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Three talking points from Barcelona 4-2 Tottenham

The final preseason run-out

FC Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

The unusual setting of the Estadi Lluis Companys was where Barcelona’s final pre-season game, the traditional curtain raiser to the new campaign, the Joan Gamper Trophy, was played on Tuesday evening.

Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham Hotspur side were the opponents for a match that was evenly contested at times and not without incident.

Xavi is likely to have learned that he still has much to work on and the team have a long way to go if they want to be back at European football’s top table.

Here are three talking points from the match...

Lamine Yamal: Game changer

FC Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Right, let’s not get too carried away here. We did that before with Ansu Fati and look where that got us.

But there’s definitely something special about Lamine Yamal.

Only just turned 16 and the kid looks like a veteran. An experienced head on young shoulders and, for now, an ability to keep things simple. Sensational.

His cameo lifted the entire stadium, and sending Sergio Reguilón to the shops in the lead up to Ansu’s goal was worth the gate money alone.

A super rare talent who needs to be nurtured and looked after.

Gavi has to learn to calm down

FC Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

One has to take into account Gavi’s age when passing judgment on his recklessness. Equally, the amount of games played at the top level must be acknowledged.

The youngster has to know better by now. Throwing himself into tackles that he’s got no chance of winning, potentially injuring his opponent and/or himself in the process isn’t only reckless, it’s downright stupidity.

Xavi has to ensure that Gavi’s spark is harnessed correctly as, used properly, it can be a real asset for a Barça side that isn’t generally known for its physicality.

But there’s a very fine line that Gavi is treading, and that exuberance often spills over.

On the night, Oriol Romeu’s work rate didn’t disappoint, but his physical presence, like Gavi, wasn’t used to its fullest effect and that’s a concern for some of the challenges the squad will face in the near future.

Xavi needs to get to work on defensive issues


How ragged did Barcelona look at times during the match?!

For long periods it was Tottenham that were playing the better football, their players more in tune with the movement of each other — and that’s a damning indictment on a Barça side that open their La Liga account this weekend.

When Spurs put the pressure on, the defense often went to pieces and there was no calmness or direction. Better teams than an emerging Tottenham side would batter the Catalans if there were something more than the Gamper Trophy at stake.

After so long at the helm, it appears that Xavi still hasn’t sorted out some of the deeper defensive issues that plague the team when they’re up against it.

If the clean sheets of last season can be replicated, it’ll be regarded as a non-issue, but in the big European games, Barça will need to stand toe to toe — and on this form, that won’t happen.

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