Barcelona will be top of the La Liga table for at least a few hours thanks to a very good 5-0 win over Eibar at Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon in sunny Catalonia. Lionel Messi ended his goal drought with a spectacular performance and four goals, and the rest of the team was also very good for most of the match as Barça go into a gigantic week of Champions League and El Clásico games with a lot of confidence.
After a little bit of a struggle trying to break the Eibar press in the first couple of minutes Barça quickly established dominance of possession in the attacking half and created a lot of good chances through smart passing and running off the ball, and the front three of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Arturo Vidal looked very good and constantly interchanged to create opportunities.
Lionel Messi looked on the mood to break his scoring drought, and the did it in style: after a beautiful sequence of possession the captain received the ball near the box, nutmegged a defender and found the corner to score a beautiful opener. Barça continued to dominate, and a few minutes before halftime they scored two more goals: first it was a great one-two followed by a lovely finish by Messi, then a great bit of pressing by Ivan Rakitic gave Messi the ball inside the box, and after a lucky deflection Leo scored again to complete his hat-trick.
At halftime, a dominant Barça had a three-goal lead they thoroughly deserved.
With a big lead against a team that didn’t threaten at all and a Champions League game in three days, Barça had one goal in the second half: keep the ball, not take any risks, and maybe even rest a few key players for the trip to Naples. The plan didn’t quite work as far as keeping the ball and not taking risks as Eibar had more of the ball and created a few good chances, and they had a goal disallowed early on that would have made things very interesting.
The resting key players plan worked, with Piqué and Busquets getting an extra half-hour of rest, and Martin Braithwaite got a chance to make his debut with 20 minutes to go. The new signing was heavily involved in the final two goals of the game: first his cross into the box found Messi who scored his fourth, and a couple of minutes later his shot was saved by the keeper and led to Arthur’s first and Barça’s fifth.
The final whistle came to end a very good win for Barça, with five goals and a magical performance from Messi. The team still needs work and the second half is proof of that, but it’s a lot of fun to watch Barça again and it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué (Umtiti 67’), Lenglet, Firpo; Rakitic, Busquets (De Jong 58’), Arthur; Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite 71’), Vidal
Goals: Messi (14’, 37’, 39’, 87’), Arthur (89’)
Eibar: Dmitrovic; Tejero, Burgos, Arbilla, Cote; Pape Diop, Expósito (Cristóforo 82’); Orellana, Escalante, Inui (De Blasis 65’); Enrich (Quique 65’)