Sunday night’s performance was a watershed moment in many respects.
Barca have been coming up on the rails ever since the new year, as the unbeaten record and gradual improvements in performance week on week would suggest.
Firing six past a Real Sociedad side that are no pushovers, and at a ground where we’ve struggled in the past, is no mean feat.
Before the match, La Real had only conceded 10 goals at home this season, and the manner of that 90 minutes should be sending shudders down the spines of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid management and players.
Real Sociedad had conceded home goals in LaLiga this season before tonight... pic.twitter.com/COWIXbVXQG— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 21, 2021
It had everything. The spirit and doggedness in every tackle was a joy to behold, the work-rate from every player sensational.
It’s hard to focus on one player being a ‘man of the match’ because there were so many individual performances that were worthy of such an accolade.
Jordi Alba, on his birthday, showed why he’s still so valued, even if Barca’s play down the left-hand side can be somewhat predictable.
Involved in all of the game’s best moments, his full-back play was mirrored on the opposite side by Sergino Dest.
The youngster is still a little raw, but there’s enough in the attacking side of his game to understand exactly why Ronald Koeman was so keen to bring him to the club.
Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, two players who have often been much maligned, were at it from the get-go and both deserved their goals.
VAR overruling another for Dembele was an absolute travesty, the most minuscule of offside decisions that would’ve gone Barca’s way if they were wearing all white.
Defensively sound for the most part, if there is a worry as we get into the serious part of the season, it’s that the back line still aren’t ‘there’ yet. Had Marc-Andre ter Stegen not have had another inspired night when called upon, Barca might’ve been staring at a different result.
That would’ve been harsh on everyone mind.
Busi and Frenkie, Oscar Mingueza, Pedri... even Clement Lenglet stood up to be counted. It’s as if all the players can smell the title now and are finding their form, individually and collectively, at just the right time.
Atleti and Real aren’t convincing at present but they are grinding out wins, and all the blaugranes can do is keep putting in a shift like they did on Sunday.
Titles or no titles, there’ll be no complaints if that's the case.