Barcelona remain unbeaten to start the season and have won their fourth La Liga game in a row thanks to a sensational 5-0 victory over Real Betis at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium on Saturday night. The Blaugrana returned hungry from the international break and played their best match of the season so far, with great attacking play all night long and five fantastic goals in a dominant night for Xavi Hernández and his troops.
Barça usually don’t play well in the first game after the international break, so it was a pleasant surprise to see the Blaugrana play at such a high level in the opening 45 minutes. With an attacking formation full of quick, intelligent and skilled players, the Blaugrana were impressive in possession with quick passing and excellent movement in the frontline that generated several dangerous moments that asked a lot from the Betis defense.
João Félix was the star of the show in his home debut, moving all over the left wing and doing plenty of damage on the ball. And it was Félix who got the party started: after a cross from Oriol Romeu the Portugal international couldn’t make great contact on his initial attempt but kept fighting for the ball and then showed amazing composure to round the keeper and find the bottom corner with a beautiful finish in the tiniest of spaces.
Just five minutes later the Portuguese forward shined again with a sensational dummy off a pass from Andreas Christensen that fooled the entire Betis backline and left Robert Lewandowski all alone with the goalkeeper, and the Pole couldn’t miss and fired it home off the post to double Barça’s lead.
The Blaugrana relaxed after an amazing start and allowed Betis to have more of the ball and create some serious danger in the final minutes of the half, and Marc-André ter Stegen had to make a world-class save to stop Willian José from giving the visitors life just before the break.
At halftime Barça were two goals up and playing well, but Betis proved towards the end of the period they were very much still in the game and the Catalans still had work to do to finish the job in the second half.
After the many chances conceded towards the end of the first half Barça decided to be a little more cautious to start the second, defending closer to their box and being a little less audacious in possession in the first 15 minutes of the period to try and manage the game without allowing Betis to get any real hopes of a comeback.
And with a half-hour to go, Barça delivered the killer blow thanks to The Shark: Ferran Torres scored the first goal from a direct free-kick by a Barça player in more than two years with a beautiful curler around the wall and into the bottom corner to make it 3-0 and seal the win for the home team. The fourth followed shortly after, with Raphinha coming off the bench to join the scoring party with a gorgeous shot into the bottom corner.
With the game over after 70 excellent minutes from the home team, the last 20 were about giving extra rest to a few key players and avoiding injuries, so Barça naturally dropped their level and were content to run out the clock.
Betis wanted some dignity on the scoreline and attacked more looking for a goal, and they paid for it on the counter as Barça added one more to complete the party: João Cancelo scored his first goal for Barça with a beautiful individual move and an amazing strike, and a great night at Montjuïc suddenly became perfect.
The final whistle came to end a brilliant night for Barça, with a breathtaking display of attacking football that gives so much encouragement and excitement for the games ahead. It’s only one game and Betis were very poor on the night, but the Blaugrana haven’t played this well against anyone in a very, very long time. If this is Xavi’s vision for what this squad will be at its very best, things could be REALLY interesting this season. More of this, please! Well done, boys!
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Cancelo, Kounde, Christensen (Iñigo 76’), Balde (Alonso 76’); Gavi, Romeu (Gündogan 64’), De Jong; Ferran (Raphinha 64’), Lewandowski, Félix (Yamal 64’)
Goals: Félix (25’), Lewandowski (32’), Ferran (62’), Raphinha (66’), Cancelo (81’)
Real Betis: Silva (Vieites 46’); Bellerín, Bartra, Riad, Miranda; Altimira, Roca (Guido 66’); Henrique (Abde 46’), Isco (Rodri 66’), Ayoze (Cruz 66’); José