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Five talking points from Barcelona’s win over Valencia

Barcelona v Valencia - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

So who’s going to play against Celta Vigo then?

Ernesto Valverde’s starting lineup was a bit of a surprise with Nelson Semedo dropped, Ousmane Dembele left on the bench again and pretty much everyone else starting even though most of the players look absolutely knackered.

The substitutes also saw hardly any playing time as Valverde left his changes super late once again. The first did not come until the 79th minute and even then it was the fresher Philippe Coutinho who departed first.

The substitutes had little time to impress but certainly made memorable contributions. Dembele came on and promptly gave away a penalty and Denis Suarez fluffed a great chance to kill the game completely.

Barca now face two games in a week with Celta Vigo on Tuesday and the Copa del Rey final on Saturday. Surely we’ll see some changes for the trip to Balaidos?

Ter Stegen into the history books

One player who doesn’t look tired, and had a pretty busy afternoon, is Marc-Andre ter Stegen who continues to look one of the very best in the business.

He made some great saves throughout the game and almost stopped the penalty too, until it agonisingly squirmed underneath him just when he thought he’d kept it out.

He also made history during the game as he became the first player to play 39 consecutive games unbeaten, setting an individual record alongside Barca’s team record.

Coutinho making the difference

Philippe Coutinho was back in the team and picked up two assists as Barcelona did a better job of taking their chances than Valencia did.

His first assist was a superb through-ball to Luis Suarez, while the second was a corner for Samuel Umtiti to head home.

Interestingly the Brazilian now has four assists in his last four Barcelona games as he starts to really settle into life at Camp Nou.

Messi looking miserable?

Barcelona v Valencia - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

There was plenty of talk before the game of Lionel Messi confronting Valverde after the Roma game and then keeping his team-mates waiting in training.

Who knows how much, if any, of it is true but he certainly didn’t exude happiness on Saturday and you can understand why.

He did manage a couple of smiles after heading over Luis Suarez’s cross and after a neat bit of play that almost set Andres Iniesta up for a goal but other than a few flashes of brilliance he just didn’t look quite right.

Barcelona break record but can they stay unbeaten?

Barcelona v Valencia - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona made it 39 games unbeaten, a new La Liga record, and now have just six games of the season left.

The prospect of going through the entire La Liga season is edging ever closer with Barca’s last games against Celta, Depor, Real Madrid, Villarreal, Levante and Real Sociedad.

There’s still a few tricky ties left but they may never get a better chance to clinch an invincible season than this year.

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