TITLE KNOCKBACK

Barcelona’s loss in their last La Liga match against Valencia has pushed them back in the title race, but, one of their senior players Javier Mascherano is still very confident and he reckons that the title has not gone out of his team’s hands.

If technically seen, the Argentinean defender is not wrong as there are still more than 15 games to go in the league. So, there is enough time left for things to turn around. But, the kind of form the other title contenders are in at the moment, this defeat might prove to be very costly for Barcelona.

DEFEATED

Barcelona suffered the first league defeat of the season after a 1-0 score against Athletic Bilbao. As a result of the defeat, Atletico Madrid have moved level on points with the Catalan club at the top of the table.

After going several points ahead of archrivals Real Madrid, Barcelona were expected to coast to the title. However, this defeat has proved to be a major setback since it comes only days after the defeat in the Champions League to Ajax. A lot of questions have been asked about Barcelona's style of play since the start of the season.

MASCHERANO SET TO LEAVE?

There have been several rumours that Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano, who joined the club from Liverpool for £ 25 million a few seasons ago, could be set for an exit away from the camp Nou. The midfielder refused to rule out the rumours by admitting that anything is possible.

This would put Barcelona in a difficult situation especially given that they have been looking to sign a central defender – without any success – in the last few months. They have been linked with almost every high-profile central defender like David Luiz and Thiago Silva, but their approach has been rebuffed by their clubs.

Mascherano backs Martino appointment

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has backed the club’s new manager Gerardo Martino to be a success at the club. Despite several fans calling the appointment of the former Paraguay boss a shock, the Argentina international believes this is just reward for a man who has achieved almost everything with Newell’s Old Boys and added that his lack of experience in European competition will not be an issue.

Martino was unveiled as the new Barcelona manager on Friday and his first job in Europe arguably braces him for the arguably the biggest task in the continent – that of taking over one of the best football clubs in the history of the game. The 50 year old replaces the departing Tito Vilanova, who has stepped down from his role as Barcelona manager after a relapse of his cancer.

ALBA IS ONE OF THE BEST

Signed from Valencia in the summer, Jordi Alba has quickly established himself as one of the best left back in the world due to his attacking ability. He has also been extremely good in the defence as well. Alba has played a huge role in Barcelona establishing a 15 point lead at the top of the Spanish league.

The defender, though, will be missing a number of crucial matches for the club after suffering a hamstring injury. The club have today confirmed that the defender will not be taking part in the Spanish national team's match against France in the World Cup qualifying group.

ARGENTINA LOSE

The Argentinean football team has defeated Sweden in a friendly match played at Friends Arena on Thursday. Argentina won the match by 3-2.

The margin of Argentina’s victory suggests that the match was a close one, but, it isn’t the truth. Argentina was dominant for most parts of the match and was ahead by 3-1 till the 90th minute. It was a stoppage time strike by Rasmus Elm which reduced Argentina’s lead to 2-3.
The Sweden team was off to a disastrous start in the match. Mikael Lustig scored an own goal in the 3rd minute of the match and gave Argentina the lead. It was a great start for the Argentinean team.

The score became 1-1 in the 18th minute of the match. It was a fine corner kick by Kim Kallstrom. The ball went towards Jonas Olsson who jumped and headed it towards the net. The Argentinean goalie, Sergio Romero, tried to stop the ball, but, the shot had so much power in it that he couldn’t do much and the ball went into the net.

HAPPY AT BARCA

The former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has come out in praise of the Spanish club Barcelona by saying that it is a privilege to play for them. The Argentine midfielder sealed the £ 25 million move to the Spanish club a few seasons ago. Even though he is yet to taste major success with in the form of numerous league or European titles, but Mascherano has said that it is a great pleasure to play along with the players like Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta, and Xavi. This current Barcelona team has not only been thought of as the best team in the world, but also in the history of the sport as well.

VILANOVA STILL CONFIDENT

The Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova has said that he remains confident about getting the results and the keeping a tight defence in the upcoming matches even without the Argentine Javier Mascherano. The former Liverpool midfielder is currently suspended and he only adds to the injury troubles for the new Barcelona manager. He already has two cope with the lack of Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique in the centre of defence.

Even though the Argentine is primarily a midfielder, he has become used to playing in the central defence for Barcelona in the last two seasons. Vilanova conceded that the absence of the defender will be a huge miss, but the presence of players like Sergio Busquets and Alex Song will help him tide over the crisis. Both Sergio Busquets and Alex Song are defensive midfielders, but they could carry out the task of playing in the central defence because of the Barcelona style of play.

DISAPPOINTED WITH DRAW

Javier Mascherano has said that the Argentinean team is pretty disappointed to have played a draw against Peru. The team should have won the match, but, unfortunately, the players didn’t play up to their potential. However, the Peru team should also be given credit for showing brilliant character against Argentina.

As per Mascherano, the Peru players didn’t look under pressure at all and showed brilliant calmness and composure. Generally, when you play against a team which is relatively stronger, you tend to be defensive at times. But, the Peru team didn’t play with defensive approach. They were on the attack and made the Argentinean players work hard in the entire match. Argentina sorely missed Lionel Messi.

Is Jose the special one

There is little dispute that Jose Mourinho is one of the world’s top football managers; certainly if the level of demand that a person is in constitutes an accurate reflection of their professional worth, then Mourinho.

Mourinho’s record as a manager is a formidable one – it’s just that he is not the only manager currently operating to have a record of similar pedigree. In terms of achieving the highest possible domestic and European success, Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola have both unquestionably achieved every bit as much as Mourinho has.

This would seem to suggest that the title is misplaced and that Mourinho is just one of several top quality managers. Certainly he is not the only very good manager in football right now, but arguably there are some qualities which still set Mourinho apart from others.

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