Barca getting knocked out of the Copa Del rey on away goals by Sevilla was a good thing. Credit to Sevilla, they are a quality team and they deserevd to win the tie. Nonetheless, Barca's urgency and quickness in attack during the second half was very reminiscent of the Barcelona of last season that defined beautiful football. Everyone had a good game, especially Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Abidal. I cant say same for Henry and Ibra though.
After losing a tournament, the belief of invinciblity has diminished and the hunger for brilliance has taken over again. Surely enough, they proved it by smashing Sevilla 4-0 in league competition yesterday. All the while dominating possession by 3/4ths and only allowing 2 shots on goal for Sevilla. Only Navas was giving the defence some problems with his blazing runs down the wing but he couldnt do much by himself.
The game started with Barcelona playing high tempo football. Penetrative, one touch movement of the ball starting from the back and more occasions of getting close to the opponent's box.
However, I have to agree with Scotty that Barcelona is missing Eto'o. Dont get me wrong. Ibrahimovich is an excellent player and unlike Eto'o he never loses possession (except when he tries fancy things, which is irritating). He is quick and strong but seems a bit nonchalant in his actions. Not like the bloodthirsty hound set loose that was Eto'o.
Ibra could have scored an easy tap-in from five yards out after a brilliant release from Iniesta down the wing and an excellent cut-back from Henry. Instead he just scuffed it wide. Few minutes later, Xavi launched a perfect cross to him but he didnt connect properly.
Dani Alves was a bit shaky in the first half too. His crosses were very off-target. After Iniesta's brilliant run from the half, skipping past few defenders, he layed a perfect throughball to Alves. It was a shame to see Alves waste it with an inaccurate shot.
Henry could have done better to score too. So many times I waited for his famous far post curler but after being released alone against the goalie by Xavi first and Ibrahimovich second but he just ended up shooting straight at the goalie.
Xavi had a good game in the first and a much better one when Puyol was subbed out in the second half and he was given the captain's band. He had a hand in starting the first three goals
After a failed free-kick, he received the ball near the left touchline and lauched a perfect curler to Ibrahimovich, who chested the ball to Messi. Messi spread it wide to the right for Marquez, who juked a player and crossed the ball in the box. Pique laid a touch on the cross, which was deflected into goal by Escude.
Near the 70th minute Henry was subbed out for Pedro. Right off the bat, he had a shot saved by Palop. Few moments later, Alves fed the ball Xavi who let go of the most exquisite defence splitting pass to Pedro, who broke through the back four line and chipped over the goalie. His ability to score so much astounds me, considering this his second season on the senior team.
Again Xavi, who received the ball on the left, switched it to the right with a diagonal loft for, which met Alves on his glide. Alves launched a cross, making sure he found his target and found Messi. Messi then scored the third goal.
Then Abidal who was outstanding in defence and ball movement up the field, stole the ball in the dying minutes and passed it to Messi, who dribbled into the box and scored the second.
Messi, fresh of his hat-trick last week, is in devastating form. He was dribbling circles around defenders, taking shots on goal and winning free-kicks. In the 35th minute, Valiente caught hold of Messi who was about to break through to the back four. The ref had called the foul at the halfway line but Messi still dragged him from the halway line to the midway point between the half and goal, while dribbling. It was hilarious to see the agitated midget look on his face as he tried to squirm away. ahaha
He scored two goals yesterday, passing the century mark for the club and He has become the youngest player to acheive the feat of scoring 100 for Barcelona. Not only that he is also on top of the goal-scorer charts.
I hope to God he is not injured. Madrid has already seen the result of losing a finisher on form. Plenty of chances but none taken.