FC Barcelona avenged their Champions League elimination, at least partially, with a 3-0 win over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League. Lionel Messi was, of course, brilliant, but he was supported by a team that looked a lot more stable and mature than they ever did, either against Juventus last season, or in the two opening matches of this season.
Those were against Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercup, which ended in an aggregate defeat of 5-1. People said, quite rightly, that Madrid were superior to Barça by an overwhelming amount. That looks well in the past right now, though.
Back then it was easy to be sweeped up by the negativity, and think the whole season - hey, maybe even the next seasons for the next 5 years - were all going to be Real Madrid domination and nothing else.
But since then Madrid have looked wobbly, Barça less so, at least on the pitch. The board haven’t handled the new signings, among other topics, in a way that have convinced the fans fully. A large portion of the fanbase are still fed up with them. Maybe the movement to remove Josep Maria Bartomeu as president won’t succeed, but undeniably, there is a group there that isn't’ going away that wants him gone.
On the pitch though? Barcelona have outscored opponents 12-0 in 4 wins after that Supercup embarrassment. And of course, one in the Champions League against a team of the caliber as the bianconeri is the crown jewel of that run.
But just as back then too many overreacted to a couple of bad games, it would not be prudent to overreact to this run of good form. Seasons are defined much later, although it’s not as if what’s happening now is irrelevant.
That four-point gap over Real Madrid in the league is nothing to scoff at, even at this early juncture. But in the Champions League, group stage wins only take you so far. Barça need to avoid fizzling out as the knockout rounds go on, something Real Madrid have been very good at.
Of course, for tonight, Cules can be quite happy about the direction the team went after those early defeats.