analysis | 2016-01-10
Match Report: FC Barcelona 4:0 Granada - Messi as the antidote against the noise
Barcelona overwhelm a shaky Granada side led by Messi's hattrick and a starting lineup with rotations
After several days when everything has been discussed but football, where the context has been and continues to be above the game and the noise becomes a spiral of unfortunate remarks which do more harm than good to the sport, Barcelona and Granada faced in the Camp Nou with many nuances to be analyzed.
Luis Enrique used some of his less usual players from the kickoff. It was Aleix Vidal’s first starting lineup, Vermaelen was placed alongside Piqué, Arda Turan was the left midfielder and Sergi Roberto played as the central midfielder. The latter is especially relevant, because of the much-needed rest provided to Sergio Busquets and for the level shown by the Reus-born player, without a doubt, one of Luis Enrique’s best contributions to the culés. Roberto has a lot of confidence – today with an advantageous context – and he’s playing better and better in midfield each time, he provides safety playing from the back, he maintains proper ball conduction and it’s strange to watch him miss a pass – he made his first mistake in the 38th minute. Sergi Roberto has played in up to six different positions this season. Pure polyvalence.
On Granada’s side, their approach was somewhat inconsistent against this Barcelona version. Their defensive block was too high, with a line of five men and three footballers before them, which enabled Barcelona to rule the midfield and control the match to perfection. In the attack, Success and Peñaranda are two self-sufficient strikers, but they had a hard time yesterday creating any scoring chance. Granada’s defensive line was utterly decompensated, with an Uche not used to this kind of task. Barça realized this and the attacks to his space were unrelenting.
And besides, there’s Messi. Two goals in the first half after a play which was started by Messi himself, Suárez continued it without touching the ball and Arda assisted the goal with a level pass; and later the second goal arrived after another excellent combination from the culé trident, who, despite the new year keeps the same energy. The worst news for the Blaugranas was to reach the halftime winning only by two goals. The dominance and the chances were overwhelming.
Perhaps because neither Granada believed they could overcome the scoreboard nor Barcelona felt they could lose the match, the second half was played in slow motion. Sandoval’s ranks retreated several steps in order to defend the space behind them and they gathered players in the central lane, which allowed them to be more comfortable when returning from the attack. Barcelona’s ball circulation and their players’ movement without it were much slower. Almost effortless but knowing the goals were around the corner, Messi (another hat-trick and 295 La Liga goals) and then Neymar rounded up the landslide.
Granada play in another league, and with Success’ and Peñaranda’s leadership, they are capable of fighting to keep their spot in the Spanish top flight. On Barcelona’s side, they continue with their good dynamic, despite the recent matches that led to a draw. Yesterday it was all smiles, something essential to endure the tough schedule of the upcoming weeks. Alba’s current top form, Vermaelen’s focus, Sergi Roberto’s polyvalence and the easiness Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are showing to adapt in Barcelona’s game, are some of the good news this match left for the Blaugranas.
And Messi. Messi as the antidote against the noise. He doesn’t need the individual awards, even though he wins them. To watch him play is the best one of them.
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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.