The curious case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

The playing form of the venerable Football Club Barcelona with the current crop of players follows the curious case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One day the club plays the trademark ‘Barcelona’ football at an extremely fast pace, fighting for the ball, giving the opponent players very little time on the ball, forcing them to make mistakes and losing the ball. When the club plays this form of their natural game, they look like a team from some other planet, blitzing expensively assembled teams aside as if they were a bunch of flies. Other days the club plays a lethargic form of the game hoping for the sheer class of the players to carry through. Many times they win and some times they lose.

‘Pep’ Guardiola was able to motivate the team and able to make them play their trademark game day in and day out. Under all the other coaches, ever since Guardiola left, the team has been flitting in and out of games as if it has been sleep-walking. Take the case of Manchester City in the 2014 Champions League tie. The blitzy Barcelona motored into town and Manchester was flattened in no time. They never had the time to recover. Same again against Atletico Madrid in the La Liga a week ago. By the time Atletico realized they were playing a different team and could readjust, it was already half time and game over.

The big question is, can Luis Enrique, the current Barcelona coach do a ‘Simeone’ and motivate the team to play their ‘A’ game day in and day out? The recent snubbing of the Ballon D’Or seems to have given Messi another void to fill. Suarez and Neymar will be raring to prove that they are not necessarily second class citizens. Some midfield changes are essential to keep legs fresh and raring to go. Otherwise, everything is right for Luis to create a historic first season for himself. That will be something to watch.

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