FC Barcelona’s 2012-2013 season will live on in the memory as the year when the Blaugrana finally broke the 100 point milestone – becoming the first team in La Liga history to accomplish that feat in the process. With 32 wins in 38 matches, Barcelona were in scintillating form all season long, and even if they couldn’t perform consistently in knockout action, we were left with plenty of exceptional highlights. Manita victories, nine-goal thrillers, epic comebacks; we literally saw it all last season, although one or two matches stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Given that this was Barça’s fourth La Liga title in five seasons, it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that Barcelona could be so brilliant over the course of a 90 minute match. After all, "Total Football" has been in place for multiple years, and the majority of our stars have literally played their entire careers in this all-conquering, tiki-taka system – but while that may be the case, there are still occasions where we just sit in wonder at what we have just witnessed from our beloved Blaugrana. Here are the nominees for the Best Team Performance Award:
FC Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan – UEFA Champions League, Round of 16, Second-Leg
A clear fan favourite, Barcelona’s epic 4-0 victory against AC Milan was actually the only match nominated for this award by the esteemed members of the Barça Blaugranes Community – which is testament to just how well Barcelona played that night. Facing almost certain elimination after a surprising 2-0 defeat at the San Siro, Tito Vilanova’s side produced one of their best performances in recent memory to not only overturn the deficit and qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, but secure a convincing aggregate win in the process. While Barcelona couldn’t replicate that form in the latter stages of the competition, this 4-0 win at least reminded the world exactly what the Blaugrana are capable of at their sensational best.
FC Barcelona 4-0 RCD Espanyol – La Liga, Jornada 18
Invigorated by the winter break, Barcelona returned to La Liga action against city rivals Espanyol, ultimately winning the match within the opening half-hour with a stunning four goal blitz – led by Pedro, who netted a 12 minute brace to triple Barça’s early lead. Espanyol just couldn’t cope with Barcelona’s crisp passing and movement, even with astute Mexican coach Javier Aguirre on the touchline.
FC Barcelona 5-1 Athletic Bilbao – La Liga, Jornada 14
Barça secured their 13th win of the La Liga season with a comprehensive victory over Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao. Even without Carles Puyol and Dani Alves in defense, Barcelona looked assured at the back, and were utterly lethal going forward, establishing a three goal lead by the end of the first-half, with second-half goals from Cesc Fàbregas and Lionel Messi rounding off yet another superb victory for Tito Vilanova’s side.
FC Barcelona 5-1 Real Sociedad – Jornada One
After a relatively mediocre pre-season, Barcelona headed into the opening match of the 2012-2013 season under a fair amount of pressure, but as soon as the referee started the match, it was clear that Tito Vilanova’s side were ready to perform. Club captain and all-round legend, Carles Puyol, got the ball rolling with a header in the fourth minute, and by the end of the night, Barcelona had smashed five past a Real Sociedad side that finished the season in a UEFA Champions League qualification spot.
FC Barcelona 4-1 Malaga CF – La Liga, Jornada 38
And just as Barcelona started the season on the right note, their final performance of the season against Malaga was another match to remember, as the Blaugrana made easy work of a Malaga side that gave them so much trouble in the Copa del Rey. With three goals in the opening 20 minutes, Barça could have easily run up a cricket score in Manuel Pellegrini’s final match as Malaga coach, but with the points won, Barcelona understandably took their foot off the gas, conceding a second-half consolation to Pedro Morales.