Comfortable win for Messi and co
FC Barcelona won the Catalan derby on the weekend very comfortably. Espanyol, who were briefly top of the table last month, have dipped in form recently and have lost their last four matches in La Liga. They were never a real threat to Barcelona and had a goal ruled out by VAR late on.
Barca on the other hand were very solid and dominant. Messi looked especially motivated and scored two phenomenal free kicks during the game, the first time he has scored two free kicks in the league. Messi has also become the first player to get into double figures in La Liga. It seems like there are no more records that he can break but he just keeps breaking them.
Another incredible stat that Messi holds, is that he has scored more free kicks in the last four years than any other European club with 19. The closet club to Messi is Juventus who have 18 free kicks scored by six different players. He is just out of this world and there are not enough superlatives to describe his talent. Yet, he finished 5th in the Ballon d’Or rankings this year, the first time he finished outside the top three since 2007. Many people, including the Barcelona manager, Valverde, have said that the Ballon d’Or has lost some of its credibility and that it is absurd that Messi was voted 5th.
Dembele also produced a good performance with a brilliant goal and an assist for Suarez’s goal. He has been performing well recently on the pitch, getting himself some goals and assists and keeping Coutinho out of the team. However, his disciplinary problems are seeming to be causing an issue. The day after the win against Espanyol, he was two hours late for training, and had to finish training alone because all of his teammates already were done. This is a recurring issue for the French star, and he needs to sort it out if he wants to have a long future at the club.
Barcelona next host Tottenham in the Champions League, which is not an important game for them as they already secured top spot. Their next two games in La Liga are away at Levante, and then Home to Celta Vigo before the Winter break. If they win both games, they will be in a healthy position to start the second half of the season.