Barcelona are currently a shaken side and will be a disappointed lot after starting the year on a losing note. The fragility and the lack of composure in front of goal saw a 9-man Atletic Bilbao win 2-1 against the mighty Messi and Co. Two goals in three first-half minutes from Aritz Aduriz and Inaki Williams put the hosts in control against the 2016 champions. Lionel Messi reduced the deficit from a free-kick after the break. But it was too little and as it turned out, too late. They are still favourites to qualify as they have the valuable away goal but it only compounded matters in a season where not a lot is going their way.
Barcelona are currently in the second spot of the La Liga table and will consider themselves a tad fortunate as the level of consistency they have shown probably did not merit that. With the top of the table looking unusually crowded, the Nou Camp outfit will be wary of dropping any more points.
Although it is looking unlikely, even if Los Blancos do slip up in the future, Barcelona have to make sure they are in a position to take advantage of that.
A major part of Barca’s shortcomings this season has been the iffy form of Sergio Busquets. His impenetrable calm and collected process of snuffing out an attack and recycling possession were the backbone of Barcelona’s game and he has come up short in that regard. He has looked lethargic, he has committed uncharacteristic errors and his positioning has been shockingly off-the-mark.
On top of that, Rakitic has been oddly off-colour and the successful trio of Iniesta, Busquets and Rakitic haven’t looked the most threatening. With the Croatian excluded in a couple of matchdays, it is looking like a gradual end to his career at Nou Camp is under process.
And amidst all this a name which has cropped up is English international Dele Alli, who has literally set fire to the English Premier League after bursting onto the scene last season.
Alli has been linked with Real Madrid but it now reported that Barcelona are ready to battle it out for the youngster. Alli has shown his maturity and is a hugely developed player for his age. Not lacking in confidence, he has bags of technical ability and to cap it all off, he has goals in him.
His ability to arrive at the right moment in the box and his threat from distance and in the air makes him an entity which has been missing from Barcelona for a long time. The choice might not be the most conventional one but it certainly something the Blaugrana can try to bring something new to the table and the move will surely help Alli become a world-class player in future.
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