After Rafinha went off injured against Granada, Paco Alcacer started warming up. A guy who has struggled to fit in at Barcelona after impressing so much at Valencia last season, who normally plays as a centerforward, on the right wing? Was Luis Enrique mad?
But this Alcacer is not the Alcacer you remember from his first few games. The last time he played alongside Luis Suarez, he looked like a passenger as Barcelona squeaked a 2-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. This time, he got a goal and an assist - and looked lively throughout.
Sure, one game or one goal don’t change everything, but it’s difficult not to see a trend here. From a player who looked lost in Luis Enrique’s system to a man adapting evermore with each game despite not playing all that much.
Here is Paco’s rating according to WhoScored across the 9 games he has played at least 30 minutes of this season.
The difference is clear. That 7.69 game, by the way, was what prompted me to write a very similar headline: “New Boy Paco Alcácer Just Played His Best Game for Barcelona.”
That one was somewhat controversial at the time, but this one, I expect won’t be so much. Because while that performance in the second match against Gladbach was encouraging compared to the poor showings before, this one was on another level still.