Yesterday was one of those days when I got a clear sense of the worst that is to come for barca. They were playing bottom feeders Almeria whom they had beaten 8-0, a record in la liga, I think. Inspite of handing such an earlier drubbing and inspite of playing at the intimidating Nou Camp and inspite of playing an almost full strength squad, the show was almost unbelievable. Barca could not come to grips till about the 30 minute mark and even then were far from convincing. Remember this is the side which is ranked 20th and yet they didnt look like they were the lowest ranked team in La Liga. Almost every department was weak in the barca game. Xavi was not able to find space like he usually does, Messi was strangely running into defenders, Bojan was too twitchy after getting a rare start and hobbled off in the first half, mascherano picks up an yellow to miss the classico next week (may not be a bad thing though. :-) ), thiago tricks a lot of players and sometimes himself, iniesta could not get the ball even if he paid his weekly wages to someone, militos lack of play time showed and pinto, well he remained the joker tottering with every ball.
The scoreline at the end may read 3-1, but every barca fan knows that it was too hard earned a win to be proud of the scoreline. This result and this game has been in the works for a while. Look at the last few games of barca starting with their draw against Sporting Gijon, the scores read 1-1, 2-1, 3-0, 1-0, 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 1-0. See the trend? Barca have been labouring and it shows. Barca does not have a big squad like the cash rich Man C or Real Madrid or doesnt have an experienced bench like Man U or Spurs. Pep has been blooding some young guns, but it is not working quite to plan. Bojan is there or thereabouts. Pedros injury has had a real effect on his effectiveness. Thiago is promising, but makes mistakes which could cost in the big games. Afellay is a jack of many trades, but masters none. He has not shown me any reason to believe he can be a first team player, not yet. Keita is an also ran and cannot be the game changer.
So, in short, Barca is tiring and they dont have enough reinforcements to spruce them up. The League is theirs, Copa del ray... well, I dont care. But the CL, the big one, that is very much in doubt. The mind games that mourinho will play with 4 matches coming up with Real Madrid will tire Pep too. And even if they get past Real Madrid, Man U and the never say die (pun intended) Fergie will get to Barca.
Life is getting very interesting and very difficult for barca... and very soon. :-)