Since 2008, Barcelona have always finished in the top two of the La Liga – winning eight of the 12 titles contested during that time.
This year they seem to have their work cut out for them though, if they want to continue that excellent run.
Despite Atlético Madrid losing the city derby on the weekend against Real Madrid, Diego Simeone’s side enjoys a lead in the table and look convincing when they take to the field.
Barcelona meanwhile, have been blowing hot and cold – more cold though and lost four of their opening ten league fixtures, as well as slumping to an embarrassing 3-0 home defeat against Juventus in the Champions League.
After two league matches, Barcelona were sitting at the top of the table after two wins and seven goals scored without conceding one, but since then, things have not been going their way and they are desperate for points to stay in the hunt.
They are facing two important matches this week, as they first take on Real Sociedad on Wednesday and then Valencia on Saturday. As both games are at home, Barça fans are hoping that good results in those matches will kick-start a run that will keep them in the hunt.
Coach Ronald Koeman said he was confident the club was playing the right system. “We are the team that has created the most opportunities in the league and that’s thanks to the system. We have players like [Lionel] Messi, Pedri and [Antoine] Griezmann. They need space and freedom. And we look for the best for these players with this system.
“We are in a difficult moment at the club, not only on a sporting level. There are many more things. We look for the best in every way. I see the squad is keen and wants to improve. They know where we have to go. You cannot change in two days, you have to work to improve.”
Neither opponents will make it easy for the Blaugrana though.
Sociedad are one of the in-form teams at the moment and have been sitting near the top of the table for much of the season, while Valencia are a club with a proud tradition and six titles to their name.
Coach Javi Gracia has one of the youngest teams in La Liga and regularly uses two teenagers – South Korean midfielder Kang-in Lee and right winger Yunus Musah, who only turned 18 at the end of November.
Born in New York, his parents originally came from Ghana. Musah lived in Italy for 10 years before joining the Arsenal academy. He joined Valencia in 2019 and debuted for the first team in September, aged just 17.
He has played in all but one of Valencia’s La Liga matches this season and is considered one of the hottest talents in world football.
Although he played in England’s youth international teams, he has decided to play for the US and was given his first two caps last month, starting in two friendlies against Wales and Panama.
Football fans throughout Africa will be able to see both Barcelona matches live and in HD on the StarTimes channels as Africa’s leading digital-TV operator has secured the broadcasting rights for the exciting La Liga.
And to reward its subscribers, StarTimes launched a “1 to 3” project giving each pay-TV subscriber 3 VIP membership on the StarTimes ON streaming app for free! Then, all family members are able to watch their favourite content simultaneously on various devices. This handy application can provide the users with 150+ live TV channels and 20,000hrs+ programs.
By Peter Auf der Heyde