What a performance from Ter Stegen against Celta Vigo. Is this the new norm?
The German international managed 3 crucial saves tonight, saving Barcelona for what feels like the millionth time this season. Three points that are worth ten times more since next weekend is El Clasico.
After what seemed like more than a few seasons in a rut, Ter Stegen has finally seemed to grab an excellent stretch of form under Xavi.
Ter Stegen has gone 720 minutes this season only conceding one goal which was in the 4-1 win for Barcelona over Real Sociedad near the end of August. Since then, Barcelona hasn’t conceded a goal in six matches while fighting for the La Liga trophy.
Last season, Ter Stegen only managed eleven clean sheets out of the thirty-five games played in the league. As of now, Barcelona has seven clean sheets with only eight games played. A tremendous improvement over last season.
But do these stats pass the eye test?
It seems that, in a way, they do. Barcelona seems like a much stronger squad defensively than last season, especially thanks to all the new additions to the backline and midfield. However, as strong as this team is, there is still uncertainty in the defense which has caused several problems for the team this season. Especially during important matches against the bigger teams in Europe, Barcelona has not impressed. A 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich and a 1-0 loss to Inter Milan show that the team is not 100% prepared to face off against other European giants, but there is still hope in this squad.
The upcoming week is extremely important for this club if it wants to fight for titles. It could potentially make or break what Xavi has been cooking up all season long.
Barcelona plays against Inter on Wednesday at the Spotify Camp Nou in a must-win game with hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Four days later on Sunday, Barcelona makes the hour and thirty minute trip to Madrid to challenge La Liga winners Real Madrid in a clash that will certainly leave sparks on the field.
Rest up as this could potentially feel like a really short week or a really long week! Hopefully, it’s the former.