Before a ball had been kicked at Mestalla I imagine most culers might’ve been happy with a point against Valencia, so to grab all three in such comprehensive circumstances was a real feather in the cap for Xavi and his team.
Los Che don’t appear to be the force they once were, but they still had enough about them to trouble the visitors and, on another day, could’ve got back into the game.
Pedri’s astonishing effort finally settled the nerves in a match where there was so much to admire.
Notwithstanding some regrettable errors by Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Oscar Mingueza, there wasn’t really a Barcelona player that you could point the finger at and say they had a poor game. Everyone played their part.
Of course, when you go in at half-time three goals to the good, the team talk is so much easier, even if only a few minutes had passed before the hosts pulled one back.
That opening 45 had some of the best passages of play we have witnessed under Xavi’s tutelage, and a dozen games into his tenure, you’d have to say there’s been a vast improvement.
Both in the understanding of what Xavi wants, and the application of the same.
It hasn’t happened in every game, granted, but best to look forward rather than back, and that’s a performance that the squad can take into the winner-takes-all Europa League test against Napoli.
Barca were always at their best under Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique when the movement off the ball was as crisp and sharp as the passing. That’s where the game was won on Sunday afternoon, and Frenkie de Jong’s goal was a prime example of that.
To score four goals away from home against any team needs to be lauded, particularly as it chalks off another difficult opponent and puts Champions League qualification back in Barca’s own hands.
The momentum continues to build and as the Catalans get more players back from injury, so they’ll have more depth.
That can’t be understated as the business end of the campaign appears over the horizon.
One other aspect I enjoyed seeing was Xavi dishing it out to Sergio Busquets. If no one is safe from his volatility on the sidelines, I’d respectfully suggest we’ve got just the right man in place and who just needs to be given time - by me included (!!) - in order to show everyone what he’s made of.
Onwards and upwards.