Messi is back to his best
To say Messi was in the mood against Valladolid would be an understatement. The GOAT was at his magical best with a performance that drew several gasps from the Camp Nou supporters.
His glorious ball to Vidal for the opener was sublime, his free-kick that made it 3-1 was almost perfect, and he also popped up with two brilliant nutmegs in a superb first half showing.
Incredibly, his free-kick goal was the 50th of his career and also his 100th goal under Ernesto Valverde. Masip knew where it was going, has probably faced dozens before in training but still couldn’t keep it out.
There was more to follow after the break. He added his second of the night with a powerful finish after being played in by Ivan Rakitic and then grabbed a second assist by sending Luis Suarez away for Barca’s fifth.
Messi’s start to the campaign was interrupted by injury, which means he also missed pre-season, but there’s no doubt at all that he’s back to his best now.
Vidal shows he’s worth keeping hold of
Arturo Vidal was handed just his second La Liga start of the season on Tuesday on the same day that quotes emerged about how he’s not happy on the Barca bench and how he’s quite a big fan of Inter boss Antonio Conte.
Yet the Chilean certainly did not look too unhappy at the Camp Nou and produced the goods on the half-hour mark, putting Barcelona back in front after Olivas Alba had equalised for Real Valladolid.
Vidal was picked out by a gorgeous pass from Messi and managed to touch the ball past Masip. It was not the easiest chance either with the ball coming over his head but the 32-year-old made it look easy.
Despite his lack of game time the goal is Vidal’s third of the season already (as many as he scored throughout the whole of 2018-19), and while he may not have quite done enough to take Arthur’s place in the team he certainly offers something different.
Vidal may find himself back on the bench against Levante on Saturday which may well fuel further rumors over his future, but he showed again on Tuesday that he’s a more than useful option who Barca should be keen to keep hold of.
Suarez continues to confound
Luis Suarez put in another one of those performances that will have his critics fuming but then popped up with a late goal to ensure he has now scored against every single La Liga side he’s faced since joining Barca.
The Uruguayan swept home another brilliant pass from Messi to make it 5-1 on 77 minutes as Barcelona returned to the top of the table with a convincing win.
Yet it was not a convincing performance from Suarez despite the fact he netted his eighth goal of the season and is only one goal behind La Liga top scorers Gerard Moreno and Loren Moron.
Suarez rarely threatened until his goal but still played the full 90 minutes as Ernesto Valverde took off Frenkie de Jong, Ansu Fati and Jordi Alba in the second half. Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann did come on late in the match but struggled to make an impact at all.
There’s still an argument that Barca may be better off making changes up front and playing Griezmann through the middle but that’s unlikely to happen while Suarez keeps banging the goals in.