#ChampionsLeague resumed on Tuesday with great pairings that saw both Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund play on the road. Dortmund lost by a lone goal to Benfica of Lisbon which is good for the second leg at the Signal Iduna Park but Barcelona’s huge 4-0 thumping leaves the team on the brink and requires a super human effort to turn the tie around. With Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar contributing poorly to the sides display at the Parc des Princes against a combative PSG side, would Luis Enrique be able to turn it around at Camp Nou or would Unai Emery continue his European dominance with the Parisian club?
Luis Enrique seems to be getting it all wrong in his recent selections. Many fans wondered why Andre Gomes got the nod ahead of Ivan Rakitic – a dynamic midfielder who contributes to attack and defense. Fans and pundits were vindicated when Andre Gomes missed a perfect opportunity that could have tied the game midway in the first half.
The inclusion of Sergio Busquet and Andres Iniesta was supposed to provide a boost for Luis Enrique but it couldn’t as captain of the day Blaise Matuidi, Rabiot and Marco Veratti shrugged them off the ball with the trio’s approach to the game more direct than that of FC Barcelona.
There are players that are viewed off as less important in a clubs squad because they do not contribute goals. The absence of Javier Mascherano cost the team dearly because he doubles up as a central defender and a defensive midfielder to supplement the efforts of Sergio Busquets who clearly lacked pace on Tuesday night. Masherano’s services were missing on Tuesday and the Parisians took advantage of it. Luis Enrique needs to be bold in his decisions in order to see the team thrive.
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In the 2015/16 season, Barcelona were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League by Atletico Madrid and it was realized that coach Luis Enrique had only one substitution pattern and that was Arda Turan for Ivan Rakitic. Five of the six contributing attacking players are untouchables; Luis Suarez, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquet and Andres Iniesta.
Against Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday, lovers of the game knew Luis Suarez was non-existent, Neymar could not meet the physical demands of the game and Messi was surrounded by at least three players when he got the ball but they all made it into the 90th minute.
If Luis Enrique does not harden his decision making stance in the return fixture against PSG in the Champions League with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid to come in the Spanish La Liga, then the team would be left with only the Copa Del Rey on their shelf at the end of the season which also happens to be a possibility.
Unai Emery has achieved what Jupp Henyckes did with Bayern Munich in the 2012/13 season with a much better side and if the team continues with this display, they would be a handful for any team it faces along the way.
FC Barcelona returns to domestic duties against Leganes on February 19 at 11:45AM PST, a match Luis Enrique and his charges are expected to win by a wide margin to appease fans.