It has certainly been a trying week for Pep Guardiola. He has had to defend himself relentlessly against the Spanish press, who have declared that the La Liga race is over and that Real Madrid will certainly go on to win the title.
The headlines on the news stands in Barcelona had headlines ranging from “Fans losing hope under the Guardiola Era”, to “Liga Race is over.”
This came after Real Madrid continued to run circles around opponents while FC Barcelona again came up short. The gap between the two teams is now 7-points and although many fans declare their undying faith in Pep, for FC Barcelona to close the gap, it requires Real Madrid to lose more than the equivalent of two games and FC Barcelona to win all their remaining games this season.
Possible….perhaps yes, but when one looks at the stats from the season so far, it maybe that the title is already on its way to the capital.
Guardiola spent the week defending himself and the team; on Tuesday night, Guardiola sat down for a press conference that lasted 47 minutes making sure to take every question; Guardiola insisted that the race is not over, and that FC Barcelona is known as a team that never gives up.
Furthermore, Guardiola stated that it would be unfair to call Real Madrid the Champions, since FC Barcelona has beaten them four times this season. True to form, Mourinho avoided making any comments that could be misconstrued, but did state that Real Madrid was fully aware that the race is far from over despite the fact that most people tend to believe that the 7-point gap is one that seems nearly impossible on closing.
Copa Del Rey
Considering the history between FC Barcelona and Valencia in the Copa Del Rey,a win for Barcelona was anything but a foregone conclusion. But watching the faces of the FCB fans during the match, one could certainly tell that the outcome was not what they wanted or expected.
The two teams have met 18 times during the C.D.R, and FCB has won 11 times. They have met five times during the semifinal, with Barcelona winning three times and Valencia twice. It is also worth noting that the team that won each of the semi-finals went on to win the title.
The first leg of this season’s semifinal match-up was played on Wednesday and ended in a 1-1 draw.
Valencia opened the scoring in the 27th minute leaving FCB to chase an equalizer. Less than 10 minutes they got the goal from a Puyol header.
They even had a chance to win the game but were frustrated when Messi missed a penalty kick in the 56th. He may be considered the best player in the world, but perhaps not the player who should be taking penalty kicks for FC Barcelona.
Despite all the uncertainty that surrounds FC Barcelona in the Liga race, it was a big week for youngster, Isaac Cuenca, who was signed to the A-squad. The contract runs through the end of 2015, and his designated number is 23.
FC Barcelona’s next match is tomorrow, February 4th against Real Sociedad.
You can also find other Soccer Report Extra.com contributors on Twitter by following this link.
Have some thoughts and opinions you want to express? The Training Ground is your chance. Just click on the link.
Please refrain from posting comments that;
The House reserves the right to delete any such comments and to block further participation on the site.