|Andre Gomes in action for Barça vs Celtic|
Barça put up a wonderful performance at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night as they dismantled Scottish Champions 7-0 in their Champions League group C game to put smiles back into the faces of Barcelona fans who were disappointed with the team’s performance in the 2-1 home loss to Alaves in La Liga on Saturday.
The game saw the return of the Messi-Suarez-Neymar Trident to the starting lineup and they were too strong for Celtic, registering 6 goals and 6 assists between them. Iniesta got the other goal and Barça went on to cruise to a perfect start in the 2016/2017 Champions League captain. Here are five lessons from the win.
5 THINGS WE LEARNED – BARÇA 7-0 CELTIC
1. NEYMAR IS BACK! OR MIGHT BE
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick and provided one assist, but it was Neymar who was the best performer of the night. The Brazilian put up a show, getting 4 assists and scoring from a direct free kick. Apart from the numbers Neymar also played marvellously overall. He seemed very comfortable and agile in both the wing and the number 10 role, relieving Messi with so much burden.
It was Neymar’s best performance in 2016 so far and it showed us something we’ve been missing for a while now. He has not been so good in 2016, but this performance might just open the floodgates and we’ll get our Neymar back.
2. ANDRE GOMES ALREADY SHOWING CLASS
Luis Enrique preferred to start new signing Andre Gomes ahead of Denis Suarez and the not-100% Iniesta and it turned out to be a good decision. Although he wasn’t involve in so many attacking actions, he controlled the midfield in exquisite fashion and played with great composure, understanding and linking up well with Messi and Sergio Busquets.
Andre Gomes was Barça’s highest passer of the night, attempting 100 passes whilst completing 96 of those. He is still adapting to the system but the performance against Celtic is a huge sign of positivity.
3. THE ALAVES RESULT SHOULDN’T BOTHER US
So many Barça fans went into panic after Barça’s 2-1 loss to Alaves. It was understandable as Barcelona didn’t even play well, limited chances were created and everyone was just horrible. However, with the beautiful display against Celtic it is now clear that the loss against Alaves was just an accident and doesn’t really change the fact that Barça are a great team with a great coach and the best players in the world. This performance will serve as a huge confidence boost and another rout might just be on it’s way on Saturday when Barça take on Leganes.
4. PIQUE AND UMTITI SHOULD BE BARÇA‘S CENTRAL DEFENCE PARTNERSHIP
Barça could have had a better result against Alaves had it not been from some terrible defensive plays and decisions by Mascherano and Mathieu. Both goals Barça conceded in the game was as a result of poor defence but we saw during the game against Celtic how the Pique-Umtiti partnership went well, a defensive partnership without stress.
The fact is that Pique is the main man in the defence and Mascherano would play well with him as his partner, but Umtiti is like another Pique and him partnering with the Spaniard will seem like we have two Piques in defence which would take us a long way.
5. DIGNE’S ARRIVAL HAS IMPROVED JORDI ALBA
Although not a perfect game, Jordi Alba put up a very good performance compared to how he played last season and one could say it is down to the arrival of Lucas Digne who provides him huge competition.
Alba was good defensively and didn’t do bad in attack, he looked to be a bit more flexible in his decision making and he’s shown that in the few games he played in so far this season. We can only hope it continues this way.