In the past 2 months or so after watching all those other football teams in Europe such as Dortmund, Stuttgart, Augsburg, Tottenham, and Chelsea, I missed watching my favorite football team, FC Barcelona, play. I have to say that it was great to be back in Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. Good weather too compared to mainland Europe where snow is falling in certain high elevation areas. Now the weather ain’t going to be as good as the Canaries but it’s still better than the majority of Europe where the snow’s fallen quite a bit. But I guess I’m saying that because the sun sure tastes better on the skin after enduring sub-freezing temperatures for awhile. A little gift to keep focus on accomplishing some of the more difficult goals even if in cold weather.
But more importantly, I missed particularly seeing Barca’s style of play in action since other teams do not do which is tiki-taka, control the ball, the spacing, momentum, and then attack from all sides, going left to right, up, down. It’s a beautiful thing to watch as it all builds up into a combined team attack as one harmonious motion. I was especially happy to go to the first game rght after the recent Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) game against Sevilla where the team was down 0-2 on aggregate going into the second leg but came back from behind and won it 6-1 (6-3 aggregated) to move onto the Copa del Rey semi-finals! It reminded me of Barca’s comeback from 0-4 aggregate to win it 6-5 by scoring 6 goals at Camp Nou on the second leg to beat Paris Saint-Germain a few years back to proceed onwards in Champions League.
Going into this game, it also marked my first FC Barcelona game for the year of 2019 so I was excited to be back out to Camp Nou again to watch the top team in the world. The one thing that I love about Barca is that it’s just so hard to find tactical deficiencies with the team since their method of attack is all over the place so it’s hard to just shut down one aspect when the team will just go multiple different routes to score. And lastly, Barca has the ultimate secret weapon in having the best player in the world in Lionel Messi who can go 1 on 1 or 1 on 8 players and take it the distance to score. And you never know who else might come up to play the hero as this team has a lot of talent that can make plays individually while still playing within the Barca system/playing style. That’s what makes this Barca team so dangerous because when the team finds a hole, the players will exploit it. Of course, the team has the disadvantage of being public enemy number one so everyone is looking to gun down the King of La Liga.
Barca’s opponent, Valencia Club de Fútbol or Valencia CF, is considered to be one of the more better teams in La Liga as the Valencia team has won several trophies on their own right despite being squeezed out between the two El Clásico monsters of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Surprisingly though, Valencia is not doing so well this season as they are near the middle pack of the league (and at times, worst than average) which is kind of odd. Then again, Real Madrid was also struggling earlier this season showing that a lot of curveballs have thrown in this season with one exception – Barcelona has hit all those curveballs and weird spinners out of the ballpark with no issues as the Barca stands perch up high on top of the standings defending the La Liga crown, once again. Despite some hiccups here and there, Barca is still the king of La Liga while going for Copa del Rey and Champions League in an attempt to win the treble (and maybe even 6 major trophies for this year of 2019? It happened before in 2009! Let’s see it again in 2019!).
In this game, Valencia showed itself to be more than just the average, middle-of-the-pack-standings team that it appeared to be. Of course, it didn’t help Barca that the referees clearly missed some calls such as the foul on Messi in the penalty box or the out of bounds balls that should have gone to Barca… not to mention some BS moves on Valencia’s part trying to delay the game after going up 0-2 in the first half.
With talented forward Ousmane Dembele out injured, Philippe Coutinho was up forward on the attack as it appeared that he regained his confidence from the Copa del Rey game after scoring 2 goals. He, with Luis Suarez and Leo Messi, who all as a front 3 were causing all kinds of problems but could not produce despite all the pressure on the Valencia defense. Luckily, for Barca, it has the world’s best player, Messi, who will put you on a highlight reel if you’re not too careful and yet, when you get too focused on Messi… the other guys get great, open opportunities to score. And in this case, Messi played his magic scoring two comeback goals to get the 2-2 tie to prevent Valencia from the win.
I was worried that the game would have slipped away but Barca showed great resiliency in getting those two goals back. Valencia is also in the semi-finals of Copa del Rey so it’s possible that the two teams will cross paths in the Copa del Rey final game. So that’s why it was important to have this comeback experience against Valencia now because it can put a lot of confidence going into future games. For example, when Barca beat Sevilla earlier last year in the 2018 Copa del Rey trophy game, the team also won the 2018 Supercopa de Espana trophy game, and last year’s regular season La Liga game (a FCB game which I went to several months ago) – it all culminated in the comeback victory and overall in eliminating Sevilla from Copa del Rey.
For tickets to FC Barcelona at Camp Nou, go to the team’s website. They’ve made it a lot easier compared to what it was a couple years back when it was quite unwieldy and cumbersome. It’s a lot more fan-friendly this time around.
Tip: Even during the winters, Spain can be cold especially during the night. So it’s highly suggested to bring a jacket/coat during these times because otherwise, it’ll be freezing during those windy conditions. I was cold sitting in a Camp Nou seat for about 3 hours and luckily, that wind was not blasting at me.