A Barcelona in quarantine
Barcelona continue in the fight for LaLiga and Champions League glory despite being a team that is quarantined, weak and capable of collapsing at any moment.
Despite the obvious alarm bells going off in Barcelona, Quique Setién’s team temporarily regained the top spot in LaLiga on Saturday after defeating Real Sociedad in an agonizing match that was decided by a VAR-awarded penalty.
El Blaugrana receive Napoli in ten days in the Champions League after drawing 1-1 in first leg at the Estadio San Paolo. If they win that match, they will have booked their place in the quarter finals.
As such, Barcelona find themselves living two realities. On the one hand, they are vying for a European and league double. But on the other hand, the team gives off the feeling of one that is quarantined, weak and capable of collapsing at any moment.
Tension in Camp Nou
The Camp Nou remains a fortress where 40 of the 42 possible league points have been secured this season. However, tensions inside the stadium are reaching boiling point. In the last three games, the team has been whistled at one point or another. And during the last two the white handkerchiefs have come out against president Josep Bartomeu.
Criticism of the president is in sharp contrast with the board’s support for the coach and his assistant, Eder Sarabia, who finds himself as the focus of one of the latest controversies that the club has been offering as promptly as a Swiss clock.
The team has also found itself entangled in the criticism. The squad has been diminished through injuries, they have stopped doing the few things that were being done well, the scoring rate has dropped substantially and each game has become a laborious effort.
However, from inside, Setién is confident, satisfied and blames the problems on a combination of a lack of shooting success and the high performance levels of the teams they have faced.
For now, Barcelona have bought another week of time with Saturday's victory against Sociedad. Next up is the trip to Mallorca before the visit of Napoli – two games, in theory, within reach of this Barcelona in quarantine.
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