The remnants of the massive snowstorm from a few days ago are still clearly visible in Istanbul, the first of Barcelona’s two seasons in the tour de force This week. The second will be the Santiago Bernabeu. But Barça does not want to freeze between the Europa League and the League, between Turkey and Madrid, a double challenge for a team which has found the scheme, the timbre, the game and the goal. With a parenthesis, the Camp Nou match against Galatasaray. A 0-0 which forces Barça to win or take a penalty shootout this Thursday at the Nave stadium, where a dying opponent awaits them but has recovered in recent games.
Four goals have been endorsed by Barcelona against Atlético, Valencia, Napoli, Athletic and Osasuna in the last month and a half. A letter of introduction that attests to what the revamped Blaugrana squad are capable of, looking to be in the quarter-final draw. Xavi has a choice and can practice smart team management, no matter how much he said now the only important thing is the game against Domènec Torrent’s men and no matter how much the rotations didn’t work for him at the moment. first leg.
Because this game has him as an example of what cannot be repeated. “We haven’t done our homework at the Camp Nou and we have to do it in Istanbul, in front of one of the loudest crowds in Europe. You have to go out with more intensity and aggression. You have to attack better than in the first game. If we understand how to attack, we have many options to pass, although we also have to stop their counters”, argued the coach of Terrassa, who repeated the words “final”, “piles or face” and “revalidation” like a mantra.
Barca are so aware of their improvement that in the first leg they didn’t do their homework
In this sense, he sees many similarities with the match in Napoli, where his team played the best game of the season. “It’s a new opportunity to show that we can be competitive in Europe. I take the pressure of this match and that of the Bernabeu naturally and positively. I like to compete.”
His Barça has made a leap in quality and quantity. A somersault to his previous pessimistic panorama in which the Gabonese Aubameyang makes an important contribution. He surprised with his ability to adapt to Xavi himself (“he’s a gift”), who preferred Morata, but he doesn’t do anything that wasn’t on his ID as a striker. In his career, with strongholds in Dortmund and Arsenal, the Gabonese scores on average just over half a goal per game. Exactly what he handled at Barca, where he scored five goals in nine appearances. The team needed a ram that gave depth, unloaded and had gunpowder. En route to the Bernabeu, where he had already scored in 2016, Aubameyang landed at Barça on the right foot, exploiting his partnership with his friend Dembélé, without major shooting errors and with a good understanding of the always complex Blaugrana system. Anyone would say he came from not playing for a while in England after falling out with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
“My adaptation is facilitated thanks to my teammates. Xavi asks me to be intense in the pressure and to play with precision in small spaces”, affirmed the Gabonese, who believes that the key to the match will be in “the rhythm that we put in the game”.
Ice and Fire
There are still remnants of the big snowstorm in Istanbul but the stands at the Nef stadium will be anything but cold
Another thing is to ensure Aubameyang is a starter. With seven strikers in the squad, even with the option of Gavi being a fake winger, the combinations are many. This is why a variant is expected compared to the match against Osasuna, beyond the Dest by Alves, not registered. Adama Traoré or Frenkie de Jong, who were not in the eleven last Sunday, have numbers to start. Due to the variety of attackers, there will be no attempt to beat Iñaki Peña. An emboldened Galatasaray awaits Aubameyang, Xavi and Barca after their Barcelona draw and derby win over Besiktas. First, Istanbul.
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