Barcelona remarkably overcame Napoli in their last Europa League test. They now have a reward for this. They will play an opponent not as strong as the Italians in the round of 16. This opponent is Galatasaray from Turkey. A mere look at this Turkish side suggests an impending easy triumph for the Blaugrana. Galatasaray are currently not the strongest team in the Turkish League. They are also not a club in form at the moment. But there shouldn’t be any room for complacency from Xavi Hernandez’s men. This is because Galatasaray have their weaknesses as much as their strengths. That strength can be triggered in any game and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Struggling with adaptation: In mid-January this year, Galatasaray decided to end their relationship with coach Faith Terim. Domenec Torrent came in as his replacement. And things have gone from bad to worse for the Turkish side. The team has yet to adapt to the new coach’s strategy. This has resulted in just one win since Terim was sacked. Overall, Galatasaray have just 7 wins this season and find themselves in 15th place in the league. Yet, things are different in Europe due to Terim’s previous impact. They haven’t lost in the Europa League this season.
Not-so-good defence in Europe: One of Galatasaray’s major weaknesses in Europe is their weak defence. In all UEFA competitions till date, the Turkish side have conceded 275 goals in 177 games. This means that they concede at least 1.5 goals per game. It could well be the same story when they meet Barcelona. Galatasaray have been experiencing a sort of decline since the turn of the year. Their new playing style has brought about some negative changes. These include individual errors, lack of control of games and loss of possession in their own half. All these could probably contribute to their unconvincing defensive stats in Europe against Barcelona.
Experience in Europe: Back in 2013, Galatasaray stunned Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid. They had won the first leg in Spain. But Galatasaray showed their dominance at home by beating Los Blancos 3-2. This shows that the Turkish side can upset any side, irrespective of their form. They are not a team that can be overlooked. Overtime, they’ve also managed to bring in experienced players. They currently boast several of these types of players in their squad. Players like Sofiane Feghouli, Arda Turan, Patrick van Aanholt and others are experienced players that change games.
Torrent is already losing the trust of supporters and maybe his players as well. He could see Barcelona’s game as a chance to get his redemption. The Spanish coach is trying to bring his own style of play to the team. He is a person who knows more about Barcelona, having worked with Pep Guardiola. Looking at the way Barcelona have been playing, they should beat Galatasaray easily. But football is unpredictable. The current Barcelona team still has a lot of work to do. And they have to beat the Turkish side considerably at Camp Nou. This would save them stress when they travel to Istanbul.