Barcelona have had a very great start to the new season but things are already falling apart for the Blaugranas. Losing the El Clasico 2-0 at the Bernebeu cannot be said to be things going accoording to plan for Xavi Hernandez but they seem to have bounced back pretty well winning Villareal 3-0.
The trouble with Barcelona this season seems to be their inability to put up great performances when the stakes are high. This has been their story in the UEFA Champions League this season. Barcelona struggled against Bayern Munich despite their acquisition of Robert Lewandowski. As if it was not bad enough that they lost 2-0 against Bayern Munich in Germany, they also lost 1-0 against Inter Milan in San Siro. To make matters even more complicated, Barcelona could only force a 3-3 draw against Inter Milan at Nou Camp. Now they are as good as out of the Champions League where they only success this season has been a 5-1 demolition of minnows Viktorian Pizen.
The pattern of doing extremely well against smaller clubs and struggling when the stakes are high has not been limited to the Champions League for Barcelona. In the Spanish La Liga they have won their matches with more ease than their bitter rivals Real Madrid and in fact have a superior goal difference. Unfortunately, when they had to play against Real Madrid they were literally walloped 3-1. That was unacceptable but that is where Barcelona have found themselves at the moment; playing second fiddle to Los Blancos!
Interestingly Barcelona won four of their first five competitive matches this season with at least a three-goal margin. Four of those matches saw them keeping clean sheets and three of them were won with a 4-goal margin. It felt like the giants were back until they began to play teams like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Once they faced such oppositions. the crumbled like a pack of cards and lost almost without putting up a fight. Could it be a problem of poor mentality or simply the coach probably failing to pick the right tactics at these big games?
Whatever the problem Xavi Hernandez still has enough time to fix it particularly in local competitions. Barcelona are just three points behind Real Madrid and can close up the gap with a little consistency in their results. Unfortunately, it may be too little too late to do the same in the Champions League. The fans will hardly complain if Barcelona can win the La Liga and Copa del Rey but that is easier said than done. No disrespect to what Barcelona have done this season but they must win the big games if they are to win laurels this season.