Editorial: Full Analysis Of Barcelona Come Back This Season

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On Sunday at the Metropolitano, the reigning Spanish champions confirmed their renewal by signing a brilliant 3-0 victory on the field of an Atlético Madrid not totally recovered from its colossal effort on Wednesday to eliminate Inter Milan on penalties.

A seventh success in ten matches for the Catalans, transformed and moved from fourth to second place in Liga since their 5-3 defeat at home against Villarreal at the end of January, who had pushed Xavi to resign to try to free his team a little.

Sunday’s performance, perhaps “the best of the season” according to the Catalan technician, highlighted the elements that allowed Barça to raise its head.

A found defense

Starting with an imperial defense, which has just followed four days without conceding goals for the first time of the season after months of excitement that cost him dearly in the Liga (eight points behind Real), the Spanish Super Cup (4-1 humiliation in the final against Real) and the King’s Cup (elimination in the quarters).

In the ropes and criticized for his choices, Xavi responded by placing Danish defender Andreas Christensen in the midfield, to launch the young Spanish center Pau Cubarsi, 17, alongside Ronald Araujo.

A paying choice that, combined with the return to shape in Marc-André ter Stegen’s goals and the rise of Jules Koundé as a right-back, brought more serenity and control to the Blaugranas.

“I felt that Pau Cubarsi was ready,” said the Catalan coach after starting him against Betis on the eve of his 17th birthday.

“When he has the ball, my heart rate does not accelerate. This is the best quality of Cubarsi, a 17-year-old kid who is quiet when he has the ball and who, when he has to play directly, does it with intelligence. He is wonderful,” he said after the young defender’s remarkable performance against Naples.

Fearless young people

Called to the selection after only a dozen matches played in pro, Cubarsi is the latest from a new golden generation trained in the Masia that has perfectly filled the gaps of a squad decimated by injuries.

At the age of 16, Lamine Yamal carries the Catalan club on his still frail shoulders, fulfilling the role of catalyst occupied by Ousmane Dembélé until his departure from PSG this summer.

The left-hander breaks all the records of precocity within his reach and has become essential in Barça and in the selection, with already 44 games played in all competitions, for eight goals and five assists. Until being compared with the idol Lionel Messi, for his tendency to get back on his left foot to roll up from his right wing.

In the absence of Gavi, 19, another nugget already installed in the team, it was Fermin Lopez, 20, who asserted himself in the middle by being decisive at each appearance, with a similar desire and activity.

Starting in the left-back position on Sunday after Cancelo’s forfeit, Hector Fort, 17, also showed great promises.

Leaders who assume

In the midst of these young talents, Robert Lewandowski (35) and Ilkay Gündogan (33) raised their level, with the Polish scorer regaining his effectiveness in front of the goal and the German metronome his influence in the midfield.

Top scorer in Liga last year but disappointing in the first half of the season, Lewandowski is involved in fifteen goals in 2024, with 11 achievements and 4 assists, including two against Atlético.

Gündogan, freed by Christensen’s replacement as a sentinel, plays higher and shines in construction and in the last passes, as he did in Manchester City.

PSG is warned: the great Barça is not yet back, but its current version is the best for a long time.

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