Areas That Barcelona Must Improve to Win Trophies This Season

Tre' AtkinsonFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2013

Areas That Barcelona Must Improve to Win Trophies This Season

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    Barcelona are currently sitting at the top of the La Liga table and are well and alive in both the Champions League and Copa del Rey. But can La Blaugrana realistically win any of these competitions?

    Despite the Catalans having a great season to this point, there are several areas in which they must improve if they want to lift trophies at the end of the current season.

    In this article we will take a look at those areas that need improvement and discuss if Barcelona can indeed finish the season with some silverware.

Defending

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    Everyone saw this one coming. Barcelona's defensive issues are still a major problem and must be fixed if the Catalans want to win trophies this season.

    I do understand that the offense has been incredible this season and that Barcelona continues to win matches, but in the long stretch at the end of the season, it will come back to haunt them.

    Manager Tata Martino must first start by deciding what his best defensive lineup is.

    Fans have seen a plethora of defensive units this season, and it is time the manager makes the decision of which back four is the best. The longer he continues to play different players beside each other, the longer it will be before Barcelona figures out their problem.

    In Barcelona's previous 5-2 victory over Getafe, more issues showed their ugly head.

    Both Dani Alves and Jordi Alba constantly made forward runs and were caught horribly out of position several times. One of those moments led to Getafe's first goal.

    In that same game, Barcelona's struggle against defending set pieces was seen again. Getafe scored their second goal without even being marked in the box during a corner.

    It is clear that Barcelona still have a lot of work to do. At the beginning of the season, Victor Valdes was in miraculous form, and the club was earning clean sheets in most of their games. But with the Catalan keeper on the sidelines, we can now see that the issues have not actually been fixed.

Balance out Rotations

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    At the beginning of the season, fans were praising Tata Martino for his rotation policy. Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and Andres Iniesta were all getting rest, and even Lionel Messi was on the bench at times.

    That isn't the cast anymore.

    Now it seems like at the start of every match there are questions over Martino's lineups. Injuries definitely play a major role in this, but some lineups have been simply surprising.

    To begin with, Marc Bartra is still not considered a starting centre-back at this point. In nearly every match that Barcelona have needed their best defenders on the pitch, Bartra has been on the bench.

    Martino also refuses to stop playing Cesc Fabregas in place of the injured Messi.

    Even casual football fans have been able to tell that Fabregas is not a forward. Though he may score an odd goal here or there, he is actually hurting the team more than helping when he plays up front.

    There are other minor issues as well, such as Xavi playing in minor games and not being selected for more important matches while Neymar has been forced to play nearly every game.

    Martino's rotational policy has changed since the first month of the season. Though injuries do dictate these decisions, there are a lot of questions that the manager must answer. 

Fix That Locker Room

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    There is something very, very wrong at Barcelona.

    Ben Hayward of Goal.com discussed the problem in a recent article. Messi recently had a few choice words for Barcelona's economic vice president Javier Faus, and it was really the first time he has ever come out and had something like this to say.

    Though it is really easy to hear this report and then move on, it shows that something is wrong at Barcelona. The locker room is not what is used to be, and the players are feeling it.

    There have been rumors claiming that Messi wants to the leave the club, and Barcelona have yet to silence those claims. There has also been what seems to be a smear campaign against Messi in Spain, and Barcelona have yet to defend their star.

    Whether it be president Sandro Rosell or someone else in the Barcelona squad or staff, it is clear that all is not well in Catalonia. 

    If Barcelona want to win trophies this season, they have to fix things on the pitch. But more importantly, they have to fix whatever is going on behind the scenes and keep their stars happy.

    Will Barcelona win trophies this season? It is a safe bet to assume they will. However, at this point Barcelona must address these issues or this season will not end the way it should.

     

    Can Barcelona win trophies this season? What must La Blaugrana improve upon? Leave your thoughts and comments below!