Dembele, Dembele, Dembele
This is what the Camp Nou has been waiting for. Everyone knew that the skill was there and there were certainly flashes of it throughout the season, but on Wednesday Ousmane Dembele showed the world just how great of a player he could be. With slaloming runs from each direction, Dembele bamboozled the Villarreal defense all night and made Barcelona fans wonder… and question Valverde again … why hasn’t the wonderful Frenchman played more?
The Difference That Could Have Been
After last night’s showing, it is clear that Dembele and Coutinho add a dimension into the Barcelona squad that would have helped significantly against Roma. Both players’ speed, agility, and class were showcased against Villarreal and it is clear that they are a different team in La Liga. What was missing against Roma was present throughout this game – speed and counterattacking, along with lethal precision. In addition to Coutinho and Dembele, Semedo’s inclusion on the right side because of Roberto’s red card brought more life into the team. With Iniesta leaving, a midfield spot certainly opens up and Valverde would be well informed to try to integrate both of them.
Iniesta and Messi – Revel in it While You can
After Andres Iniesta’s announcement that he was leaving the team at the end of the season, the focus began to shift from the trophies to dignifying a legend about to embark on the next part of his career. While Iniesta certainly has lost some stamina after more than a decade of appearances for club and country, he continues to remind Barcelona fans of the class he possesses. When Messi passed the ball to Iniesta on the edge of the penalty area, a majority of other midfielders would have looked to the right and picked out an easy pass. Instead, the Illusionista feigned slightly, tracked Messi’s run, and delivered a perfect chipped pass to Messi about six yards away from goal that was put away. There are only two games left in the campaign, but let’s hope we continually get reminded of Iniesta’s class while we still can.
A Class Showing
While we have been quick to mention the exploits of individual players, it is important to emphasize the cohesiveness of this Barcelona team. From defense to the attack, they truly are playing at an extremely high level. Even when some of the fringe players got an opportunity to start, such as Lucas Digne and Thomas Vermaelen, they played well and supported the team. Paulinho, Iniesta, Busquets, and Rakitic all impressed and imposed their style on the game. A world-class performance from a world class team.
The Unbeaten Streak Continues
Now over 40 games into their La Liga unbeaten streak, Barcelona have two remaining to wrap this campaign up with a bang. They have already set the La Liga record several weeks ago after beating Valencia, and will attempt to push the record even further these coming weeks. While the season didn’t end with a treble, two trophies and an unbeaten record can’t be considered bad. Visca Barca!