36 hours later and I am still trying to get my head around FC Barcelona’s performance against Real Madrid. The sheer beauty and quality of the FCB’s play was truly overwhelming, and the absolute dominance was even greater than the 6-2 drubbing towards the end of 08-09 season.
The information overload before the match has only been matched by the information overload after it. Bloggers, columnists and hacks like me are trying to put the match in perspective while crowning FCB Kings of the World. The fact is, the game was only one of 38 and there are 25 more to go. Yes Mourinho got it wrong but listen to his post match quote:
"Last season I lost here with Inter before returning for the semi-final. We were the ones who reached the final – they watched it on television."
Inter were completely outplayed and looked nothing like the force they would be towards the end of last season. In the same way, Real has taken a step back, but they have the deeper, stronger squad. FCB’s starting 11 will win the league at a canter, but they don’t play every week. Xavi has been struggling with an Achilles injury, Busi always gets cards, and Pedro is susceptible to hamstring issues. This is where Real Madrid may win the league, winning matches while FCB draws. It could be that the rematch in April could be a match when FCB has to win, which we all know Mourinho will know how to frustrate.
Note for weekend:
Looking ahead to this week, Real Madrid host Valencia, while Barcelona travel to Osasuna, and these fixtures will worth watching. Real Madrid won’t want to drop any more points while Valencia needs the 3 points to stay in the hunt for Champions League places. They are currently fifth, with Espanyol fourth on a real high. As for the Blaugrana match, will the starters play and will they be sharp? Surely they cannot hit those heights again against a team in mid table? Yes, because that is what Pep expects, and don’t call me Shirley.