Is Barcelona Really That Good?

I wrote a piece in an email newsletter and posted the same on our discussion forum asking if Barcelona really are that good.  You can see the post on the discussion forum here.  I wrote this after watching Barcelona outclass and dismantle a very good Arsenal team away from home.  Although the score was 2-2 after that first leg, it was a very one sided game.

After seeing the second leg, I am convinced that Barcelona are actually "that good".  It's rare that we see a team that is head and shoulders above the other top European teams in any particular season and it's just as rare to see a team that plays with the free flowing, attractive style of this Barcelona team, so I am making sure I get to see and enjoy their games.

Having said that, Arsenal played into Barcelona's hands by playing their own brand of open and attractive soccer, which allowed Barcelona lots of opportunities to attack.  So I think the semi final against Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan will be a different kettle of fish.  Although Inter aren't in the same class as Barcelona, Mourinho is a master tactician and motivator.  He won't play the open style of Arsenal and will limit the attacking opportunities of Barcelona.  My guess is Barcelona will still win, but it won't be so easy and it won't be the exciting games as played against Arsenal.

Staying on the Champions League topic, can anyone tell me how a team can lose over two legs when they scored first in the away leg and were up 3-0 in the home leg?  I'm lost for words as to how Manchester United accomplished that.  It reminds me of Brazil in the 1982 World Cup when they lost 3-2 to Italy when they only needed a draw to advance.  I also vaguely remember Derby County losing a European tie when they won 4-1 in the first leg and lost 5-1 in the second leg...I think it might have been against Real Madrid but I'm not 100% sure.

Have a good weekend and enjoy the games on TV and if your are coaching.

Mike Saif

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