After two devastating defeats against Eintracht Frankfurt and Cadiz respectively, the win at Real Sociedad was a timely return to form for Xavi’s Barcelona side.
The three points will be welcomed for the mere fact that it keeps the Blaugranes in the box seat to guarantee Champions League football next season, but it was the manner of the win that will be most pleasing.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his excellent goalscoring form whilst Ousmane Dembele again shone in his wide role.
Clearly, being free of injury evidently suits the French World Cup winner, though kudos mainly has to go to Gavi for another stellar showing.
He is so good that it’s often forgotten that he’s still four months away from his 18th birthday.
In a number of respects he’s everything that people thought Riqui Puig would be.
Where Gavi wins hands down of course is his lack of ego and his propensity for hard work.
If you want a youngster in the trenches with you, you’re going to plump for the likes of Gavi and Pedri every time.
Puig is five years Gavi’s senior, but is well behind his contemporary in development terms.
He made the huge error, some might say the cardinal sin, of believing his own hype. As if a place in the first XI was his right.
Gavi has the right blend of exuberance of youth, fearlessness and will to win that marks out only the very best players.
The fact that he’s displaying those characteristics and his enviable talents at such a tender age is astonishing. One can only imagine how good he will be in 2-3 years time. That’s a frightening prospect.
That he’s earned Xavi’s confidence tells us much about the esteem that he’s held in by one of the best to have ever played the game.
Compare and contrast that with the scarcity of minutes that Puig has under his belt this season. No amount of Puig cheerleaders can change that fact.
If there’s one area of his game that Gavi could improve upon it’s the way in which he flies into tackles, earning himself unnecessary yellow cards in the process.
Take that from his game, however, and he isn’t the same player.
Barca have others to play the pretty carousels. Gavi snapping at the heels of the opposition is an element of play that the Blaugranes have often missed.
He may not yet be celebrated in quite the same way as the likes of Pedri…. but he really should be.