1 - Barça took preseason seriously, and it showed in their opening attacks
From the start of the game, Barcelona looked fast and poised offensively. They came at Real Madrid attacking with and without possession in the opening 30 minutes. Despite giving up a goal to Madrid early on, Barça continued to attack and produce great opportunities to score. In the opening half, the Blaugrana produced nine total shots with three of them on target.
The second half wasn’t much different. Barça scored another goal from a set piece early in the half then continued to create chances, but they couldn’t cap off some of the wonderful opportunities they had. They really did leave good chances on the table, partially due to some great saves from Keylor Navas and some lackluster finishing once they got into goal-scoring situations. Barça still ended up with 16 shots, six of them on target.
The victory was the culmination of a fantastic preseason performance from Barcelona. Winning all three games in their United States tour, Barça finished things off by winning the 2017 International Champions Cup against their arch rivals.
2 - Barça’s offense ran through Neymar
For the first 60 minutes, while most of the starters were present, the offensive production ran mostly through Neymar. He was the catalyst behind most of the team’s runs and created many of their opportunities, and was even the main set piece taker for Barça. Lionel Messi was on the scoresheet early, but the Argentine couldn’t quite maintain a consistently great level throughout his 60 minutes on the pitch (which is understandable in preseason), and Luis Suárez failed to convert some great opportunities.
Neymar’s prominent offensive role was perhaps particularly noticeable due to the nature of his current transfer situation. His performance could end up being a somewhat painful reminder of what he means to Barcelona should the transfer to PSG take place.
3 - Humidity and preseason’s lack of interest played a significant role
Both teams looked somewhat disinterested for portions of the game. There were moments of brilliance from both sides, like Real’s amazing counter-attack that led to their second goal. Barça could have scored more than the three goals in the game, but there were still moments where the preseason atmosphere and the humidity seemed to drastically impact Barça, particularly on the defensive end.
Although the first goal from Mateo Kovacic wasn’t due to terrible defending, the second goal is where the defense let up and looked like they were a bit winded. Madrid countered with precision after a Barça corner, and Marco Asensio easily beat Jordi Alba in the box before finishing with precision past Jasper Cillessen.
The players were fueled by the intensity of the match through the first 30 minutes. The game was electric, up and down the pitch with an intensity and fire. That died quickly once the heat seemed to hit the players and everyone remembered it was preseason.
Still, the win is nice, preseason is over and we can look forward to two really competitive Clásico matches in the Super Cup.