Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Five Reasons Barca Have the Edge This Season
La Liga is about to start and, as always, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the favorites.
Barcelona have won La Liga in the last two seasons, producing excellent football and defeating Real Madrid in the last four times the teams faced each other, by a combined score of 11-2.
However, Real Madrid, in a desperate attempt to put an end to their trophy drought, have hired José Mourinho - the coach who managed to defeat Barcelona last season in the Champions League with Inter Milan.
Some think that Mourinho's arrival is enough to take Real Madrid to the title, but it is safe to assume that Barcelona are still the team to beat.
Real Madrid are bound to improve with Mourinho, but Barcelona are still the odds-on favorites to win the 2010-2011 La Liga.
The following are five (of the) reasons why, in my opinion, Barcelona have the edge over Real Madrid:
This might not seem like a big advantage, but it definitely is.
In the last four times Barcelona and Real Madrid faced each other, Barcelona won all four. Real Madrid were completely humbled in the last two matches in the Bernabeu (2-6 and 0-2).
The humilliations surely left some negative psychological effects on the Real Madrid players, and that might be an important factor the next time the two teams face each other.
In five matches against Barcelona (three of which with Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world's best players, has never managed to score a single goal. In fact, in these five duels, Ronaldo's teams only managed to score once against Barcelona.
We all know that Cristiano Ronaldo will be desperate to finally score against Barcelona and that eagerness might turn against him and, as a consequence, against his team.
Okay, first of all, let me make something perfectly clear: both Barcelona and Real Madrid are always pressured to win. Losing is simply not an option.
However, this season, the pressure to win at all costs will be more felt in Madrid.
The core of the Barcelona squad has already won everything there is to win in football. The club itself has won eight trophies in the last 16 months
As for Real Madrid, they have been trophiless for two seasons, an unbearable drought for a club with such a rich history.
A third trophiless season in a row would be catastrophic for Real Madrid (if that happens, heads will roll, including Mourinho's). For Barcelona, losing the league would be a failure, but the repercussions wouldn't be nearly as negative as in Real Madrid's case.
Far Better Chemistry
This one is really a no-brainer.
Barcelona's core have played together for several years, both in their club and in the Spanish national team. This makes their chemistry absolutely perfect.
Even David Villa will have no problem adapting to Barcelona's football style: it's the same style that Spain employs and he is used to playing alongside the likes of Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta and Pedro.
Even Mourinho admitted that Real Madrid have a long way to go before their chemistry level might even come near Barcelona's
La Masia has played a major role in Barcelona's recent success.
First of all, La Masia players feel the club in a way that makes them give 100% every time they wear the blaugrana jersey. A fine example of this is Xavi, who asked to play against Villareal last season, even though he knew that he risked aggravating a minor injury and miss the World Cup.
This commitment and love for the club is common to all La Masia players and is one of the secrets behind Barcelona's success. Lionel Messi, the most talented player of this generation, has said that he loves Barcelona and will never play for another club: all he wants is to help the club he loves and that has given him so much build a dinasty of success.
Besides, Barcelona's academy will provide extra depth to Guardiola's squad. If necessary, incredibly talented youth players like Thiago Alcantara, Jonathan Dos Santos or Oriol Romeu (among others) will step up and help the team. Guardiola knows he can rely 100% on Barcelona's youth players. This added depth might be important for Barcelona's success.
This is the most important reason of all. Barcelona's squad is simply better than Real Madrid's.
We are talking about the core of the Spanish national team that won the Euro 2008 and the World Cup 2010 plus Lionel Messi (the best player in the world) and Daniel Alves (arguably the best wing back in the world).
Barcelona's lineup is so strong that a brilliant player like Ibrahimovic risks being benched (and probably will).
The golden generation of Spanish football (and Lionel Messi) is still as hungry for success as ever. These players are trying to establish themselves as all-time greats and cement this Barcelona team as one of the finest football teams in history.
Dethroning Barcelona might prove to be too big a challenge, even for Mourinho, arguably one of the best managers in the world.