Andy Gray Questions Whether Barcelona Could Handle Stoke or Blackburn

I admire Lionel Messi’s incredible skills as much as the next soccer fan, but I’m not a member of the recent love fest in the British media where they’ve heralded Barcelona as the greatest team ever. They’re up there, no doubt, but I question Messi’s talent when he comes up against the tough teams either in the Champions League or World Cup, where the Argentine routinely disappears in matches whenever he’s faced against a tough opponent. So many of the opponents that Messi faces in La Liga look like Swiss cheese, allowing the best player in the world too much space to dart in and out before pulling the trigger to score wonderful goals.

That being said, Andy Gray and Richard Keys (both men were part of the second worst soccer TV show of 2010 according to a recent review of mine) took it one step further this past Monday during the Manchester City against Everton match when they entered into a Premier League versus La Liga debate. Andy Gray said:

“I don’t know if Barcelona have ever gone to a place like the Britannia Stadium and suffered the kind of onslaught from Tony Pulis’ team of long throws and free-kicks or been up to a place like Blackburn and been beaten up by their long ball into the box.”

I don’t doubt that Barcelona would have a tricky time wondering how to deal with Rory Delap’s long throw, but I’m confident that Barcelona or Real Madrid would be able to defeat Stoke or Blackburn. Just last weekend, Real Madrid faced a Sevilla side that played a very old English style of play where the team hoofed the ball up the field. Real Madrid won 1-0.

Here’s the complete video of the discussion between Keys and Gray. Keys, especially, was asking some leading questions:

Taken as a whole, I believe there is more depth in the Premier League than La Liga. I also agree that Tottenham Hotspur would be able to defeat Valencia. But I do believe that Barcelona and Real Madrid have more depth than the top Premier League clubs. In previous seasons, Premier League clubs have been able to defeat Real Madrid pretty easily. Barcelona has been another thing entirely, except for Liverpool who defeated them in the Champions League a few years ago.

Thanks to 101 Great Goals for finding the clip, and thanks to Things Fall Apart blog for the hysterical English Football’s Map Of Europe.


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