Messi continues to amaze for Barcelona
Barcelona were making pretty hard work of Espanyol until Lionel Messi popped up with his latest moment of brilliance to break the deadlock at the Camp Nou.
The free-kick on the edge of the box spelt danger and it was no surprise to see Messi step up and take it, but no-one in the ground expected him to chip it over Diego Lopez.
Mind you, he has come up with something similar before:
Messi's free-kick from the derby...— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) March 31, 2019
...similar to the first he ever scored away from home in #LaLigaSantander back in 2010? ⚽ pic.twitter.com/GEJxExNwwx
It was the latest in an increasingly long line of genius moments from the GOAT that left everyone furiously trying to watch it again and again to see if he really had just done what we thought he had.
Sergio Busquets said after the match that Barca are used to Messi’s brilliance, while Espanyol boss Rubi told fans to “enjoy Messi while he is still playing.”
It was a glorious way for Messi to secure his 40th goal of the season in all competitions (his 41st followed shortly afterwards), for the 10th consecutive season as he equalled Iker Casillas’ record for La Liga wins.
Malcom deserves more chances
Malcom produced an impressive cameo after replacing Arthur on the hour and laid the second goal on a plate for Messi to wrap up the win.
The Brazilian has been sparingly used this season but with Ousmane Dembele still injured and Philippe Coutinho struggling to make an impact, he showed he really deserves more chances in the first team.
The fixtures are coming thick and fast at the moment, and Tuesday’s trip to struggling Villarreal looks the perfect opportunity to hand Malcom only his second La Liga start.
Ernesto Valverde said after the match he could make “small changes” to the team for the upcoming games and Malcom has certainly played his way into contention.
Lenglet form will keep Umtiti on the bench
Clement Lenglet may not have made the French squad, unlike Samuel Umtiti, but he was back in the Barcelona first-team and put in another strong performance alongside Gerard Pique.
The former Sevilla man looked accomplished in defence and came up with a superb tackle on Wu Lei late on to deny Espanyol what would have been an equaliser.
Lenglet has been the main beneficiary from Umtiti’s long injury lay-off and certainly seems to have earned Ernesto Valverde’s trust.
Umtiti played both of France’s Euro 2020 qualifiers over the international break which may have been another reason Lenglet started ahead of him, but he faces a real battle to get his place in the team back on current form.