Luis Suarez loves El Clasico
The striker has been back to something resembling his best in the last few weeks. He has four goals and three assists in his last four games for Barcelona and has stepped up when the club have needed him most.
His Clasico hat-trick was the first scored by a Barcelona player, whose name is not Lionel Messi, for over 20 years.
The goal moves him into fifth place in Barcelona’s all-time goalscorer list and also means he now has nine Clasico goals in nine games for Barcelona.
Jordi Alba’s Spain snub is baffling
Jordi Alba has been left out of both Luis Enrique’s Spain squads, and while Luis Enrique insists it’s nothing personal, his omission looks increasingly bizarre.
The full-back was in brilliant form again on Sunday, as Barcelona got plenty of joy down the left flank with Alba and Philippe Coutinho.
He picked up his fifth assist of the season, and he would have had a few more if Barcelona had shown slightly better finishing.
He enjoyed the match so much he said afterwards it was his favourite Clasico. Meanwhile, Gerard Pique called on Lucho to change his mind and recall him to the Spain squad.
No Messi, no Ronaldo, no problem for El Clasico
El Clasico is simply the biggest football game on the planet, and unlike many other matches it never fails to disappoint.
For the first time in over a decade there was no Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo for this game, but the absence of the two superstars did not matter in the least.
The two teams still managed to serve up a thrilling encounter, full of drama, goals and excitement.
Barcelona looked in complete control at 2-0 at half-time, but Real Madrid came right back into it when Marcelo pulled one back.
The visitors then had chances to level it, as Luka Modric hit a post and Karim Benzema headed over when he probably should have scored.
Barcelona managed to hold on and then ran riot in the closing stages, notching up three goals to complete another emphatic win. Wonderful stuff.
Valverde deserves Clasico credit
Ernesto Valverde had a pretty tough week with games against Sevilla, Inter Milan and Real Madrid on the fixture list. His job didn’t get any easier when Lionel Messi broke his arm against Sevilla and was forced off early on.
Yet Barcelona have sailed through the week and end it with three wins, 11 goals scored and just three conceded.
Valverde has been criticised for substitutions, or lack of them, this season but his changes against Real Madrid made a big difference.
The score was still 2-1 when Nelson Semedo and then Ousmane Dembele arrived. Nine minutes later it was 4-1 and there was even time for Arturo Vidal to come on and score Barca’s fifth.
Pique’s getting back on track
Gerard Pique’s had a bit of a mixed start to the season. He’s been guilty of carelessness which has seen Barcelona give away a few goals but was much improved against Madrid.
The defender said after the match that recent criticism inspired him to try and turn his form around.
“It was a question of time before I got back to my normal level,” he said. “The criticism is motivation for me to re-find my best form. I felt good, the sensations are good.”
Barcelona still aren’t completely convincing defensively but Pique and Clement Lenglet look to be building a good partnership.