From The Mind of Xoel: "Capita" Iniesta Leads Barça to 4-0 Win

"Capita" Iniesta - David Ramos

Andres Iniesta wore the "capita" armband and led FC Barcelona to a 4-0 win over Granada CF on Saturday night at the Camp Nou. With Lionel Messi out, Neymar took over at the CF spot. Goals from Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Alexis, and Pedro gave Barça another win heading into UEFA Champions League action this upcoming week.

Lionel Messi displayed his Golden Boot to the Camp Nou crowd, then FC Barcelona displayed a solid team win as El Blaugrana defeated Granada CF with a 4-0 score line on Saturday night.

Alexis Sanchez had the first good shot at goal in the 14th minute, but Granada goalkeeper Roberto made a solid save on Alexis' header. In the 19th minute, a foul on Cesc Fabregas was called inside the box, and Andres Iniesta grabbed his first goal of the season as he slammed the ball in the back of the net. Don Andres was taken down inside the box in the 39th minute, and one minute later, Cesc Fabregas converted the penalty to make it 2-0.

In the second half, Pedro had a great chance early, but his shot was scandalously terrible. Granda went down to ten men in the 67th minute as Iturra got his second yellow card. Just a few minutes later, Nyon had a great chance for Granada, but Marc Bartra and Jose Manuel Pinto were able to keep Nyon from having a clear shot at the goal. Soon after, the Barcelona counterattack came to pass, and Neymar found Alexis who lobbed it softly over a sliding Roberto for the 3-0 score line. Finally, Pedro got his goal in the 89th minute as another Barça break led by Cesc ended with Pedrito getting the fourth and final goal for FC Barcelona on the night.

Time to give you the Best, Worst, and What We Learned from this game.

The Best: Andres Iniesta

There was no doubt that Don Andres was the Best for this game. From the beginning of the game, you could see that Iniesta took it upon himself to lead the Barça attack. Why was this? Perhaps he felt he had to impose his will even more in this game with Leo Messi's absence. I feel that it was because Andres Iniesta was wearing the captain's armband for this game. Who wouldn't feel the need to step their game up while wearing that special "capita" armband? Andres was even more masterful then ever against Granada. His passes, dribbling, and of course his involvement in the first two goals were all the reason Andres Iniesta was the man of the match for me.

The Worst Great to see: Bartra rising, Montoya solid, Alexis wonderful, and so on

Let me praise Marc Bartra once again for another great game. He was spot-on all game, and continues to show the football world that Barcelona already has their "centre-back of the future" today. Martin Montoya played a solid game as well. With Montoya playing well, Tata Martino can give Dani Alves two more games off to recover from an injury. Alexis Sanchez is having his best season in a Barça kit as the Chilean grabbed another goal on Saturday. Sanchez now has eight goals in La Liga this season, tying him with his teammate Messi for most goals for the team. Alexis' hustle is contagious, and he is one of the main reasons Barcelona are leaders in La Liga.

Finally, it was great to see Sergi Roberto get some playing time in this game. The kid needs the playing time, and with Xavi injured plus Cesc and Iniesta playing many minutes, Sergi Roberto will need to be ready to play in many games later in the season-in particular, in Copa del Rey games.

What We Learned: Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta will steer the Barça ship while Messi is out. It's not all Neymar.

Since the moment Messi went out with his injury, it feels like most have put the pressure on Neymar to fill Leo's shoes for Barcelona. Yes, Neymar needs to step up a bit more with Leo absent, but that doesn't mean it will be Neymar who keeps Barça atop of La Liga until Messi returns. It's unfair and unrealistic to put all the pressure on the kid. For me, I've always felt that Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta were going to be and will be the reason Barcelona stays on top of La Liga while Messi is out. I'm not implying that we should put all of pressure on Cesc and Andres, I'm just saying they will be the heartbeat of this team throughout this season-especially with Messi out. Neymar, Alexis, and Pedro have all done well to not only score goals, but to create plays for their teammates as well. But as midfielders, Cesc and Iniesta are more responsible for creating goal-scoring plays than all of the forwards, and the team will follow their lead. Fabregas has been wonderful all season long, and after Saturday's performance against Granada, I hope Iniesta will continue to be just as great. Not all players can be great all of the time, but that's why it's comforting that Barcelona has many aces up their sleeve. Messi is always missed, but until Leo comes back, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta-not just Neymar-will need to continue to both have solid games to keep the Barça ship in the lead in La Liga.

What's Next?: Tuesday at Ajax

Barcelona will travel to The Netherlands to take on Ajax in UEFA Champions League action this Tuesday. With Barça only needing one more point in the last two games to secure winning Group H, look for Tata Martino to rest a few players. If healthy, Xavi should get the start. I honestly wouldn't be shocked if Sergi Roberto gets the start to give either Andres Iniesta or Cesc Fabregas some rest. Look for Carles Puyol and Alex Song to start as well. Puyol did not play against Granada, while Alex Song played only a few minutes on Saturday.

Xoel's Final Word

It was a fine performance by FC Barcelona as the Liga leaders took down Granada 4-0 at the Camp Nou on Saturday night. Andres Iniesta, wearing the captain's armband, led his team to another three points. A special congratulation goes to Adama Traoré as the 17-year-old made his debut with the first squad against Granada. Grande Adama!

No time to rest, boys. Time to head to Nederland for Champions League action.

Time to get a win against Ajax.

Time to wrap up and win Group H.


Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona

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