A tremendous and absolutely necessary bounce back game for Barcelona. After struggling in many facets of the game in the last La Liga match against Celta de Vigo, Luis Enrique's men came out mentally focused and performed to obtain the win. With A. Vidal completely out of the plans for the skipper, Sergi Roberto's loss because of injury provided Lucho with a bit of a headache as to whom to play as the right back. Enter Lucho's brilliance and his new 3-4-3 formation. Like Renato said in his post, the 3-4-3 formation, what with the extra holding midfielder, gives plenty of defensive stability while not taking much away from the offensive side of things.
This was a game were Barcelona played well as a whole. Individually, yes, some players outshone others, and some players fared worse than others. As a whole though, the Blaugranas played a very good game in which they dominated from start to finish. Truly, the balm needed by the team, and it came at the moment we needed it most. Now the team can focus on the midweek match against the toughest challenge they've yet to face in Guardiola's Manchester City.
Now, ladies and gents! If you'll allow me the honor of providing my humble opinion, I give you this match's Three Gamboling Goleadores!
1st Goleador: Rafinha Alcántara
What a game this young man had, what a game! The second example this season alone of the success that comes from working hard and not giving up. It is definitely not easy to keep plugging away and keeping your motivation high when you see your team getting deeper and deeper in positions you could play in. Anyone, specially a young player, would have doubt creep into their heads at the more than likely scenario of not getting any playing time. Yet here we are! Boy kept at it, and is having a terrific start to this young La Liga season. Good on you Rafihna! A brace for you after a terrific performance. Keep it up, and more success will surely follow.
2nd Goleador: Neymar
I might get a tremendous amount of flak for this, but I don't mind Neymar not scoring ever again if he keeps having performances like this. Ok, yes, I don't really mean that, but is difficult not to be happy when Neymar doesn't score a single goal yet had a terrific performance. Two assists, and countless more plays in which he provided the initial spark. We saw more control from him and a more selective dribbling. I love a good dribble, and Neymar is a terrific dribbler. But sometimes you have to understand that it is better if you play the quick pass, or simply hold on to the ball rather than try to dribble past one, two, three defenders and losing possession. Just my two cents.
3rd Goleador: Piqué, Mascherano, Mathieu
I understand that I'm choosing three payers as a single Goleador, which hardly makes any sense, and you would be correct. I am choosing these three players as a single unit, the defensive back three, of our 3-4-3 formation. As a unit, these three had a beast of a game. This was easily, EASILY, the best game Mathieu has had this season. I'm highlighting him because he has been playing very bad recently, but that doesn't mean he was any better than Piqué or Mascherano. To clarify then, my third Goleador is our back three. What a game. Might as well gift Ter Stegen the new Pokemon game, because that dude will get bored if the defense has more games like these.
Thanks for reading, folks! I hope you enjoyed the game and I'll see you for the next one. As always Visca Barça!