Match Preview: FC Barcelona v Sporting Gijón | FC Barcelona Heading into a fourth straight round of fixtures just one point off the pace, a victory over visiting Sporting Gijón on Wednesday night — kickoff at Camp Nou is set for 7.30pm CET — will move Barça atop the table, albeit provisionally, for the third time in recent weeks. Such a scenario would once again put, at least according to the laws of physics, an infinite amount of pressure on Real Madrid, which play later in the evening. Javier Mascherano back in squad for game against Sporting Gijón | FC Barcelona Barça coach Luis Enrique Martínez announced his 18 man squad for the game against Sporting Gijón at Camp Nou (7.30pm CET) on Wednesday
La Masia became synonymous with technical excellence like no other youth academy around and was the production line for Barcelona's brilliant side. Pep Guardiola was, more than anybody else,the symbol of La Masia's success. The Catalan coach was the first major talent to emerge from Barca's fabled farmhouse - now a state-of-the-art facility at the club's training ground - and later built his team around graduates from the academy - Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro and Lionel Messi among them.
Let's get this straight right off the bat: this has been a bad Barcelona season. The performances get worse and worse, the Champions League is basically over, and there have been almost zero games that got us excited about a team that signed great young players to strengthen the bench in the summer and still maintained a world-class starting unit. During this poor, inconsistent season, we need to try and look at a few positives: Samuel Umtiti looks like the real deal and capable of leading the Blaugrana defense for the next decade; Marc-André ter Stegen has established himself as the undisputed goalkeeper and a very talented one; Lionel Messi is Lionel Messi, and the 'MSN' trio is still capable of producing even though the collective quality has completely gone south. The most impressive thing about this season, however, is the one we're not talking about: a 17-match unbeaten streak in La Liga.