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Three talking points from Barcelona 2-1 Alaves

A win....just

FC Barcelona v Deportivo Alaves - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Messy Barca turn it around

Barcelona needed a performance and a result against Alaves but managed just one of those in a 2-1 win for Xavi’s side on Sunday.

The first half was an absolute shambles from the Catalans, and Samu will probably be having nightmares about how he failed to finish off the hosts.

Alaves’ No. 32 had given the visitors the lead almost straight from kick-off. Once again Barcelona started really poorly and gave up an easy and very cheap goal.

It’s not the first time this season they’ve been caught cold. Will it happen again?

There were plenty more chances to follow in a dismal 45 minutes for Barca. Samu absolutely destroyed Jules Kounde, on his birthday too, and would have had a hat-trick with better finishing.

In contrast Barcelona struggled once again to cause problems and offered up a paltry four shots - their worst tally at home this season in a first half.

Yet somehow Barca made it to the break only 1-0 down. An improved performance followed in the second half and two goals from Robert Lewandowski won it for the Catalans.

Xavi had called for a reset ahead of his game but he really didn’t get it. Barca deserve credit for having the character to come back and win but this is another result that masks all sorts of problems.

Lewandowski shows up Samu

Barcelona have Lewandowski to thank for the win, with the Poland international ending his long goal drought by scoring both goals, and showing up the profligate Samu.

The striker equalised with a brilliant header from a hopeful Kounde cross, showing perhaps why Xavi is so reluctant to do without his No. 9.

He then followed that up from the penalty spot after Ferran Torres had done well to win a spot-kick after coming on as a substitute.

Barca’s No. 9 made no mistake with his penalty to win the game for Barca. He still looks a long way short of his best but those two goals should do him the world of good.

Lewandowski has come in for criticism this season after not scoring at the same levels of his debut campaign with Barca. However, it’s worth noting that his goals are responsible for 10 of Barca’s 30 points so far this season in La Liga.

Xavi has decisions to make over the international break

Xavi had been under scrutiny coming into the game and there’s likely to be a fair bit more after another far from convincing performance from Barca.

Indeed a few whistles were heard around Montjuic in the early stages of the game after Samu had given Alaves the lead which will not have gone unnoticed by the Barca boss.

The win means Xavi will get some respite but he will have plenty to stew on over the international break after a series of really poor performances from his team.

Question marks have been raised over Xavi’s team selection and how his team are playing this season. It was obvious what Alaves were trying to do on Sunday. You couldn’t really say the same about Barca who didn’t seem to have a clue at times.

Xavi’s side were simply outplayed at home for long periods by Alaves who could, and probably should, have been out of sight before Lewandowski popped up with a match-winning brace.

Frenkie de Jong is due back in time for Barca’s next game against Rayo but it will need more than the dynamic Dutchman to get Xavi’s side back to their best.

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