When Jose Mourinho was asked about how would he feel if Real Madrid won the La Liga without beating Barcelona, he said that it would be just fine. And although he’ll have another shot at beating Barcelona, it’s more and more evident, after another Barca stumble, that the result of the next Clasico won’t really matter.
Barcelona losing? Kind of stunning, but dropping points away from home has been something of the norm for the all conquering side. Barcelona have won just four matches during their Spanish field trips so far this season, and even a nearly flawless home record can’t keep them in the race against Real Madrid, who should put themselves 10 points apart against Levante.
Too many injuries, and probably too much tinkering by Guardiola, who left Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas on the bench, with Iniesta not even getting the chance to play on the frozen field at the Reyno de Navarra. Before anyone in the Barcelona defense was able to get his joints warmed up, Dejan Lekic already bagged a brace, and Barca didn’t have enough in the chasing game.
Alexis Sanchez did have 3 goals disallowed, with at least one of them completely legit, but that’s not why Barcelona lost the match, and that’s not why they’ll lose the title. Hung up too much on that hand ball against Espanyol a month back, Barcelona simply failed to keep their incredibly high level of play of the last three seasons when it didn’t concern facing Real Madrid.
The Spanish league, despite the overall notion, is consisted of 20 teams, meaning 36 matches a season besides the El Clasico. Real Madrid simply don’t drop points, and can live, apparently, with losing the Clasico. Even if Barcelona beat them in the Camp Nou, the gap between the two in the table won’t be remotely close.
Leaving the Champions League out of the picture for now, before we re-join the competition this week, Barca’s reign on top of the La Liga had to end at one point or another. Real Madrid are too good of a team to keep finishing second, and even if they’re the inferior side when the two meet, 3 points are 3 points no matter who you get them against. Cristiano Ronaldo has been unstoppable all year long, improved, as hard is that is to believe. Barcelona just went backwards this season in terms of consistency, and yes, hunger for more.