We wanted 100mph football, and this is exactly what we’re seeing under Quique Setien.
What a crazy game at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday night, but one which is manna from heaven when compared to the stale, tired Valverde days.
There’s still an awful lot to work on, defence being the main issue, but there’s no denying that Barca’s football has become exciting to watch again.
Even at 3-2 up, the possibility of Betis coming back into the game had the heart pounding. But that’s what we live for.
Hardly a classic in the literal sense, it was a game that had everything.
Poor VAR decisions - (how long is it going to be before we get the rub of that particular green in the same way as Real Madrid) - red cards, goals galore, histrionics, a ferocious atmosphere.
It was crazy but beautiful all at the same time.
And who was there to write the narrative yet again?! Messi might not have scored, though he came mightily close, but three assists in one game... come on man!
⚽ De Jong— Goal (@goal) February 9, 2020
A hat-trick of assists for Lionel Messi. pic.twitter.com/ud32l4TRo4
For any other player to achieve such a feat it would be seen as utterly sensational, but when he does it, there’s still a tendency to say ‘typical Messi.’ That expectation isn’t going to change now though.
The way in which he delayed that pass to Frenkie de Jong for the first goal was worth the gate money alone. That ball had to be exactly on the money, and his deft brush stroke allowed the Dutchman to control the ball on his chest and smash home.
Messi’s free-kicks... well, we all know about those don’t we. The best direct or indirect free-kick taker in the world today. A ball whisperer extraordinaire.
You know the difference between this match and every other one under Valverde this season? After conceding the second goal I would lose all hope, but with Setien the team was supported until the end, confident the right ideas were in place.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) February 9, 2020
Busi and Lenglet getting on the scoresheet in the same game won’t happen too often, and you can bet Setien enjoyed those collectors items.
In fact, the coach is certainly having a marked effect on the way in which the team are playing at the moment, but if one had to be overly critical, the team does look woeful at the back at times.
That said, Barca and their supporters knew exactly what they were getting with Setien, and nothing we’ve seen in the month or so he’s been at the club has changed minds.
It’s a veritable rollercoaster ride, with bumps in the road expected, but that are more than compensated by the sort of highs we’ve not seen from this team in a fair while.