Rafinha turns out to be Barcelona’s unlikely hero
Ernesto Valverde sprang a bit of a surprise with his starting lineup, bringing in Rafinha as the replacement for the injured Lionel Messi. Most had expected Ousmane Dembele to come in, but instead Valverde gave the Brazilian just his second start of the season.
It looked a poor decision in the opening stages, as Rafinha struggled to make any impact and did not look a threat at all. A tame shot into the hands of Samir Handanovic summed up his early contribution.
However, that all changed on 32 minutes when Rafinha broke the deadlock. Luis Suarez deserves huge credit for a delicious ball into the box, which Rafinha touched home with an equally fine finish.
It’s his first goal for Barcelona since February 2017, his first in the Champions League and came against the club he has openly admitted he expected to sign for over the summer.
Inter had the option to sign Rafinha after taking him on loan – a decision they may be regretting right now.
Arthur is just perfect for Barcelona
Arthur has taken very little time to adjust to life in Barcelona. It’s not even November and the Brazilian has pretty much already established himself as part of the Gala XI.
The midfielder is still only 22, is in his first season at Barcelona, was making just his second Champions League start and looked completely at home at the Camp Nou.
His turns brought back memories of Xavi and a neat little flick sent Barca away on an attack that should have ended with a goal but instead saw Philippe Coutinho smashing an effort against the woodwork.
He departed on 77 minutes to a standing ovation from the 86,290 fans in the Camp Nou crowd after an incredibly accomplished performance.
He’s only been at Barcelona for four months but he looks like he’s been there forever.
Barcelona can cope without Messi
Barcelona were without their star man against Inter, but they showed they can cope without their captain with their victory.
The hosts may have lacked the magic the Argentine brings every time he takes to the field, but they dominated the game against an in-form Inter Milan team.
There’s no doubt Messi was missed, of course he was, but Luis Suarez put in another strong display, Rafinha got a goal, Arthur shone and the defence even managed to keep a clean sheet.