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Five talking points from Barcelona’s Copa del Rey win over Valencia

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FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Miquel Llop/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Roberto lucky to escape a red

Sergi Roberto has emerged as Ernesto Valverde’s first choice right-back this season, preferred in the starting XI over summer signing Nelson Semedo - who incidentally didn’t even make the squad.

However, Roberto could have made a tough evening even more difficult with a high, late challenge on Andreas Pereira in the first half that saw him booked.

The full-back can consider himself lucky it wasn’t a red card, and if he had been sent off and Barca reduced to 10, the match could have had a different outcome.

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Miquel Llop/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barcelona must sign up Samuel Umtiti

When Samuel Umtiti was injured it seemed like he was barely missed as Thomas Vermaelen came into the team and did a brilliant job.

However, against Valencia Umtiti put in a performance to remind us of exactly how important he is to this team.

The transfer window has seen defenders likes Virgil can Dijk and Aymeric Laporte move for simply huge transfer fees, yet neither is on a par with Umtiti.

The Frenchman’s release clause is just €60 million and Barca would be wise to get his new contrac signed, sealed and delivered as soon as possible.

Barcelona v Valencia - Copa Del Rey Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Luis Suarez is in incredible form

Luis Suarez scored the winner again on Thursday to continue his rich vein of form with his ninth goal of 2018, more than any other La Liga player (via Opta).

It means he now has 16 goals in his last 16 games, 13 in his last 10 and 19 for the season, despite a really slow start.

Many people were concerned Suarez’s career at Barca was almost over at the start of the season but, on this form, he still has plenty more in the tank.

Barcelona v Valencia - Copa Del Rey Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Coutinho needs time to adapt

Philippe Coutinho was surprisingly left on the bench for this one but did arrive in the 58th minute for Aleix Vidal and did make an impact.

The game was always going to open a little as it progressed, but the Brazilian’s arrival and creativity did help Barca against an organised Valencia defence.

We may perhaps see Coutinho from the start against Espanyol and while he still needs time to adjust, he’s made a solid, if unspectacular, start to life at Camp Nou.

Barcelona v Valencia - Copa Del Rey Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Second leg set up nicely

Barcelona may have been hoping for more than a 1-0 lead to take to Mestalla but a goal and a clean sheet is still a pretty good result in a semi-final.

It also means there is plenty still to play for and Valencia will not have given up hope that this one is over just yet.

We can probably expect a more exciting game next week, with Valencia needing to score, but Barca are in good shape to reach what will be their fifth consective Copa del Rey final.