Barcelona will go into the Christmas break with a four-game unbeaten streak in La Liga and a third win in that span thanks to a 3-0 victory over Real Valladolid at the José Zorrilla Stadium. Barça came out in a new formation and struggled at times, but looked good for most of the match and comfortably won all three points on the road.
Barça made a poor start to the game, with players seemingly confused by the new formation and trying to find the best positions to attack, while Valladolid gave Barça the ball and tried to create danger on the counter. The home team couldn’t threaten at all, however, and their defense slowly started to crack as Lionel Messi began growing into the game.
There was nothing special about the way Barça played, but they managed to create good chances and scored twice in the first half: first it was Clément Lenglet who found himself all alone in the box to head home a brilliant cross from Messi, then Martin Braithwaite showed his striker instincts inside the box and got on the scoresheet after a great pass by Messi and a bullet cross from Sergiño Dest.
Jordi Masip made a couple of excellent saves to stop Messi from joing the scoring party in the first half, and at halftime Barça were playing solid football and winning easily.
Valladolid came out strong in the second half, pressing higher and attacking more and forcing Marc-André ter Stegen into a few quality saves, but Barça wrapped up the game after just 20 minutes with a beautiful goal: Frenkie De Jong found space in the middle and passed it to Pedri, who put Messi through with a glorious backheel pass and the captain finished a great triangle with a powerful finish.
With a three-goal lead and the Christmas break just 30 minutes away, Barça slowed down and Ronald Koeman decided to rest a few players and not take any big risks as the team ran the clock out.
The final whistle came to end a good night for Barça, who didn’t set the world on fire but played a solid game on the road which is actually rare for this team. And just a quick note on Pedri: that boy good, y’all.
Valladolid: Masip; Hervías, Fernández, Sánchez (Guardiola 79’), Martínez; Jota (Orellana 57’), Míchel (Mesa 57’), Alcaraz, Plano (Pérez 57’); Weissman, Maranhão (Villa 46’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo (Umtiti 70’), Lenglet; Dest, Pjanic, De Jong (Busquets 70’), Alba (Firpo 70’); Messi, Pedri (Coutinho 81’); Braithwaite
Goals: Lenglet (21’), Braithwaite (35’), Messi (65’)