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Barcelona being rescued by substitutes and set-pieces

Some interesting stats have emerged from recent games

FC Barcelona v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona remain top of La Liga this season despite some pretty poor performances, and a couple of curious stats have emerged from their first 13 matches of 2019-20.

The Spanish champions are La Liga’s top goalscorers with 35 goals (next best are Real Madrid on 28) and seven of those have come from substitutes which is the highest rate in the league.

Arturo Vidal has only started three league matches but has come off the bench six times and scored twice, against Real Betis and Leganes.

CD Leganes v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Luis Suarez bagged a brace as a substitute in the 5-2 win over Valencia, while Ansu Fati and Arthur netted in the 2-2 draw at Osasuna and Sergio Busquets was on target in the win over Celta Vigo.

The other curious stat that has emerged is that six of Barca’s last seven goals have come from set-pieces, the other being a rare strike from Sergio Busquets.

Both goals against Leganes came from set-pieces. Luis Suarez nodded home Lionel Messi’s free-kick for the equaliser before Arturo Vidal won it from a corner.

Before that game Barca beat Celta Vigo 4-1 with two Messi free-kicks, a penalty from the GOAT and Busquets’ rare strike.

Barcelona V Celta Vigo Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

And before that Barca lost 3-1 at Levante with their only goal coming again from the penalty spot from Messi.

Goals from open play seem to have dried up recently despite Messi, Suarez, Griezmann and Dembele all being fit and available. Barca also drew 0-0 with Slavia Prague in the Champions League in that run of games which was the first time they had failed to score at the Camp Nou since February 2018.

Next up for Barcelona is another tough game. They take on Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday and will need no reminding they were lucky to escape with a goalless draw when the two sides met at the Westfalenstadion in September.

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