analysis | 2016-01-18
Match Report: FC Barcelona 6:0 Athletic Club - When Neymar is having fun
Barcelona crush a 10-men Athletic Club side guided by a Suárez hattrick and Neymar's brilliance
You are left with very few hopes when you are visiting the Camp Nou and you find yourself behind in the scoreboard 1-0 with an ejected player in the third minute of play. Ernesto Valverde’s plan seemed interesting, pressuring Barcelona up high with Eraso and Iñaki Williams alongside Muniain and De Marcos attacking the culé full backs’ spaces. We will have to wait for the Spanish Cup matches to know if Athletic can manage to compete against Barcelona like they did in the last Spanish Super Cup.
The clash began with a mistake by Piqué which generated a very dangerous chance for Eraso, perhaps the only episode Athletic Club thought they had options to score at the Camp Nou. Because only a few seconds later, Suárez was knocked down by Iraizoz inside the area, causing the Basque goalkeeper’s ejection and the subsequent penalty scored by Messi, who without doing anything outstanding for his standards was unreachable once again for the rest of the players during the first half.
We can only say a handful of new words to describe what is evident about the Argentinian: Messi is an incomparable talent in the history of the game. Unchallenged by most of the rivals and with the world at his feet, the awarded number 10 continues to evolve in his game; this season he’s once again more focused and intelligent than ever before. He was subbed off at halftime after he noticed some muscular discomfort. Arda Turan replaced him on the pitch.
Regarding the Basques, they defended at the halfway line and Williams was isolated up front. Even so, he had time to show he will be an excellent footballer, by attacking the space, acknowledging when to pause the game and always asking for the ball despite Athletic’s struggles in their transitions. Meanwhile, in Barça’s side, the goals arrived almost by inertia with Jordi Alba and Aleix Vidal playing as wingers, Suárez sweeping the whole attacking front and with a wild Neymar. The Uruguayan and the Brazilian looked for and found each other. Neymar scored first, assisted by his South American partner. Afterwards, it was Suárez’s turn, who, despite having a poor technical performance, was able to assist Neymar, score a hattrick and cause a penalty kick. He has 18 goals so far and he’s the current La Liga pichichi.
If football is a mood, then the number 11 is the perennial culé smile. And if plasticity has a name, it is Neymar Junior. The footballer with the most impressive change of rhythm in the world did as he pleased to assist Ivan Rakitic for the fourth goal, who was immediately replaced by Sergi Roberto. Luis Suárez completed his hattrick after being assisted by Busquets and Arda Turan.
And Sergio Busquets. Maybe the only player for Luis Enrique who has the same relevance – or even more – as the trident.
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
Article translated from Spanish to English, originally published at the Perarnau Magazine by Ismael Ledesma.
WRITTEN BY: Ismael Ledesma
Ismael Ledesma coordinates and writes at Martiperarnau.com. He also collaborates with the press department of UD Levante @LevanteUDDM and LevanteUDRadio.
TRANSLATED BY: Jaime Ibarra
Jaime is a chemical engineer from Venezuela who is passionate about football and Barça. He loves the club’s history and he has been an unconditional fan since Ronaldo “The Phenomenon” amazed the world with the Blaugrana colors.