After the preseason tournament, we are back to the routine with Barcelona winning their first La Liga game this season. A comfortable 3-0 victory for the Catalans in line with expectations has brought back the joy in the eyes of the thirsty fans who were earnestly waiting for competitive club football to begin.
Nevertheless, the 3-0 scoreline doesn’t seem to be justifying, because had it been some other day this game would have been an exulting 7-0 win for Barca (three times Messi hitting the woodwork and some more chances could not get capitalized). Surprisingly Coutinho was benched while Dembele got the nod to start.
Alaves determined to take home a goalless draw had organized a deep block in the first half which Barcelona could not breach significantly. Barcelona had the possession for the better part of the first half, but except for the productivity from Messi it looked like they controlled it without purpose. The closest they came to a goal was when Messi’s freekick hit the crossbar.
Messi played the free role which also saw him appearing in different positions likes the right wing, left wing as a secondary striker and also in the center back position for a few moments (like in the picture above). His creativity came from all parts of the pitch he covered, and the Alaves’ players had to sometimes exchange duties to mark him.
The breakthrough came in the second half from a freekick by Messi which everyone would’ve expected to fly above the wall, given the distance perfectly set, sent below to travel safely into the bottom. The new number seven Coutinho was introduced who showed why he’s worth his price tag by dribbling his way through the left wing past the defenders to curl in a beautiful strike into the goal. Another one came off from Messi in the stoppage time who controlled the perfect lob pass from Suarez seemingly by his magical wand and sent it into the goal by some other spell (just kidding he used his feet this time).
Except Messi, not each and everyone looked at their best, but we can say that this season Barcelona are going out with a stronger and a better squad. The bench comprised of Cillessen, Arthur, Coutinho, Lenglet, Malcom, and Vidal and these substitutes have much more muscle than last season’s ineffective bunch. Let’s wait to see more of the treats in the next fixture against Real Valladolid.