Barcelona continue to wobble as season reaches final straightComments
Only five weeks ago Barcelona were cruising towards a second straight La Liga title.
Now the Catalan giants appear to be in meltdown.
Four days after being eliminated from the Champions League, they suffered a third straight league defeat.
They were beaten 2-1 at home by struggling Valencia.
Is it too soon to be talking about a club crisis? Maybe, but at the beginning of February this same Barca side demolished Valencia 7-0 in the Copa del Rey.
Lionel Messi scored his 500th career goal in the game but it was of little consolation as the reigning champs suffered a third straight league defeat for the first time since 2003.
Ivan Rakitic deflected into his own net to give Valencia a shock lead before the visitors made it two courtesy of a first-half stoppage time goal by Santi Mina.
Messi ended his club goal drought just after the hour mark but Barca could not find the equaliser and now lead Atletico Madrid only on goal difference having been nine points clear in April.
Real Madrid are just one point adrift of the two pace setters.
Barca Coach Luis Enrique said: “Three points were lost. Three points that I believe we deserved to win but football is like this. This sport is very capricious and it allows you to win even without attacking, as was the case today and you have to accept it. You have to accept defeat. We have five matches to go. If we win these five matches then we will be champions. It all depends on us as we have no more breathing space – no room for error. We are conscious of the challenge and we are going to face it as Barcelona’s players usually do, with our heads held high.”
Up and Down
Last week Manchester City reached the Champions League semis for the first time in the club’s history.
Their fine form has also paid dividends in the Premier League, where they are now third.
Contrasting fortunes, though, for Aston Villa and Napoli, who are on the down this week.
Manchester City are on the up after beating Chelsea 3-0 in a battle of the past two Premier League Champions.
Sergio Aguero fired in a fine hat-trick to see off the Blues.
The last time they beat Cheslea by three goals at the Bridge was in September 1978.
Quite literally on the down this week are Aston Villa who were officially relegated from teh Premier League following their 1-0 defeat t Manchester United.
It is the first time Villa have dropped into England’s second tier division since 1987 although they bounced back up the following season.
Napoli are also on the down after their defeat to Inter at the weekend left them nine points behind leaders Juventus and their title hopes in tatters.
There are five games left of the campaign and Roma – who they meet later this month – are just five points behind.
Claudio Marchisio is down and out of the European Championships that take place this summer in France.
The Juventus and Italy midfielder will miss out after tearing knee ligaments during his club’s 4-0 Serie A victory over Palermo on Sunday.
We might be wrong
It’s going to be a week full of cup action across Europe. For We Might Be Wrong we’ve chosen three matches; among them the French League Cup final between Paris Saint-Germain and Lille. Here you have our predictions for those selected games. Have a go yourself using #TheCornerScores via social media.
FA Cup – semi-final
Everton 1 – 3 Manchester United
DFB Cup – semi-final
Bayern Munich 3 – 0 Werder Bremen
Coupe de la Ligue – final
Paris Saint Germain 5 – 1 Lille