New Delhi: Touted as the favourites for the title, Barcelona have shown Europe and the world a brand of football which every team strives to play. Practising a brand of 'Total Football' first shown to the world by the Dutch team which had the likes of Johan Cryuff and Marco van Basten, the Catalan club have reached to the dizzying heights of European and domestic glory under the leadership of dynamic coach Pep Guardiola.
With midfield dynamos like Xavi and Andres Iniesta, a strike force to die for with Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro Rodriguez banging in goals for fun and a shored up defense led by Barca legend Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, the team can make any football fan drool.
Through the group stages, they have never let their guard down and have consistently played a fluid style, hard to replicate and harder to defend. Scoring 13 goals in the group stages albeit suffering a minor hiccups drawing to new boys Coppenhagen and Rubin Kazan, Barca stayed atop the table.
Their encounter against Arsenal in the last 16 round was their first real test in the tournament. With Arsenal playing the same brand of football, it was a case of the mentor and the prodigy as the Gunners were taught a lesson in passing. Completing almost eighty percent of their crosses, Arsenal never stood a chance against the sublime touch of the Barca midfield quartet.
With many teams fearing to be drawn against the mighty Spanish club, it was an anti-climax of sorts when in anticipation of a high-stakes encounter, Barca were pitted against Shakhtar Donetsk!
Barring a surprise, it really would be audacious to not bet your money on Barcelona to progress through to the Semi-finals!