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Five talking points from Barcelona 2-0 Cadiz

Xavi’s side now eight points clear

FC Barcelona v Cadiz CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Xavi rotates ahead of crunch Man Utd clash

Barcelona manager Xavi promised rotations ahead of the game and was as good as his word as he freshened up his team against Cadiz.

There were six changes from the side that drew with Manchester United and chances to impress for Eric Garcia, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati in the starting line-up.

Ferran took his chance, Eric looked typically good in possession without completely convincing and it was another tough night for Ansu Fati.

Barcelona’s 2-0 lead also allowed Xavi to give players such as Robert Lewandowski and Frenkie de Jong a breather late on ahead of Thursday’s big game.

All in all it was a good night for Barcelona, even though they did give up chances in the second half, and they head to Old Trafford in good shape.

Ferran finally takes a step forward

Ferran Torres has become something of a forgotten man at Barcelona this season but offered a reminder of his qualities against Cadiz.

The Spain international was in from the start and looked fired up as soon as the game kicked off. He was Barca’s best attacker in the opening 45 minutes and set up the goal with a brilliant bit of play.

Ferran beat Arzamendia, Alcaraz and Fali with some nifty footwork before teeing up Lewandowski. The striker’s header was cleared off the line but fell to Sergi Roberto to finish. Yet make no mistake the opening goal was all about Ferran.

This performance has been a long time coming from Ferran and you could hear the relief in his words when he spoke out after the game.

“I work to show my football, it’s true I’ve not had many minutes and not much importance in the team,” he said. “Every time the coach gives me his confidence, I go out to show him what I’ve got.”

Ferran will be hoping to start again on Thursday night at Old Trafford when he returns to Manchester. Xavi is a little short of options for the game which means Ferran may just have played his way into the team.

Captain Roberto leads by example

Sergio Roberto was in the team in midfield, due to Pedri’s injury, and took over the armband in the absence of Sergio Busquets.

The 31-year-old led by example too, scoring the first goal with a confident finish and then setting up Lewandowski for Barcelona’s second.

Xavi was quick to praise Roberto after the win and criticise his detractors for their “unjust criticism” of the versatile veteran. The manager also made it clear he wants Roberto to stay amid speculation he’s about to sign a new one-year deal.

It was a good outing for Roberto who will be needed in midweek against Manchester United with both Pedri and Gavi out of second leg at Old Trafford. Roberto may have his critics but he does know a thing or two about priceless European goals.

Lewandowski back in the goals in La Liga

Robert Lewandowski headed into the game with just one goal in his last six league appearances and it looked like being another one of those nights when he saw a header cleared off the line before Roberto scored.

However, Lewandowski ended his mini-dought with a low shot that made it 2-0 just before half-time. Rather remarkably, it’s his first league goal at the Camp Nou since October.

Lewandowski now has 15 goals in just 19 appearances in La Liga and Xavi will hope his latest effort can get him up and running again after a little barren spell. Inded the striker could have had another goal later on but was denied by the crossbar.

Lewandowski’s latest effort means he remains the favorite to lift the Pichichi at the end of the season and is four goals ahead of nearest challengers Karim Benzema and Joselu.

Still no Pablo Torre as Angel Alarcon debuts

Pablo Torre would have fancied his chances of getting some more first-team minutes against Cadiz but it simply wasn’t to be. The 18-year-old warmed up eagerly on the touchline and did look set to arrive but instead Xavi went for Angel Alarcon instead.

Alarcon made his debut as a late substitute and you could only guess at what was going through Torre’s mind as he went back to the bench to watch the game play out. If he doesn’t play when Barca are 2-0 up and Pedri and Sergio Busquets are out - what chance does he have?

Xavi said after the game that Torre had deserved to play which only makes his decision not to bring the youngster on even more curious. If he’s not going to play at all then surely he would be better off going down to Barca Atletic?

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