Champions League: Are Barcelona the favorites this season?
Barcelona were stupendous against Tottenham Hotspur as they continued their brilliant run against English clubs in the Champions League. In the second consecutive Champions League game, the Spanish side ran clear winners to take control of their group. In midst of everything, was the magic of Lionel Messi. 5 goals in two matches and the beauty he brings on the pitch, makes Barca special.
Wembley masterpiece from Messi
On a magical night, it was a Wembley masterpiece by Messi to down Spurs. Let's not get to numbers and stats, but the way Messi sets the play on pitch is artistic. He offers so much and does this year after year. Barca could have won by a massive margin only if Messi's two strikes wouldn't have hit the post.
Barca's front three are amazing
Barca's front three are solid with both Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez capable of winning matches, for the Spanish giants, single-handedly. These three men with a depth added by Dembele give the side strength to prosper. Barca are in a difficult group, but they look miles ahead than their opponents. Their goal-scoring prowess of the front three would help them to outshine others.
Barca's mid-field could dig in deep to deliver
With some world class names that boast of Champions League experience, Barca's mid-field holds the key. Ivan Rakitic is known for his ability to pass as well as score goals. His 20-yard strike at Wembley was a testament to it. Vidal and Sergio are sturdy and clever. The trio could help the side in latter stages of the tournament.
Barca could use UCL as extra motivation
Barca could give the top clubs a run for their money. They aren't the only contenders though. Real Madrid and Juventus are there as well. But the overall focus could help Barca. Messi had opined earlier this season that the main goal is the UCL title. As they haven't won it since three successive seasons, there is some extra motivation this time around.
Our take: Barca have the edge to deliver
It is too early to call a club favorite for the title, but Barca have the edge. Real could struggle without Cristiano Ronaldo, but 4 titles in 5 years indicate we cannot write them off. Juventus look serious contenders but need to get off the final hurdle. The rest of the big guns are inconsistent.