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Three talking points from Barcelona 3-0 Real Madrid

A brilliant win in a brilliant game

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Saturday night saw another El Clásico taking place on US soil, this time at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in front of 82,026 supporters.

As with any match against Real Madrid, it couldn’t really be billed as a ‘friendly,’ because it’s simply anathema to any player on the pitch.

There’s always a real desire to win against Los Blancos regardless of the circumstance, and that was shown on many occasions throughout the game.

Given it was only Barça’s second game of this pre-season, the intensity shown throughout was impressive and it made for a entertaining watch.

There were so many talking points but here are three from the match...

Gundogan, like hand in glove

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Like a fine wine, Ilkay Gundogan gets better with age.

If there were any doubts as to his hire by the Blaugranes, they were surely dispelled by his performance against Barça’s eternal rivals.

Calm in possession, diligent in his passing and movement, Gundo slotted into the midfield like he’d been there all his career.

His connection with Frenkie de Jong was particularly notable, as was the ease with which he helped transition the play from defence to attack.

A shame his evening ended early with an injury.


Genuine width and pace on both flanks

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

With Alejandro Balde — surely on a path to becoming one of the world’s best left-backs — raiding down one side, and Ousmane Dembélé down the other, Barca had an out ball whenever required.

It meant that more often than not Madrid’s wing-backs were pinned back, stifling their own attacking instincts in the process.

The likes of Robert Lewandowski, Oriol Romeu and Pedri all played well but aren't noted for their pace in the centre of the pitch, so in order to execute Xavi’s game plan, he needs a couple of speedsters to motor up and down the channels.

If Dembélé accepts PSG’s overtures, it could have a significant impact on how the team evolves this season.

Decent defensive shape but too many lapses

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

It was encouraging to see how compact Barça’s defence were for the most part.

There was barely any space between the back four and the midfield for Real Madrid to try and wreak havoc, however, consistent lapses of concentration almost undid any good work.

Xavi is going to have to get into the players over the course of the coming weeks because 16 shots from Los Blancos in the first half alone was way too many.

The positives that culers can take is that the Blaugranes did look like a proper defensive unit at times.

The negatives? They also looked like a collection of individuals, though the early injury to Andreas Christensen may have had something to do with that.

Eric García always appears to be like a coiled spring and that can certainly rub off on his team-mates.

Bonus point - Masterful De Jong, Magnificent Ter Stegen

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

This match saw Frenkie de Jong at his best. The Dutchman covered every blade of grass in an all-action performance, even putting his foot in when needed, at the expense of a yellow card.

Whether he was breaking up Real Madrid’s forays before they could get going, or helping to build Barça’s attacks, De Jong was the conduit through which everything flowed for the Catalans.

Marc-André ter Stegen rode his luck at times, with his woodwork being rattled on no less than five occasions, but don’t they say that you make your own luck?

The German pulled off an outstanding stop from Rodrygo’s free-kick in the first half, and was consistently in the right place at the right time when Real poured forward.

A calming influence behind the back four — as usual.

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