Do Barcelona really need to be the protagonists every game?

Barcelona win what could be the most important clash of their LaLiga campaign. With Real Madrid 12 points behind them, Xavi is one step away from the title.

Playing badly and still winning has been the talk of the town over in Catalonia as of late. Those 1:0 victories were never exactly thrilling but they got the job done. Barely, but they did. Tonight, however, we saw glimpses of the Barcelona we want to see every week: imposing, dominant, confident and protagonistic. Most of the time.

I say most of the time because Real Madrid still had their chances, of course, as they always do in a Clasico. They are where they are in world football for a reason. But just as they were shooting blanks in their most recent 1:0 defeat in the Copa, they were reduced to a similarly poor display at the Camp Nou this evening. Only this time, Barcelona actually controlled the ball, rather than just controlling the space. And this means we saw a far different Barça overall.

It also begs the question: do Barcelona really need to be the protagonist in every game? Well, it’s complicated. But generally, yes, yes they do. The reason is rather simple - being the protagonist, dominating, controlling the tempo and, as such, the game itself, is not only a part of the overarching philosophy of the club but, more importantly, is playing to their players’ greatest strengths.