5 things we've learned about Barcelona so far this season
After narrowly conceding the La Liga title to their eternal rivals Real Madrid last season, everyone expected a fitting response from Barcelona this season. And the Catalan giants have not disappointed us one bit with their performances this season, as they boast a commanding lead atop the league standings, with pretty much half of the domestic campaign still to play.
However, despite there being a sense of deja vu about Barcelona’s dominance over La Liga this season, this Barcelona side is radically different compared to any of its predecessors from the recent past.
As Barcelona stroll to domestic glory even with half the Spanish league season still to play, here are five things we've learned about them so far this season:
#5 Marc-Andre ter Stegen is one of the best goalkeepers in the world
Traditionally speaking, the role of a goalkeeper in football was simply to stop the opposition from scoring with the help of his hands. However, the beautiful game has evolved to the extent where ‘keepers are expected to be as good as outfield players with the ball at their feet.
Though this may not come naturally to some keepers, Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a different class altogether.
For, not only does the German international fit the bill as a traditional goalkeeper by being exceptionally good with his handling, he is equally adept and comfortable with his feet as well.
Moreover, given the kind of premium that Barcelona put on playing possession-based football, Ter Stegen is more than capable of setting the tone for Barcelona’s attacks with the kind of passing range that he possesses.
However, one of ter Stegen’s best attributes as a keeper is the kind of starting positions that he adopts, which then help him sniff out any possible counterattacks by the opposition. More importantly, this also helps Barcelona get away with the ridiculously high line of defence that they tend to play, at times during matches.
And the results have been there for all to see as the Blaugrana have conceded just seven goals in 18 league games so far this season.
With his impressive performances in goal in the first half of the season, ter Stegen has ensured that the defensive frailties that were once associated with Barcelona are officially a thing of the past.
And finally, if a player not only plays to his strengths but also covers up any possible weaknesses in the side, he ought to be a keeper! (pun intended).