Lenglet is Barcelona’s signing of the season
Clement Lenglet’s form this season has been a welcome surprise, as the Frenchman has needed to play a key role after Samuel Umtiti was sidelined for some time with a knee injury.
At the start of the season nobody would have expected Lenglet to have become the club’s first choice centre-back alongside Gerard Pique, but that’s exactly what he’s done and forced fit-again Umtiti on to the bench.
The 23-year-old has barely put a foot wrong in defence, and on Saturday he popped up with an important goal to put Barcelona ahead just before half-time.
Clément Lenglet scores his first Liga goal for Barcelona as the #UCL semi-finalists move a step closer to the Liga title. pic.twitter.com/s2U0DE188G— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 20, 2019
Real Sociedad were proving a little tricky to break down until that point, but Lenglet’s goal gave the hosts the perfect lift and set them on their way to an important win after a busy week.
Barcelona are La Liga’s set-piece kings
Set-pieces have played a key role in Barcelona’s season, from Lionel Messi’s free-kicks to goals such as Lenglet’s opener against Real Sociedad.
And, perhaps surprisingly, the stats show that Barcelona have been more effective from set-pieces than any other team in La Liga. Valverde’s men have scored a whopping 22 of their 83 La Liga goals from a set-piece.
22 - @FCBarcelona have scored more goals from set-pieces than any other side in @LaLigaEN this season (22 goals). Weaponry. pic.twitter.com/UOU8LGlWWP— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 20, 2019
Ousmane Dembele was the creator for Lenglet, putting a precise corner on to his compatriot’s head for his first La Liga goal:
'Left-footed' Ousmane Dembélé delivering a right-footed corner straight onto Clement Lenglet's head.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 20, 2019
The man has no weak foot.
Lionel Messi almost bagged another from a free-kick too in the first half, but his effort ended up on the roof of the net.
Barcelona two wins away from the title
Saturday’s win over Real Sociedad may not have been particularly pretty, but the team got the job done and are now just two wins away from the title.
Victories against Alaves and Levante will see them crowned champions on Saturday, and they could get the job done even earlier if Atletico Madrid drop points in midweek.
We’re just 6 points away from another @LaLigaEN title! SLEEP TIGHT! pic.twitter.com/R4yaMz6lHJ— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 20, 2019
Ernesto Valverde has good reason for wanting his team not to let up. If they can wrap up La Liga early, they can then turn all their attentions to the Champions League.
Victory in Europe is undoubtedly the team’s top priority this season and being able to rest players for their final few La Liga games should give Barca an advantage.
Liverpool are not able to enjoy the same luxury at present. The Reds are embroiled in an almighty battle with Manchester City for Premier League supremacy, with the title race in England looking set to go to the wire.