Barcelona almost held on in Andalusia but Lady Luck was against the Blaugranes on this occasion.
A draw before the game would, probably, have been considered an acceptable result, though the way the Catalans played against Granada, they deserved the three points.
There was a lot to admire about Barca’s play under Xavi once more.
The team are playing with a lot of heart, and that’s something not seen for some while. There is passion for the shirt, for the badge.
Gavi flying into tackles is a prime example of the urgency with which the team continue to play at present.
Ultimately, the youngster saw a red for his energy and verve, but he’ll learn and culers shouldn’t be too hard on him, even if the sending off swung the game the hosts’ way.
So well has he settled in to Barcelona’s midfield, it’s easy to forget he’s just 17. What were you doing at the same age?!
Another highlight of Saturday night’s game was the reintroduction to the side of a certain good crazy exponent. Ladies and gentlemen... Dani Alves.
He was everything the likes of Mingueza and Dest can only aspire to be. Alves kept things simple and was decisive when he needed to be - at both ends.
A pinpoint cross for Luuk de Jong was followed later by the Brazilian throwing himself in front of the ball to save a shot on goal at the very least.
At almost 39 years of age, he’s the eldest to have put on the Barca shirt, but you’d never have known it from a performance which saw him roll back the years.
Talking of De Jong, if we’re to pile on him when he hasn’t hit the mark, then it’s right that we doff our caps when he does the business.
@LuukdeJong9 has scored 100% of @FCBarcelona's goals in #LaLigaSantander so far in 2022.#GranadaBarça pic.twitter.com/g2AWLBVolT— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) January 8, 2022
Give him the tools and the service and he’s shown he can do the job.
Thank God too, for the likes of Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele weren’t really at the races.
It still won’t be enough to keep him sadly, though I’d take a ‘trier’ every week over players that seem to find it hard to get motivated to play for the best team in the world.
Defensively, Barca were sound for the most part.
An injury to Eric Garcia, who is starting to settle well, appeared to be the catalyst for a back four collapse however.
Xavi will need to work hard to ensure that any good work done by the forwards isn’t undone by the defence in future.
Overall though, a glass half full performance and something more to build on.