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How have empty stadiums affected La Liga and might affect the Champions League?

Abhishek Khurana

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Header Image by Alex Caparrós via Getty Images

The health crisis caused by the pandemic has stopped the daily lives of millions of people. The football industry has been no stranger to this paralysis. The return of the different leagues around Europe almost three months later started with including a change in the regulation that allows a maximum of 5 substitutions per game. Some teams did play this rule out to their advantage given the depth of their squad. However, the most important novelty is that all the remaining games of the Champions League also will be played without supporters inside empty stadiums.

It certainly has an impact on the performances of players and referees given the lack of spectators and neutralising the home ground.

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In 110 games played in La Liga since the restart without an audience, we can see almost a balance between home and away wins from the stats, in the empty stadiums scenario. The results of the review are relevant to the Inverted-U theory. There were recorded 45 home wins with 40.9% weightage, 35 Away wins with 31.81% weightage and 30 draws making for the remaining 27.27%.

Advantage of playing

The advantage of playing at the home ground is measured by the percentage of points earned by the teams over the total points won.

From the table given below, we can see that only 11 teams were at a home advantage from their total games played. Only Real Madrid had a 100% record win at home, followed by Athletic Madrid at an 80% record and with FCBarcelona only at 60%. This 40% margin surely cost FCBarcelona their third title win in a row. Not only it has an effect on the players, but also on the referee’s decision making.

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The picture becomes more clear when we take a look at away games as well. Looking at the table below we can see that nine teams came out with the advantage of playing at away ground. Villareal and Real Madrid lead the way with 80%. Both teams had a great campaign overall, making use of their depth in the squad to their advantage. Whereas, five teams couldn’t even register a single win at away ground. One of the teams from that is, Getafe. They were one of the hottest aspects in La Liga before break under Jose Bordala’s management but post break, they completely lost the momentum, costing them to secure a place for next year Champions League. Another team, Valencia’s poor run can’t be blamed at spectators entirely. The turmoil began with the sacking of their coach Marcelino. The only positive highlight for them was beating Barcelona 2-0, at Mestalla, the first home win for them since 2007 against Blaugrana.

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Comparison together

The graphs below depict that only eight teams were at an advantage for playing at home. Athletic Madrid leads the way with 80%, followed by FCBarcelona who was only at 60%. Fans at Camp Nou do represent a big culture impacting performances. Pitch conditions and Intimidation factor is really important while playing home games. Blaugrana largely chose to play their dynamic tiki-taka play, on grass that is short and wet in order for the ball to run smoothly around the pitch. With the loss of 40% of the total points available at home ground, playing at away grounds would have been more difficult.

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Conclusion

The presence of spectators is one factor, surely not the only one. We can’t let go of the fact that teams had less rest within games as well. Certainly, playing 110 games in a span of 39 days is not easy. It leaves less time to correct failures, change of strategy, and recover from the matchday. It adds more fatigue and stress to the teams with less depth in their squad.

In summary, it is very probable that playing one-legged matches and with no fans at the stadiums, the positive effect of playing at the home ground is reduced and that it may affect the final result of the champion league games. The only positive is, coaches have gotten enough time on their watch already to prepare their teams very well to face this new competition atmosphere which completely differs from the one they are used to.

In any case, such findings don’t include the probable scenarios of rivals level and injuries that can influence the outcome of any competition. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in this campaign of the Champions League which start’s tonight.

Five days shalt thou labor, as the bible says. In my life, The seventh day is the Lord thy God’s. The sixth day is for Football. That pretty much describes my life when not working. I am here to share my ineffable love for this game among other football enthusiasts. | Contact: abhishek.khurana@barcauniversal.com

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Lionel Messi’s love for football: Do what you love

Maha Naeem Khan

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Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Continuing with the lessons Lionel Messi has taught, this one is about: Loving what you do, wholeheartedly. Lionel Messi’s love for football shows he doesn’t belong to this planet. He owns what he loves which is a lesson for success for many.


Messi is an epitome of goodness that comes out from his love and passion for the game. The skills he displays on the football field were never displayed before and as per pessimists; might never be showcased in Camp Nou again. He is an ardent performer, a mad-keen footballer, a fervid player, and a zealous sportsman.

Football is deep-rooted in Lionel Andrés Messi. Nothing stopped him from pursuing his dreams and becoming one of the greatest footballers of this era. Do you ever wonder what made him chase his passion vehemently and achieve the goals successfully? The answer to this question is Lionel Messi’s love for football. He loves what he does and owns it candidly giving an important lesson to learn!

“What I do is play soccer, which is what I like.”


– Lionel Messi

When somebody loves what they do, the results are naturally exceptional. Messi, when exhibits his talent on the football pitch, his love for the game can be felt. The way he looks at the ball before scoring a tough goal demonstrates that every ounce of energy left in him will be devoted to this kick: it shows passion, fierceness, and commitment.

Messi’s love for the club

La Pulga’s love is not limited to the game alone, it is profoundly extended to the club he plays for: FC Barcelona. This love is symbiotic. Fc Barcelona is the main character in Messi’s story. Many people believe that Barcelona is nothing without Messi and Messi will be nothing without Barcelona.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Lionel Messi’s love for his club and the game made him the backbone of Cules. He worked enthusiastically to polish his skills and lift his team to incomparable greatness and dominance in the footballing world. Barcelona is not just a club for him, it is the platform that brought the best out of him. It is the stage where he performs and displays his supernatural talents. Given the fact that he left his home, his friends, and his country to come to an entirely different place and for the greatest club of that time teaches us a lesson that when you love something devotedly, it will come running to you. After signing his first contract on a used napkin, Barcelona’s number ten never looked back. Over the years, he set a legacy at Camp Nou to be followed for years to come.

A love story to cherish

It is the love for the game as well as for his team that Messi fervently gave all his talents and peak years to FC Barcelona. He is one of the very few footballers who can be labeled as a one-club man. Undeniably, there’s no team in the world that doesn’t want this ‘Alien’ in their team. Various clubs tried to break this inextricable relationship of Messi with Catalans by presenting tempting offers, but love won every time as the captain never for once pay heed to the criticism for wasting his time at Camp Nou whenever the club faced tough times.

Having said this, the unmatchable Leo & Barca love story has all the basic chronicles of an intense love affair; hurt, tragedy, tears, obstacles. Recent times made this love story a bit sour though, leaving the masses to suspect a potential breakup in the coming times. Conversely, keeping in view all that Leo has given up for Barca, fans are hopeful that the club will overlook its bad decisions to create an ideal situation for their talisman to stay. Well, hope is a dangerous thing, the only option for now!

What matters the most is no matter how crucial the circumstances are, the focus of Lionel Messi remains there and is proven in the 2019/2020 season. It was the worst season for the Barcelona star so far thus, the Alien magic still managed to break a couple of records leaving the fans in awe of him! This has been made possible because a thousand words can’t describe Messi’s love and faith in what he does which is why the Spanish dictionary included a new word: “Inmessionante” which means “1. A perfect way to play football, an unlimited capacity for self-improvement. 2. Describes the best player of all time.”

Conclusion

Hence, Lionel Andres Messi teaches all of us another lesson; do what you love having a firm belief in what you and when the circumstances are odd, do it more passionately with some extra love and faith. The world is out there to let us down, but the faith and passion of Lionel Messi is a beam of light for dark paths when the confidence is losing and belief is shaking.

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