Dembele deserves more luck
Ousmane Dembele put in an outstanding performance against Leganes in what was arguably his best performance since joining Barcelona.
He was a menace all night, his explosive pace terrified Leganes, and he opened the scoring with a fine goal.
He also showed off his brilliant dribbling ability in a quite thrilling performance.
Yet his night ultimately ended in disappointment after he hobbled off with a sprained ankle. It remains to be seen how long he’ll be out for, but early reports suggest it might only be a couple of weeks.
Barcelona will be praying it’s not a serious problem given the form the youngster is in in this campaign.
His debut season at Barcelona was ruined by a series of injuries, his second has seen a series of negative headlines but he’s responded brilliantly and to miss a chunk of the campaign now would be a massive blow.
Messi is also the GOAT substitute
Ernesto Valverde hinted he might give Lionel Messi a rest in his pre-match press conference, and the captain duly took his place on the bench against Leganes,
He didn’t get the whole night off though, the Argentine was summoned with a little over 20 minutes to go and with the score at 1-1.
It didn’t take long for the little genius to deliver the goods. His curling shot pretty much set up Luis Suarez to make it 2-1, before Messi made sure in stoppage time with his 18th La Liga goal of the season.
Oh yes, and he secured yet another record in the process:
His 18 goals also mean he’s now scored more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues this season, and he’s also scored in his last six matches in a row.
Alena deserves more game time
Ernesto Valverde’s decision to rotate his team meant a first La Liga start for young Carles Alena and wasn’t it great to see his name in the starting XI?
The 21-year-old made the most of it too with an impressive showing on his first La Liga start.
Carles Aleñá's game by numbers vs. Leganés:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 20, 2019
100% take-ons completed
94% pass accuracy
2 chances created
2 fouls won
A promising full LaLiga debut. pic.twitter.com/K58698VRT3
He put in an intelligent display, full of energy and attacking intent and it was a shame to see him depart just after the hour.
Valverde explained his decision to take him off after the match.
“Alena had a great game, but we believed it was right to make changes at 1-1,” he said.
“Rakitic and Messi are used to playing together and we bet on them to turn things around. That doesn’t mean he didn’t do well though.”
Source | Sport
Valverde will have to rotate more as the season progresses and Barca battle it out in the league, Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Alena proved he deserves more minutes, let’s hope he gets them.