Real Madrid effectively clinched the Spanish League title today, with an almost "easy" victory over Barcelona at the Camp Nou. So is this then the end of an era (no), or just a wounding of an angry giant (yes)? And what's that have to do with Chelsea?
Well, besides the obvious of proving once again that Barca are beatable and that the Chelsea/Mourinho blueprint is the way to go, it puts Barcelona on the verge of having to actually write a sour chapter in their recent (very successful) history. Their current TWO-match losing "streak" (in all competitions) is almost unheard of. Lionel Messi going scoreless for two matches is a rare sight, as is Barcelona scoring just one goal at home. The possibility of a season without any trophies is earth-shattering!
Of course, looking at it in a more pessimistic way, it actually puts history firmly on the side of the Catalans as far as our upcoming clash on Tuesday is concerned. In order for Chelsea to progress, we would need to hold the Tiki and the Taka firmly in check for a third straight match. And while we don't actually need to beat them (thanks to the UEFA away goals rule), losing by just one isn't all that common for visiting teams at the Camp Nou either.
If you're thinking that all this might actually sound more like a challenge...well, you may be right. Here are some stats to keep in mind ahead of Tuesday.
Last time Barcelona (matches in all competitions, excluding friendlies)...
- Lost THREE in a row: 9 years (Jan.17,2003 - Jan.31, 2003: FCB 2 Valencia 4; Celta Vigo 2 FCB 0; Atl.Madrid 3 FCB 0)
- Lost TWO home matches in a row, consecutive fixtures: at least 19 years, before 1993 (SoccerWay records end at that point)
- Lost TWO home matches in a row, non-consecutive: 9 years (Apr.11, 2003 - Apr.21, 2003: FCB 2 Deportivo 4; FCB 1 Juventus 2 a.e.t.)
- Winless in TWO home matches, consecutive fixtures: 2 years (Jan.2, 2010 - Jan.5, 2010: FCB 1 Villareal 1; FCB 1 - Sevilla 2)
- Winless in THREE in a row: 3 months (Jan.25, 2012 - Feb.1, 2012: FCB 2 R.Madrid 2; Villareal 0 FCB 0; Valencia 1 FCB 1)
- Winless in THREE in a row with at least 1 loss: 3 years (Feb.24, 2009 - Mar.4, 2009: Lyon 1 FCB 1; Atl.Madrid 4 FCB 3; Mallorca 1 FCB 1)
- Winless in THREE in a row with TWO losses: 3 years (Feb.21, 2009 - Mar.1, 2009: FCB 1 Espanyol 2; Lyon 1 FCB 1; Atl.Madrid 4 FCB 3) - (that was actually a FIVE-match winless streak, with a 2-2 draw away at Real Betis preceding the Espanyol match)
- Winless in TWO, followed by a 1-goal victory or worse: 3 months (Jan.28, 2012 - Feb.4, 2012: Villareal 0 FCB 0; Valencia 1 FCB 1; FCB 2 R.Sociedad 1)
- Lost TWO in a row, followed by a 1-goal victory or worse at HOME: 3.5 years (Aug.28, 2008 - Sep.13, 2008: Krakow 1 FCB 0; Numancia 1 FCB 0; FCB 1 R.Santander 1)
- Lost at HOME, scored a 1-goal victory or worse in the NEXT home match: 4 years (Dec.23, 2007 - Jan.2, 2008: FCB 0 R.Madrid 1; FCB 2 Alyocano 2)
- Lost at HOME, scored a 1-goal victory or worse in the NEXT home match, one that wasn't the 2-leg of a cup tie into which FCB was taking a 3-0 lead: 9 years (Dec.5, 2003 - Dec.20, 2003: FCB 1 R.Madrid 2; FCB 1 Celta Vigo 1)
- Scored LESS than TWO goals in three matches in a row: 1 year (Apr.12, 2011 - Apr.20, 2011: Shakthar 0 FCB 1; R.Madrid 1 FCB 1; FCB 0 R.Madrid 1 a.e.t.)
- Scores LESS than TWO goals in two consecutive fixtures, both at home: 1.5 years (Sep.22, 2010 - Oct.3, 2010: FCB 1 Gijon 0; FCB 1 Mallorca 1)
- Had a trophy-less season: 2006-07
Last time Lionel Messi...
- Scoreless in THREE matches in a row: 3 months (Jan.25, 2012 - Feb.1, 2012: FCB 2 R.Madrid 2; Villareal 0 FCB 0; Valencia 1 FCB 1)
- Scoreless in TWO HOME matches in a row: 6 months (Oct.19, 2011 - Oct.22, 2011: FCB 2 Plzen 0; FCB 0 Sevilla 0)
All sorts of history to be made! Get after it!