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Long live Lenglet and perfect Pique

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Barcelona’s best at centre-back

Barcelona v Levante UD - La Liga Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Personally, I thought we got away with it against Real Sociedad, though there were passages of play that were exquisite too.

Against a team that have been on song in the last few weeks, I guess we shouldn’t really be too disappointed. After all, we got the three points and at this stage of the campaign you could argue that’s all that matters.

Some more incisive football wouldn’t go amiss, but surely no one can condone the booing that we heard on more than one occasion in the second half when the ball was recycled to Marc-Andre ter Stegen a few times.

The team are clearly not going to win every game at home by a hatful, and booing the players certainly isn’t going to help matters.

Maybe it was nervousness from the stands at what they perceived to be La Real getting on top and looking the more likely.

And let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique, they may well have done so on Saturday evening.

The Frenchman is ruled out of the next game after receiving an early yellow card, and yet despite that, he put in a wonderful defensive performance, repelling almost everything that came his way.

Ditto Pique.

Geri looked to be in some considerable pain during the match, and at the time of writing we don’t know if he’s done any damage that would rule him out for a period.

But, once again, in Barcelona’s hour of need, there he was. Standing tall. What a towering performance.

Messi will understandably get the plaudits again for being the match winner - and edging ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo again in the all-time top scorers list for goals in the top five leagues - however, Barca don’t win that game without the consistent interventions of the two centre-backs.

It’s a shame that Lenglet will miss the trip to Mallorca, though it does mean he will be fresh for the visit of Napoli in the Champions League a few days afterwards, should Quique Setien decide to start with him in that one.

In Samuel Umtiti, the coach has an relatively able deputy to come into the fold in a game that won’t be easy, but Barca will need to win if they still wish to have title aspirations in 2019/20.

One side note to consider is just how threadbare the club have left themselves at the back if suspensions or injuries kick in too.

It’s made the loan of Jean-Clair Todibo look like the most short-sighted decision of them all by the board.

In any event, if Pique and Lenglet can stay fit, it’s onwards and upwards from here...