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How to improve Barcelona's starting XI?

With Barcelona romping to the 2008-09 La Liga title and strong favourites for the UEFA Champions League, it is difficult to see how Pep Guardiola’s men can get much better. Even compared to the 2005-06 double winning team starring Ronaldinho, the current mob look much more solid while maintaining their flair and creativity which has seen them score an incredible 88 goals in their first 31 La Liga matches.

However, as with all football clubs, no matter how good you are, if you stand still you go backwards so Barca must look to inject some freshness into their team this summer. It’s difficult to see where – with Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Henry, Eto’o and Gudjohnsen just some of the stars who grace the Nou Camp pitch, it’s easy to see why Barcelona jerseys are among the best selling kits in world football.

One name constantly linked with a return to the Catalan club is Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, but do Barca really need him?  That the Spaniard is a talented player is unquestioned, but he couldn’t break into a Euro 2008 winning midfield based around Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, so what makes him dislodge either of the duo in the Barcelona starting XI.

Going forward, Barcelona’s goal return suggests they are doing just fine and so while it may be prudent to bring in a young backup prospect to cover for injuries to Eto’o and Henry, it is perhaps at the back where the weaknesses of the Barcelona side are uncovered when they meet the more robust style of the Premiership teams in the final stages of the Champions League.

Barcelona do have somewhat of a soft centre and it will be interesting to see how they cope with the physical presence of Didier Drogba in what promises to be a fascinating clash with Chelsea in the coming weeks.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes is also suspect and has made a number of errors this season which have largely been covered up by Barca’s amazing attacking strength. 

The La Liga news headlines conjur up all sorts of star names seemingly bound for the Nou Camp from Fabregas to Kaka to Yohan Gourcuff but sometimes, adding big names to a successful team can do more harm than good (Dimitar Berbatov anyone?). It is the opinion of this writer that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and a little tweaking should be enough to ensure Barcelona continue their success into future seasons.

Written by Danny Watson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football news.

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  1. michael

    July 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    LB:Maxwell, CB:Pique, CB:Puyol, RB:Alves
    DM:Toure, M:Xavi, M:Iniesta
    F:Messi, F:Ibrahimovic, F:Henry

  2. Horhay

    April 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Amen Juan, This article is about Barca and Spain and somehow fools manage to connect it to the Prem. Its ridiculous

  3. Juan

    April 25, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Is this La Liga Talk or six degrees of separation from pompous Prem talk?

  4. luke

    April 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Barca are going to beat chelsea and then they are going to beat arsenal or utd in the final. It’s that simple.
    they are the best team by miles and this will become apparent to all the prem flag wavers in the coming weeks.
    these are the same flag wavers who continue to tell us Ronaldo is better than Messi. 🙂 obviously they know LOADS about football.
    I am english and live in england, so i have to suffer this tripe most days.

  5. Showbiz

    April 23, 2009 at 6:25 am

    We will see how good is Chelsea next week. The third team of la liga is actually Seville and next, Valencia, Málaga, Atlético and next (7) is Villarreal. Arsenal is 4 with 8 point advantage over de fifth. Real Madrid get a Draw and next played an awful match, (next week Liverpool cruised Manchester 4-1….).

    Don’t stop watching next Champions League match, Barcelona is gonna surprise EPL fanatics… Everyone that see La Liga and EPL Know Barcelona is outstanding. BETS don’t lie.

  6. Premier league rule

    April 22, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    no doubt the premier league is the ebst in the world….this seasons champions legaue proves it

    Last 16 = 3 english sides vs 3 italina sides….all 3 english sides go through

    Last 16/quarter finals = Real Madrid 0 – 5 Liverpool, Villareal 1 – 4 Arsenal.

    The top 4 in england are int he top 5 clubs int he world along with Barca. however, they have yet to play a world class team this season. Real madrid, Sevilla, Villareal, bayern, Lyon are alal great sides, but nowhere near as good as the top 4.

    1) Man uTd
    2) Chelsea
    4) Barca
    5) Arsenal

    Thats the order of the best teams in the world…..

  7. man utd = european champions

    April 22, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    3 champions league seasons, 3 english clubs in semi finals every year…..No english side has been knocked out by a foreign club in 2/3 years in the champions league, they have knocked each other out.

    Barca are great, but the top 4 in england are on a different class to real madrid, bayern munich etc. trust me, they will struggle against chelsea jsut like they struggled against united last year. In La liga, the 2 best teams after barca are real madrid and villareal, they went out 5-0 and 3-0 to liverpool and arsenal respectively….the english is by FAR the best int he world and barca will get knocked out by chelsea. Chelsea-united final again.

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