How the lack of competitiveness in La Liga created Barca's dominance
Ah...good old Barcelona. We meet again. At least this time you don't have Joan Laporta pulling his corrupted strings in the board room making shady deals (cough Chygrynskiy cough) and making sure your team is getting all the favourable draws and decisions. It seems you have finally managed to figure out how to dominate without suspected doping allegations or oddly coincidental referee decisions.
All it took was the best player in the world to get some growth hormones and a €180m investment into getting him some good strikers to play with. Let's forget for a while that the Neymar deal is still considered dubious at best, or that it's still a mystery as to how you could still be in a financial situation to buy players for £70-80m when you spent most of the noughties literally flushing money down the toilet.
Anyway, enough about you. Let's talk about how confidence triggers consistency. See the problem with La Liga is that it's a two-horse race with very little competitiveness. Neither Barca nor Real Madrid are fighting for three points every week. The big test is meeting each other, and that's it. This means Barca spends most of the season winning games without much effort, which then results in confidence building for the next game.
And confidence is, as we all know, one of the key factors in winning football games and staying consistent even against better opposition. Yes that's right, the fact that they are playing lesser opposition means that they become better against the bigger teams.
If you believe you are unstoppable, you will play better. And that to me is the unfair lack of balance between La Liga and the Premier League. Arsenal, alongside the rest of the top six/seven spend every week fighting tooth and nail for three points, with no team displaying any sort of dominance over a long period of time.
In other words: we're already at a psychological disadvantage going into the game. They are up in the clouds believing they are untouchable because they're winning 5-0 and 6-0 against Mallorca and Eibar, whereas we are on planet earth having just fought for 94 minutes to try and break down a second division team sponsored by Flamingo Land.
Although I'm not in favour of a European Super League, it would be interesting to see how Barca and Real Madrid would fare in a classic league format comprised of the best 20 teams in the world. Would the bubble burst? Most likely, yes.
Until then, hold on to your hats. We can't match them in confidence, and we can't match them in how much money we can spend on shady deals for world class strikers. So we need lots of luck on Tuesday. And luck has never really been our thing, has it. Especially against those bloody catalans.