And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you’d call a bounce back performance.
The tactical adjustment, and ability to not make the same mistake twice, is yet another sign that Xavi’s Barcelona is the real deal.
Coming out of the scoreless first leg against Galatasaray, questions were asked whether the goalscoring momentum was starting to wane.
Osasuna was a mulligan. A second chance to play against a team content to sit back, who dared the Blaugrana to break them down.
Barcelona did just that, wasting no time on the demolition.
In the big picture, however, this game was just a dress rehearsal, with big challenges against Galatasaray and Real Madrid coming up.
The Clasico will be an opportunity to show that Barcelona can take down a European giant. But the Europa League knockout will require a different tactical approach, and the latest victory against Osasuna showed the way forward.
Perhaps the most important lesson learned is about attitude. Barcelona underestimated Galatasaray by starting the game casually, and as a result, struggled to assert their superiority throughout.
Against Osasuna, Barcelona were determined to put their stamp on the game right away. They put their talent to work with quick passing, and vertical play that put pressure on the low block. The breakthrough moment didn’t take long.
To paraphrase Xavi, if you play fast, no one can beat you, and if you play slow, you can lose to anyone.
The players got the message this time around, and the game was never in doubt.
But we’ve also learned about which players are serving the system best, and in which positions.
Against Galatasaray, we saw that Ferran Torres and Memphis Depay may not work well together. Neither is ideal in a central role, and they like to operate in the same space on the left.
The front three of Torres, Ousmane Dembele, and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was much more effective. In terms of shape, a perfect trident stretching across the front line.
Dembele and Torres have very different skill sets. The Frenchman is a master with the ball at his feet, while the Spaniard is a specialist with runs off the ball. Together, it works, and the proof was in the goal they created with one another. Dembele is at his best when the other forwards are active and making runs. Ferran needs teammates who can find him as he runs behind defenders.
That brings up the third part of the attacking trio. Aubameyang is critical to the team’s success at the moment, and his absence in the Europa League was glaring.
His spacing and movement is key to the structure in possession, and gives the playmakers an experienced option around the box. For his goal, the run to the near post was timed perfectly, and Dembele knew just how to find him. The scary part in my opinion is that Aubameyang hasn’t even reached his top goalscoring form yet.
But more than anything, we are learning that Gavi is the heart and soul of this team. The 17-year-old may not have the grace of Pedri, but as a box-to-box midfielder, his impact is felt all over the field.
Whether he’s winning the ball with a hard tackle, or splitting the defense with an inch-perfect pass that not even Aubameyang was expecting, the young Spaniard continues to make himself irreplaceable in the midfield.
You gotta feel bad for Riqui Puig. The kid has so much potential, but has had the bad luck of falling behind two world class players in the depth chart. What a goal though, proving once again the class that got so many of us fans excited about him in the first place.
This Barcelona team is rolling, and the small setback last week appears to be nothing more than a learning experience.
Now it’s time to show the world that Barcelona are a force to be reckoned with.
First, to Istanbul, to take care of business.
Then, to Madrid, to put on a show in a Clasico for the ages.