Barcelona kickstarted their La Liga defence in style as they beat Alaves by a 3-0 scoreline on Saturday. The Blaugrana were dominant with the proceedings from the off with nearly four-fifths of the possession and they eventually secured a comfortable victory with Lionel Messi bagging a brace.
Three things we learned:
Lionel Messi makes a stellar start: After a difficult World Cup with Argentina, new Barcelona captain Lionel Messi returned to his best with the Blaugrana with a standout performance. Messi netted the first and third goals for the reigning champions in the season opener and the former was the club’s 6000th goal in the Spanish La Liga. Aside from his brace, the Argentine hit the woodwork on two occasions and manager Ernesto Valverde described him as a genius following the game.
Philippe Coutinho must start regularly: Coutinho was surprisingly left on the bench for the curtain raiser but manager Ernesto Valverde later clarified that the decision was largely because of his World Cup involvement. Nonetheless, the midfield looked stodgy in his absence in the first half with Sergi Roberto offering very little. Following the break, the hosts looked much better in the attacking sense and Coutinho netted the second goal which pretty much sealed the game.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a cool performance: Aside from his wonderful reflexes, the German offers more in terms of his mobility which was on display against Alaves. Though the visitors had no shots on target, there was one moment where Jony was racing into a through-ball. Ter Stegen made sure to restrict the damage as he sprinted towards the ball first and casually dunk it over his head before distributing wide to Sergi Roberto. Surely Ter Stegen should become Germany’s number one for the future.
Image – Getty