There’s a strange obsession in football whereby people want to see this Barcelona team—arguably the greatest any of us have ever seen—play in England to prove one thing or another. Barcelona performing a full league campaign in England will either legitimise the claim that Barcelona are indeed the best football side we’ve seen, or it will hammer home the idea that this team have been cuddled and comforted to glory through the lack of fight from La Liga teams.

Underneath it all, in waters that aren’t as muddy as people would like them to believe, Barcelona’s dominance is an indirect attack on English football. It’s a claim that the greatest team, the greatest player and the most breathtaking football didn’t come from English shores. Fans want to be proved right that the Premier League is king and that the kings of football would become mere peasants when thrown in against the heavy-hitters from the English game.

Well I’m not having any of it. I’m not saying Barcelona could win the Premier League, I’m saying they could do so in equally convincing fashion as they have done in the past when they lifted the Spanish crown. They won’t like it “up ‘em” when they go up north and the rain beats down a little harder? Quite the opposite: they’d thrive under it, they’d play faster and with greater ferocity. The stakes would be raised and so would their game. The idea that Barcelona have never played a difficult, tough or physical opponent is wrong. And more often than not they’ve won.

Who has been the greatest threat to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona? Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager ruffled their feathers when he was in charge at Inter Milan and during that two-legged Champions League semi-final. Barcelona could have won, maybe they should have won. Julio Cesar was one of the world’s best goalkeepers that night in the Camp Nou. Bojan should have converted while at the same time not having his perfectly legitimate goal ruled out. The most important factor of that game is that Barcelona didn’t shy away, they didn’t hide when a physical team came to town and they still played their fantastic brand of football.

Would their style of play work in the Premier League? Why not? Many clubs have tried to emulate what they’ve done, either by adding players who they believe are good enough to recreate that level of football, appointing managers who follow that line of thinking to the Catalans and the Dutch, or going on to hire people who held significant roles in the conversion from theory to practice.

The idea that Barcelona wouldn’t like to travel to Stoke City or square-up to one of Sam Allardyce’s teams is nonsense. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton, and whoever else you want to name have gone to places like that and won. Manchester United is and will remain for a long time the highest standard of Premier League football – they’re the best England have to offer and have been so for the best part of two decades. Barcelona toyed with them, drew them in and delivered crippling blow after crippling blow. United, Chelsea and City are the standards Barca have to live up to in England, not Stoke. Barcelona have beaten the best England has to offer and will continue to do so in the future.

And lets look to another important factor in the current makeup of this Barcelona team. Tito Vilanova’s team are greatly different to Guardiola’s. Ok, the principles remain the same but this is Vilanova’s team now. They’ve played against the most lethal natural no 9 in the game and their closest rivals in the La Liga title race and annihilated them. They enjoyed the occasion, it was something different and it was an Atletico Madrid who weren’t afraid of the obvious gulf in class in various areas of the pitch.

Barcelona have to travel to Pamplona every season and face the always tricky and noticeably English style of Osasuna. Barcelona have to travel to Sam Mames and face the noisy crowds in Bilbao. They’ve had to face Mourinho’s “dirty” tactics and his decision to deploy Pepe as the destroyer in midfield. They came through each of those hurdles not unscathed, but with further evidence that they can do it against the rougher sides in the game.

Guardiola was far too meticulous, far too aware and far too good to allow his sides to fall at the hands of physicality. They have their enforcers in the team, but Barcelona’s group as a whole are far tougher than they may look.

It would be an interesting experiment to see the results of Barcelona in English football. But as I’ve said time and again in the past, it’s not needed. Would they win the Premier League? They’re the best team in Spain, the best team in Europe, former world champions. English football is not that special.


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  • Noose
    2 years ago

    Pointless article wtf

    Reply
  • Jon99
    2 years ago

    I think this article is hugely biased and not thought through. Yes, Barcelona are better teams than all premier league teams, beating Manchester United in the champions league final twice in however many years shows this. But just because they raise their game for UCL finals and have a better squad on paper, does not mean they could win a 38-game season in the BPL. With the far more physical players in England (and the extremely packed festive season), more injuries are inivetiable and a Barca side without Messi, Xavi or iniesta would function far less efficiently. I think they would do well and even possibly win it but not as convincingly as you say.

    Reply
    • Moses
      2 years ago

      Stop imagining the impossible. Messi, Xavi and Iniesta are a part of Barcelona. If u say we should imagine them without their star players, then it would be reasonable for u 2 say we should imagine every team in this world withoutits star players. Get ur s…h…it 2gether pal.

      Reply
  • ben
    2 years ago

    it not that they wouldnt beat all the teams like stoke and Westham it’s the fatigue there players would suffer from games like that. The physicality of the prem would be something they havent experienced over a long period of time no team could come into the prem and win it off the bat its a whole difrent league and challenge and they would have to adapt to stay in it they would have to trade some of there flair for physicality essentially changing the team we know as Barcelona. It would be the same for Man U in the spanish la liga they would not cope because of the differences in style they would have to adapt

    Reply
    • OFFEM LEKAM
      2 years ago

      If common Arsenal have gone unbeaten, Barca will do more than that. Winning barca is normal but it happens once in a while. Even the almighty Madrid are considered underdogs. Man utd and every other team in the world is also considered underdog, Barca currently is the best and you will fail the argument if you throw it into contest for public opinion. Barca produced 9 players in the spanish national team that conquers the world, it is a prove of their dominance.

      Reply
  • jose
    2 years ago

    You are right -thomas hallet.,

    Reply
  • Hammer
    2 years ago

    “There’s a strange obsession in football whereby people want to see this Barcelona team—arguably the greatest any of us have ever seen—play in England to prove one thing or another.” Not everybody, just desperate “Epl” fans that are delusional enough think any player/team hasn’t proved themselves until they’ve played in “the best league in the world” against the likes of Stoke etc… LOL I rate the “Epl” the weakest of all the top leagues. So if it would be interesting to see Barca’s results in English football, wouldn’t it be even more interesting to see United’s results in Spain? Or any other top league for that matter. Any serious football fan would acknowledge Barca would romp the “Epl” but the same can hardly be said of United in La Liga. But that’s where all this hypothetical nonsense comes from, “Epl” fans are jealous that the top teams in La Liga are so much better than their own. They watch their Champions being totally outclassed by La Liga’s Champions, knowing the only way their leagues best can achieve a result against La Liga’s finest is by playing disgusting anti-football. So they dive lower down their league and come up with hypothetical games and try to convince themselves that Barca would struggle against such sub-standard teams LOL It really is laughable, the same time as being really sad.

    Reply
    • ben
      2 years ago

      it’s not that they would struggle it’s that the pressure the middle of pack teams would put on them is greater than in Spain causing more fatigue and injury there style wouldn’t adapt to the prem they would need more gritt to succeed its a pointless conversation its two completely different types of games coming up against each other neither would work in the others league

      Reply
      • Hammer
        2 years ago

        You say “it’s the pressure the middle of the pack teams would put on them is greater than is Spain” But how do you know this? How do you know they wouldn’t destroy these kick and chase dummy teams even more easily than those in La Liga. it’s all just pointless and biased assumptions. The bottom line is a lot of “Epl” media and fans alike need to realize there’s a big footballing world outside of their hyped up league.

        Reply