Two defeats in a row in high profile matches, that's not what we have come to expect from Josep Guardiola's superlative Barcelona team, fans and detractors alike. Even more alarmingly so, the invincibility of their prized fortress, Nou Camp has been breached in one of these defeats, and to further their misery, the benefactors are Real Madrid, their bitterest of rivals. Many Real supporters would have gratefully taken a win at Nou Camp against Barca at the cost of the league title itself; such has been the frustration of the former's inability to outwit their Catalonian rivals of late, despite doing pretty much everything else. Such a sacrifice however is now not required as the result at Nou Camp all but ensures the title too.
Coming back to Barca though, this is uncharted territory for them especially under Guardiola, never before have they been challenged so intensely that they needed to prove their worth all over again, something which happens all the time to other teams though. Well, now it has happened to the allegedly greatest team of all times as well, their invincibility already seeming like a distant memory. More than at any point in in the glorious reign of their current coach which has guided them to many a silverware, its a test of resolve and character for them now. Will they gather their wits and respond positively to being provoked, or submit to the unprecedented pressure and delight their thirsting detractors, remains to be seen. Though, if they see themselves as a great team, not in the least, the greatest team of all times, they do need it to be the former.
Despite all the talk of the lack of creativity and effective headers in the team, Barca have still dominated the possession like they used to and created a few goal scoring chances as well in these two matches, albeit not at will, which is expected given the cagey nature of these affairs. They've not been able to convert the chances they've managed, which is unusual for a team that exemplifies composure and proficiency in front of goal. This hints at a lack of confidence and not just a temporary blip in creativity, which is a cause for some concern. Sooner they use that extra bit of strength which champion teams always seem to possess in their reserve, and revive their confidence, the better it'd be for them. Chelsea could be an ideal start, the blues seem to be much too carried away by a brilliant defensive display which with the help of some good fortune earned them an unlikely victory in the first leg, and would be further dizzied by Madrid's recent exploits at the Nou Camp. Come the second leg though, they could be in for a harsh reality check in the form of a Barca backlash.