It has been a couple of days now since Barcelona were eclipsed in the table by Real Madrid and VAR, and the papers are still very much focusing on the incidents that gave the lead to Los Blancos in the first place.
Both Sport and Mundo Deportivo went with a cover highlighting the fact that the referees have not exactly been perfect throughout the season, especially since the return after the break, and this has made life more difficult for the Catalans.
Sport even went as far as saying that ‘Barcelona are facing Real Madrid and VAR’ and that the players within the squad are disappointed with the bad decisions that gave Los Blancos their lead in the league rankings.
Still, the paper outlines, they will fight to retain the crown and win at the Camp Nou again later on tonight as Lionel Messi hunts for his 700th goal.
Mundo Deportivo have gone with mostly the same thing: Real Madrid and VAR. But they were also quick to involve Quique Setién in the whole situation, reminding everyone of his recent quotes from the pre-game press conference where the gaffer questioned the decision to check only some of the situations with the video assistant and not all of them.
They also dedicated a small section of the cover to Arthur Melo and his potential move to Juventus as the Italians reportedly muster a new and improved offer that could indeed turn the Brazilian’s head.
As for Barcelona’s side of the story, they want Miralem Pjanić to join and they want it badly. For that reason, Arthur departing is not exactly that far-fetched at all.
Away from the transfers, the Azulgranas are also facing Athletic Club tonight but even though that game is really important in their title chase, it seems the papers are not exactly putting much emphasis on it at all.
Barcelona don’t lose comeback hope with Messi’s outrageous stats vs Sevilla
Later on tonight, Barcelona will do their best to mount another incredible comeback, this time against Sevilla. The Andalusians were the better team in the first leg of the Copa del Rey, winning 2-0 at their home ground. Today, however, they travel to the Camp Nou where they’ll try and keep their lead alive.
And even though we’re talking here about a very strong opponent, the Catalans have reasons to be optimistic. The first one is of course their recent result against that very same opponent. The two sides met in La Liga last weekend and Barcelona snatched up all three points in a convincing 2-0 victory.
This suggests they indeed do have what it takes to edge past Julen Lopetegui’s troops, especially since the game will be played in Catalonia. But there is also one other weapon Barcelona have at their disposal; one that is not exactly a big secret – Lionel Messi.
The little Argentine does feel like a cheat code at times but against Sevilla, that is even more true than usual. After all, Leo has already scored 38 goals and assisted further 19 in just 42 games played against this opposition.
That amounts to 57 goal contributions in 42 games. Even for Messi’s godly standards, that is just an unreal number. With such a player in your team, you can’t help but feel optimistic and hopeful regardless of the opposition.
Of course, we can’t expect Leo to solve games of this magnitude on his own so everyone will have to pull their weight. But even with that being said, if Messi can do what Messi usually does, Barcelona’s ultimate goal becomes that much easier to reach.
With morale high and players ready to tango, it should definitely be a thrilling contest to watch.
Let’s hope Ronald Koeman gets it right. And then, suddenly, the whole season can turn out that much sweeter.