This season, the Copa del Rey will gain more meaning for us than ever. After the disappointment in the Spanish Supercup, where we were favourites but showed we were not competitive enough, tomorrow we will start in the round of 16 and will have to win 6 matches considering only the semis are two-legged﹚to claim our only realistic trophy this campaign.
Yes, anything can happen in the Champions League or La Liga, blah blah. But we would need a miracle, and it is not time for miracles at Barcelona. It’s January and we’re already thinking about saving the season ahead of facing Segunda B side Cornella. Without trying to sound overpessimitic, this sadly is our new normal, at least this term.
As there is only one leg, and this is our main possibility to win a title, we could be tempted to field a strong XI and play it safe. But I don’t think that would be worthwhile, nor that the positives would outweigh the negatives. Our strongest XI is exhausted and winning in the league still is more important. If with a rotated team we can’t beat Cornella, who lost to Barça B a month ago, we have a problem.
Today should be the best chance we have to trust least-used players and youngsters for them to prove their value. In reality, what’s best for the youngsters is when they play in a strong side alongside regular starters like Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, etc., rather than in one with little chemistry. But, in our clash this course with the biggest difference on paper in terms of level / division, we must give the boys minutes and begin our quest for our 31st Copa del Rey.