons and will be expecting to make it an unprecedented fifth triumph this season. The depth in the squad allows Barca to commit to both domestic trophies and one would think that Barca will once again be the team to beat in the cup competition.

The current La Liga champions will be looking to win their fourth title in five seasons. The Catalan giants have been riveting throughout their league campaigns but have been unglued in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Barca have added Clement Lenglet from Sevilla in a bid to solve their defensive problems and the early signs are good. Injuries and suspensions to Pique and Umtiti late in the season found just how inept the defensive cover is so this transfer helps massively with how competitive the club could be.

The club are heavy favorites to win La Liga again due to how weak Real Madrid look on paper this season and the lack of consistency from Atletico within the league season. The latter will be looking to be the big threat next season with the addition of Thomas Lemar and will be boosted by the fact that they have tied down Antoine Griezmann to a new long-term deal.

One thing is for sure, Barca will be the team to beat again this season and will be fighting for all trophies, but this could be their year to re-capture the European Cup.

Who Should Barca Sign Before The Transfer Window Shuts

With the transfer window still open in Europe many of the top EPL clubs are worried that their star players are going to be snapped up. With both Barcelona and Real Madrid on the hunt for the world best players, all of the top six Premier League clubs are in danger of losing a player key to their team’s success this campaign. If you want to know more about which EPL teams face losing players click here to read more.

 

#1. Eden Hazard

 

Now that the transfer window is closed in the EPL it is unlikely that Chelsea will allow Hazard to move to Barcelona. The Spanish giants have been chasing his signature for some time now and are determined to get their man. The club sees him as the perfect replacement for Neymar who has yet to be replaced after his world record move to PSG. If the Blues were to lose their star player, it would have a huge damage on the team’s success this campaign as without him in the team they look average at best.

 

#2. Willian

 

If Barca is unable to sign their number one choice Hazard it is believed that they will target Willian instead. They would like to bring both players to Camp Nou but that is a very unlikely scenario given that they are the two best players at Chelsea.

 

#3. Paul Pogba

 

The war between Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and star player Paul Pogba has been ongoing all summer. The manager has not been happy for quite some time and after not getting the players he wanted to sign during the transfer window, there’s a lot of tension between him and the board. If Man U are going to have a great season they will need Pogba firing on all cylinders and unless his relationship with the manager is resolved, it is likely one of them will not be at the club too much longer. With Barcelona wanting to sign the player it is going to be difficult for the club to hold out.

 

#4. Adrien Rabiot

 

It is believed that Barcelona is close to securing the signature of Rabiot who currently players for PSG. It has been rumored that they are willing to pay the midfielder £9 million each year and pay his club up to £45 million to sign him. The player has been linked in the past with moves to Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur but it looks like he will be on his way to Camp Nou anytime soon.

 

Conclusion

 

If Barca is going to sign any new players before the transfer window in Europe closes it is likely that they will not come from the EPL. With the early closing of the transfer window for the Premier League, it means if clubs are to lose star players they are unable to replacement till at the earliest January by which time the title race could be over.