FC Barcelona – La Liga Optimism around the Camp Nou
Barcelona host Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
When the draw took place, the Catalans were in turmoil and dreading facing the French champions. Since then, they’ve come a long way and are now one of Spain’s in-form sides.
Injuries were taking their toll back then. Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto had fallen injured and Ronald Koeman‘s 4-2-3-1 wasn’t working. A lot has changed since mid-December, though.
Now, Barcelona fancy themselves to beat PSG for a number of reasons, which are outlined here.
Barcelona fans are enjoying watching their team play again and there’s relative optimism around the club.
They’ve played seven LaLiga Santander games in the last month and won them all.
Additionally, some of the wins have come through great moments late on, namely those against Granada and Real Betis.
Messi‘s form is unmatched and he showed it again on Saturday against Alaves.
He has been playing at a much higher level since Christmas than he had been before the holiday period. When he’s on form, Barcelona can beat anyone.
On top of Messi, players like Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong have stepped up as well, starting 2021 at an impressive level.
The Dutchman’s role has shifted and he has become decisive, even scoring regularly now.
Beyond Barcelona‘s own situation, PSG have their own difficulties now.
Mauricio Pochettino is missing a number of important players and even Neymar is now out for the first leg, while his participation at the Parc des Princes is in doubt as well.
Angel di Maria will miss out at the Camp Nou too, as will a number of other players.