Club Focus – Barcelona – Not so Super Depor swept aside as Barcelona maintain gap over Real Madrid

Cautious, but confident is the tone emanating from the Camp Nou post-Classico. With Pepe Guardiola still insisting that the title will still go to the wire, focus is being put on making sure the players do not become complacent during the remaining league games.

There was certainly no hint of complacency last night, as Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 home victory over Deportivo La Coruna. Los Herculinos were the latest team to become helpless lambs to the slaughter in the abattoir that is the Camp Nou, as they toiled to no avail while Lionel Messi & co. zipped the ball around with mesmerising efficiency. “Circus football” was the phrase aptly used by one commentator to describe Barca’s play, and the dominance of the blaugrana was instilled from kick-off as players from every outfield position were tripping over themselves to have attempts at goal. Bojan continued his run of scoring at home; suggesting he is a player who feels completely comfortable around his Barcelona family, but continues to make less of an impact in important away games. Pedro and Toure added to the rout, but it was arguably Dani Alves who impressed the most. Despite the inconsistency in his final ball at times, Alves last night showed his true value to Barca as he essentially operated as a striker, a midfielder and defender all at the same time. Along with some sumptuous exchanges with Leo Messi, the Brazilian was a genuine goal threat, and had the stamina to cover at the back during the few times Barca were threatened.

With Pepe Guardiola resting key players such as Carlos Puyol, coupled with the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andres Iniesta and Eric Abidal, Barcelona again showed how they can maintain an immaculate level of performance while squad personnel are rotated.

One story which has risen to prominence in Britain this week is the suggestion that an agreement has been reached between Barca and Arsenal that there will be no active pursuit of Cesc Fabregas this summer. A slight air of relief was detectable in some of these reports, as the English media might quite rightly like to hang onto one of the Premier League’s stars after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite the claims of that Lionel Messi expects Fabregas to “be my Barcelona team-mate again at some point”, stories of such a pact should perhaps be taken with a pinch or two of salt considering the fact that the Presidency overhaul at the Camp Nou may give birth to new priorities. However, the debate remains whether or not the blaugrana desperately need their former youth player back in the ranks. It is also questionable if they would be so interested was Fabregas not a “Barcelona boy”.

A stand-out for Arsenal, were he to join Barcelona it is quite possible Fabregas could meet similar fate to that of Kaka after he left A.C. Milan for Madrid. There is an argument for the idea that players who are used to being martyrs for their clubs can find it difficult joining a team surrounded by other leading stars. At Milan, Kaka was the focal point of the play, and was very much the angel on top of Carlo Ancellotti’s “Christmas tree” formation. Now at Real, he is merely a cog in the midfield engine. His importance has been downgraded now that his teammates do not solely rely on him to turn games, such as the Rossineri did when their entire play was directed through “Ricky”.

Fabregas has a similar importance to Arsenal as Kaka did to Milan, and it is quite possible the Gunners hero could face similar problems were he to return to Barca. It is also debatable if he would be worth the assumed tens of millions of Euros he would cost Barca, when all they could be getting is essentially a slight upgrade of Sergio Busquets in terms of the improvements Fabregas could offer the team.

Guardiola’s charges will have little time for rest and reflection as they once more contend with a league game this Saturday. Another derby waits as they take on Espanyol at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat, and the blaugrana will have been boosted by the news that Ibra and Eric Abidal returned to full training this week in preparation for what will be a genuine test of their resolve. It is a match which Yaya Toure has dubbed the most difficult of their remaining fixtures, with the Ivory Coast star stating: “They always want to beat Bar

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