Barcelona: 5 keys to their 29 game unbeaten run
Since losing to Sevilla on October 3, 2015, Luis Enrique's Barcelona side have won 23 matches, drawing just 6 and in turn have created a new club record.
Barcelona’s run of 29 unbeaten games has it’s particular unique statistics but behind the Catalan club’s new record breaking run there are very defined keys to this achievement. Firstly the facts; since losing to Sevilla on October 3 at the Sánchez Pizjuán, Barça have won 23 games, drawing six. The late goal from Kaptoum against Valencia last night managing to maintain the sequence which has seen the team score 87 goals for and 15 against with Suárez bagging 30 of the club’s goals. The most used player by Luis Enrique in this period has been Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic. As the club face a key week in the LaLiga challenge facing Celta on Sunday, Sporting midweek and an away trip Las Palmas, these are the key factors in Barças latest undefeated streak.
Winning DNA. Barça have just qualified for their sixth Copa del Rey final in eight years. Their desire to win has seen the team claw back in cup games against Espanyol and Athletic when goals from Caicedo and Williams respectively saw their rivals go ahead. These are games where Luis Enrique’s side were able to dig deep and find the resolve to come from behind.
Efficiency. Mascherano has mentioned this on many times. Barça don’t necessarily need to play well to win games. Recent games against Málaga (1-2) and Sunday’s win at Levante (0-2) showcase this point.
Performance: Barcelona are still attractive to watch and can still pull off dazzling performances. The win at the Bernabéu (0-4), against River (3-0) in the Club World Cup final and the 7-0 demolition of Gary Neville's Valencia in the Copa del Rey semi-final are perfect examples of the classic Barça ingredients working together: effective pressure, quick movement of the ball and excellent ability to counter attack.
The Spanish spine of Piqué-Busquets-Iniesta. Apart from the brilliance that Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez provide, Barça’s run would not have been possible without the stability that Piqué, Busquets and Iniesta offer. They cover for the likes of Mascherano, Mathieu or Vermaelen and offer a distinct level of leadership. Busquets remains the pivotal player in the side whilst Iniesta has lost none of his ability to pick out a pass and is without doubt the creative force in the current Barcelona team.
Harmonious dressing room: The visible unison between Messi, Neymar and Suárez is a key factor in cementing the ongoing success. The strong link among the players and their ability to remain removed from the institutional turmoil of court cases, fiscal problems and political situations that the club are embroiled in has been vital in creating a squad fully focused on events on the pitch. After the well documented bust-up between the Asturian coach and Messi at Anoeta (January 2015) which was swiftly resolved with Xavi playing a vital role as mediator, the subsequent dressing room harmony was cited by many as one of the key factors in the unity that saw the Catalan club secure the ‘treble’ last season.