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Barca can forget difficult summer as they face Levante
Photo Credit: David Ramos, Getty Images

Barca can forget difficult summer as they face Levante

Aug 17 2013, 7:40am CDT | by IANS

Madrid, Aug 17 (IANS) When their Sunday's Spanish La Liga match at home to Levante kicks off at 6 pm local time, fans and players of FC Barcelona will be relieved that a difficult pre-season has come to an end.

Madrid, Aug 17 — When their Sunday's Spanish La Liga match at home to Levante kicks off at 6 pm local time, fans and players of FC Barcelona will be relieved that a difficult pre-season has come to...

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49 weeks ago

Barca can forget difficult summer as they face Levante

Aug 17 2013, 7:40am CDT | by IANS

Madrid, Aug 17 (IANS) When their Sunday's Spanish La Liga match at home to Levante kicks off at 6 pm local time, fans and players of FC Barcelona will be relieved that a difficult pre-season has come to an end.

Madrid, Aug 17 — When their Sunday's Spanish La Liga match at home to Levante kicks off at 6 pm local time, fans and players of FC Barcelona will be relieved that a difficult pre-season has come to an end.

The summer started in the worst possible way with Tito Vilanova forced to step down as first team coach in order to continue his fight against cancer. Vilanova was rapidly replaced by Gerardo 'Tata' Martino, given the job of evolving but not radically changing the Barca game plan, but Martino didn't arrive until the pre-season was well under way, reports Xinhua.

He wasn't helped by a schedule which saw Barca collect more air miles than time on the training ground as they flew to Germany, Norway, Israel, Thailand and Malaysia in a dizzying schedule.

No sooner had they returned to Barcelona than Cristian Tello, Victor Valdes, Andes Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez and Jordi Alba were on a plane to Ecuador with the Spain national side for Wednesday's friendly match, finally arriving in Barcelona again Thursday with what must be a dictionary definition of jet-lag.

Martino has had to cope with a lack of signings, with the club's search for a central defender starting to assume tragicomic proportions, but he will take comfort that there have been few changes to last season's title winning squad, meaning the side can almost be recited by heart with Javier Mascherano still covering for Carles Puyol and Neymar in for David Villa, who was sold to Atletico Madrid.

With respects to Lionel Messi, who is likely to play despite suffering a muscle problem in midweek, Neymar will be the star attraction after his signing from Santos and the Brazilian has given signs of his undoubted talent, although the club has designed a program to help 'beef him up' after losing weight with suspected anaemia this summer.

Alexis Sanchez is also in favour after an impressive summer has seen him play more than any of his companions and the goals scored by the Chilean winger have helped forget his confidence crisis from last season. His willingness to run himself into the ground for the cause fits in perfectly with Martino's policy of pressing high in the opposition half.

That will be one of the big problems for Levante, who will present a new-look side at Camp Nou under a new coach, Joaquin Caparros.

Murmurings of match-fixing allegations at the end of last season saw a clear-out of Levante's veteran defence with younger players drafted in along with the experienced Caparros, who has a talent for getting the best out of a limited squad.

He does favour a packed defence and direct style of play, however, and that is going to gift Barca the ball for long spells of pressure, so expect the familiar script of the irresistible force of Barca's attack.

IANS

Source: IANS

 
Update
5

5 days ago

Is There Still a Place for Marc Bartra in Luis Enrique's Barcelona Revolution?

Jul 27 2014 1:00am CDT | Source: Bleacher Report

Marc Bartra has to be one of the unluckiest members of Barcelona's current squad. As he begins his third season with the first-team squad, not only have the club gone out and bought Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia but rumours are rife that they are ready to acquire more central defenders. Per Mundo Deportivo (via John Drayton of the Daily Mail), Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen is the latest to be linked with a switch to Camp Nou ...
Source: Bleacher Report  Full article at: Bleacher Report
 

 
Update
4

1 week ago

5 Reasons Why Barcelona Has Declined

Jul 19 2014 12:23pm CDT | Source: Bleacher Report

Barcelona was, at one time, the best team in the world. Some even argued that Pep Guardiola's side was one of the greatest of all-time. However, since his departure, the club has slowly gone downhill. The late Tito Vilanova did the best he could, winning a league title in the 2012-13 campaign. His eventual replacement, Gerardo Martino, couldn't steer the ship back on a winning course. The 2013-14 season marked the first time in six years that Los Cul ...
Source: Bleacher Report  Full article at: Bleacher Report
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Luis Enrique Taken to Hospital with Appendicitis: Updates on Barcelona Manager

Jun 9 2014 5:31am CDT | Source: Bleacher Report

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has been taken to the hospital with acute appendicitis and will undergo surgery on Monday. The news was reported on the Daily Mail's Twitter feed as well as by Spanish newspaper Marca: The 44-year-old is in only the very early stages of his time in charge of the Catalan giants, having taken over from Tata Martino, who left the post at the end of the 2013-14 season, per ...
Source: Bleacher Report  Full article at: Bleacher Report
 

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Tito Vilanova convinced Leo Messi to sign contract extension with Barcelona

Jun 6 2014 2:30am CDT | Source: inside spanish football

Reports have emerged that former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova persuaded Lionel Messi to sign a new deal at the Catalan giants just days before he passed away. The Argentine has been at Barca since the age of 13, and after a difficult season where the club came close bu ...
Source: inside spanish football   Full article at: inside spanish football
 

 

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