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The ‘Shark’ and Lamine Yamal bite Betis hard in brilliant Barcelona win

Sensational stuff from the duo

Real Betis Sevilla v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

That’s much more like it!

It’s been a while since Barcelona have dominated a half in the way that they did at the Benito Villamarin during the first 45 on Sunday evening.

It’s true that Real Betis don’t have the best record against the Catalans but that shouldn’t take away from the strength of the performance - for the most part - from the visitors.

Far worse teams than the Verdiblancos have got at least a point against a Xavi XI this season, by way of example.

Ferran Torres and Lamine Yamal will garner most of the headlines and rightly so.

From the ‘Shark’s’ point of view, his goals should be just the confidence boost that he needs, particularly coming so soon after his Copa del Rey strike against Unionistas.

Real Betis Sevilla v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

Culers, with some justification it must be said, have long contended that the €55m paid to Man City for his services had seen Barca’s pants pulled down.

The Spanish international had shown flashes of his finishing prowess, but nothing close to justifying the club spend.

If Xavi were to continue to pick him for a starting position and he can match his recent work rate and output, then there’ll be no need for complaints for the Blaugrana faithful.

Lamine is beginning to find his feet too at senior level.

There’s an awful lot he still needs to learn, but the responsibility he already holds within the squad at his tender age evidences his importance to the side.

Perhaps the one issue that Xavi does have at present is too much of a reliance on the youngster.

His intelligence on Sunday showed a maturity that belies his 16 years, however, and a Messi-esque assist for Ferran’s hat-trick goal should be shown on the highlight reels for years.

Real Betis Sevilla v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

Ditto Joao Felix’s remarkable finish that knocked the stuffing out of Betis. He has that in his locker but only shows it on the odd occasion, and that’s unbelievably frustrating.

Another 16-year-old, Pau Cubarsi, who celebrates his birthday the day after the match, acquitted himself well on his first-team debut after a nervous start.

A couple of under-hit passes notwithstanding, his positioning was spot on and he should be pleased with his contribution.

In terms of the general shape of the team and the movement, it was much better than we’ve seen of late. Night and day when compared to the Real Madrid loss.

If there’s a note of caution to sound still, it’s the lack of ability in and out of possession from the defence as a whole.

Porous, nervous and unable to defend as a unit, they have become Xavi’s Achilles heel in the majority of matches this season.

Blame needn’t be attached to any individual because, as a collective, they’ve all been as bad as each other at times.

There’s still work still to do in that regard, but on a night like this, let’s just concentrate on the positives...

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