It’s only a game
Barcelona beat Cadiz 4-0 on Saturday but the whole game was overshadowed by a medical emergency in the stands that saw the game stopped for some time and the players taken off the pitch.
Barca physio Carlos Nogueira deserves credit for his quick response, handing over a defibrillator to goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma who then raced across the pitch to throw it into the stands to staff treating the fan.
He wasn’t the only one to help though. José Mari was also spotted climbing over the seats as he helped carry a stretcher to help the stricken fan.
⛑️ José Mari, jugador del @Cadiz_CF, ayuda a un personal sanitario a llevar una camilla a la grada para desalojar al aficionado que presenta problemas de salud en la grada del #CádizBarça— Carrusel Deportivo (@carrusel) September 10, 2022
Vía @AdriaAlbets pic.twitter.com/k4x7A420Ay
On the pitch the players were clearly affected. Ronald Araujo was on his knees praying and the whole stadium fell silent as everyone hoped for a positive outcome.
Cadiz president Manuel Vizcaino subsequently confirmed the supporter had been stabilized and taken to hospital and the players eventually got back out onto the pitch.
Ansu Fati added a third and Ousmane Dembele made it 4-0 to ensure Barcelona did hold on to their victory and maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
All of which is great, but not the best news of the day, as we all realized that no matter how much we all love football it really is only a game.
Xavi gets his footballing revenge
Barcelona travelled to Cadiz on a run of four games without a win against Los Piratas and with Xavi admitting at his pre-match presser he was hoping for some “footballing revenge.”
The good news for Xavi’s side was that they were facing a team without a win or even a goal so far in La Liga.
Xavi rotated again for the match, with one eye clearly on next week’s trip to Bayern Munich, as Jules Kounde, Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski all started on the bench.
Yet Cadiz put up a fierce resistance in the first half, sitting extremely deep and defending, and while Barca dominated possession they couldn’t find a breakthrough.
Quite why Barca didn’t get a penalty for a foul on Alejandro Balde remains a mystery too.
Xavi’s side had to wait until the second half when Frenkie de Jong finally broke the deadlock before Robert Lewandowski (who else?) doubled Barca’s lead after coming off the bench.
More goals followed late on after the players were brought back onto the pitch and the visitors ended up running away with it.
It wasn’t the prettiest Barcelona performance but it’s an important win on what’s been a tough ground for the Catalans and in difficult circumstances given the events in the stands.
Lewandowski shows Memphis & Ferran how it’s done
Lewandowski came off the bench and need just seven minutes to score and show exactly what Barcelona had been missing in attack.
Memphis Depay and Ferran Torres were both in from the start against Cadiz but did very little to impress, particularly in front of goal.
The Dutchman had several chances but sent an early shot wide and then fired tamely at the goalkeeper when well placed.
Ferran also failed to kick on from his impressive cameo in midweek and this felt very much like a step backwards for the €55 million man who is not really living up to his lofty price tag.
Lewandowski is having no such problems and finished the game with a goal and two assists despite only playing 33 minutes.
This is the first time Lewandowski recorded two assists in a single match in almost two years — he last achieved that feat on 18 September 2020 in Bayern München's 8:0 win over Schalke.#BarcaCadiz— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) September 10, 2022
Goals seems absolutely inevitable when it comes to the Poland international and he now has nine goals and two assists in his first five matches for Barca.
Next up the small matter of a trip to Munich....
Bellerin makes Barcelona debut
There was also a debut for new signing Hector Bellerin after his move back to Barcelona on a free transfer from Arsenal.
The right-back was in from the start and, perhaps unstandably, looked a little rusty to start with but still made an impact in the victory.
Bellerin was involved in both of Barcelona’s goals and was also part of a backline that kept another clean sheet. Barca have still only conceded twice this season.
The former Arsenal man will surely improve as he adjusts to life at Barcelona but still has competition for the right-back slot.
Sergi Roberto is also an option for Xavi, while the manager has already tried both Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde at full-back in the early weeks of the season.
The Barcelona backline is likely to face it’s toughest test of the season next time out against Bayern, and it will be interesting to see who Xavi goes with at right-back at the Allianz Arena.
Frenkie’s smiling again
Frenkie de Jong was named MVP for Saturday’s match after bagging a goal and playing a key role in Lewandowski’s strike that made it 2-0. It was the Dutchman’s best showing of the season so far and his first Barca goal since February.
The Dutchman has endured a very difficult summer, with intense speculation over his future, despite only ever saying he wanted to stay at Barcelona.
Frenkieeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/lcDZ1MORHO— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 10, 2022
De Jong has also found himself out of the starting XI in the early weeks of the season, with Xavi preferring a midfield three of Sergio Busquets, Gavi, and Pedri. Gavi was stood out again on Saturday too and played a big role in the first goal.
Yet Saturday saw Frenkie back in the team and playing with a point to prove. The Dutchman’s contribution was key as he kept on arriving in the area and causing problems.
His celebration after opening the scoring spoke volumes. There was a combination of sheer delight, relief, and most importantly of all - sheer joy at scoring for Barcelona.
Saturday’s showing will be a big plus for Frenkie as he pushes for a starting spot at Barcelona amid intense competition for places.