This time last year, Barcelona fans had reason to drown their sorrows, as the unexpected and shocking defeat at the hands of newly promoted minnows Hércules at the Nou Camp looked like an ominous sign and dare I say, the start of a descent.
Eight days later Tomáš Ujfaluši added further to Barcelona's misery by threatening to rule Messi out for six months after a dangerous tackle. Luckily the injury was not as serious as first thought and the world player of the year was soon back chomping at the bit.
So, just like last year, September again looks like a month focused on damage limitation and with one draw and a serious injury already in the bag, Pep & Co will be treading softly.
That result against Hércules was either seen as a cataclysmic disaster so early in the new campaign, or it was viewed as a simple yet very timely reminder. Come the end of the season it was the optimists who were smiling from ear to ear as they witnessed Barcelona crowned Champions of Europe for the third time in five years, bringing to a close another mesmerizing season.
As for Hércules, well they may have lived up to their name in the Camp Nou encounter, but lack of subsequent heroics found them eying the saddening prospect of second division football for at least one more season.
Fast forward to 2011 and despite this weekends defeat, Barca find themselves in a better position than at this point last season. Where they had three points from two games in the 2010/11 season they currently have four points from two games.
So to those pessimists who are starting to rear their ugly heads yet again, just remember Barcelona are enjoying a better start to this campaign than the last—and we all know how gloriously that ended.
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