Barcelona picked up a primary victory over Real Madrid since 2019, dismantling the La Liga leaders 4-0 on the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, with targets from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (two), Ronald Araujo and Ferran Torres. Here are three ideas on The traditional:
1. Xavi reworked Barcelona
Xavi's first sport in cost at Barcelona got here precisely 4 months in the past, and in that point they've gone from ninth to 3rd in La Liga, however just measuring that progress in numbers is unassuming. respect the influence it has had.
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He took a damaged group in spirit and turned it into the assured unit we noticed on the Bernabeu on Sunday. It's not a lot that he preaches conventional Barca values of possession, creativity and the collective over the person – many have finished this earlier than – it is that he lives off it, whereas leaving room to make the type of modifications demanded by modernity. Game. Like taking part in a pure defender at proper-again to comprise the fast Vinicius Junior quite than making the emotional option to take out Dani Alves. Or play wingers like Torres and Ousmane Dembele, who interpret the sport – and the place – in radically other ways. Or rebuild the boldness of a centre-ahead like Aubameyang – suspended or unproductive for the reason that summer season at his former membership, Arsenal – and switch him into an extremely efficient attacking menace.
This all got here amid resignations from the membership's CEOs, doubts over the membership's solvency and, most lately, information that monetary restrictions subsequent season are more likely to be as tight as they had been this season, if not. extra. Never thoughts Barca, the person ought to run for public workplace.
2. Ancelotti thinks exterior the field and pays the value
With resident icon Karim Benzema unavailable, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti had two large choices: he may maintain his 4-3-3 setup and produce in one other striker, be it a striker specialised like Mariano Diaz or Luka Jovic or an appropriate striker like Marco. Asensio – or he may rip up his plan and throw a curveball at Barca, conjuring up a complete new sample.
He opted for the latter, ending up with an uncommon diamond form that stored his wingers (Rodrygo and Vinicius) huge and left Luka Modric and at instances Toni Kroos as his de facto entrance males down the center. It was daring and it was unique, and it was a catastrophe.
This made it far too straightforward for Barca to play by means of the entrance line of stress, giving full management of the ultimate third to Xavi's aspect, taking part in instantly into their fingers. With a 9-level lead on the prime of La Liga and a Champions League quarter-closing towards Chelsea in two-and-a-half weeks, you may afford to experiment a bit, however it has backfired badly. And nobody will wish to revisit this strategy.
3. Dembele's resolution nonetheless complicated
Despite all of Barcelona's dominance, it was Dembele who delivered the tip. He scored the opening purpose, with a traditional faux-inside-exterior transfer on Nacho that left him rooted to the spot as he raced in direction of the boundary line and delivered an correct cross for Aubameyang. Ronald Araujo's header for the second got here from one of his laser-guided deliveries from a nook. He even participated in the preparation of the third.
When he is like that, he is virtually unplayable. He is one of the extra two-footed gamers, with pace and high quality galore. Of course, we additionally noticed the draw back, particularly after he began to expire of steam after the break: giving the ball away, not following up successfully and getting yelled at by Xavi earlier than being substituted… however generally, with superstars, you have to reside with the opposite aspect of the coin.
Dembele turns into a free agent on June 30. Negotiations are not any additional superior. Barca have a brand new monetary actuality to take care of, Dembele could really feel he is value extra and if he can ship a primary half each week just like the one we noticed towards Madrid, he is value it. He's 24 and, when Ansu Fati returns from damage, he could possibly be half a devastating ache for wingers over the subsequent decade. On the opposite hand, he is by no means made greater than 22 league begins in a season on account of a string of accidents and also you wish to assume lengthy and exhausting earlier than making him the membership's highest-paid participant. There's an enormous name to be made right here and Barca cannot afford to be incorrect.