As Barcelona demolished Deportivo Alaves in their final La Liga match of the season with a 5-0 win at the Estadio Mendizorroza, our top editors share their thoughts from yesterdays’ match with an editorial review.
The Upshot of Captain’s words
After Barca was thrashed home by Osasuna, Messi spoke. He spoke about how this team lacked passion and how things have gone completely wrong with the things happening in and around the club. This game against Alaves was kind of an order from The Captain to the team, the coach to do better. And, he wasn’t wrong when he said, such games will make it difficult to secure victory against Napoli.
Setién needed to show his ability and the team too. We can say, they played to convince Leo, to share the message that they are worthy of a team to fight for. We could see Messi smiling. Messi, Fati, Puig even Roberto were outstanding. Vidal did an excellent job even when he worked at CB position, which explains his versatility. Araujo showed his brilliant quality, especially with those trackback runs which we haven’t seen our CB doing much more like this. Overall, the whole team showed their quality, and like Messi said, “when we are at our best, no one can defeat us” They showed what they could do.
Sweta’s Player of the Match: For me, Messi is the man of the match. He scored twice brilliantly and gave one assist. But other than that, he was much more involved in the game, four key passes, brilliant link up with Alba, Fati, Puig, Roberto. He was almost involved in every attack generated. Everyone was great but Messi, the best.
A Resounding win to end on a High note
Unlike the previous game, the last matchday was stress-free for Barcelona and that displayed in their approach to the tie. Alavés had lost 6 of their last 8 games coming into this, making it the sort of confidence booster that the Catalan club badly craved before gunning into the all-important Napoli tie.
The away side responded with persistent attacks throughout the first half not only dominating possession in the important zones but also making vital movement in the final third. They also seemed determined on winning the ball back with intense counter-pressing and quick attacking transition. The second half revealed the lack of depth in the squad that challenged Arturo Vidal into a deeper CB role although the former champions sealed a comfortable victory.
Adithya’s Player of the Match– Riqui Puig deserved the ‘man’ of the match award for his impressive display. Despite his impressive stats in the game (2 assists, 4 key passes), it doesn’t explain the impact that he has had in an otherwise sluggish midfield (this season). Just like his compatriots from the youth team (Araujo and Ansu), he has been one of the few bright spots of this season.
Impeccable win before UCL
Barca signed off with a brilliant performance as the League came to a finish. And whats better to finish it with a bang by scoring five goals and giving the best performance of the season. In a season, with few positives, this win can be a building block for the next one.
Talking of positives, Puig delivered a world-class performance providing 2 assists and bossing the midfield. Messi scored 2 goals along with Fati, Suarez, and Semedo bagging a solitary goal for themselves.
The only negative thing from the match was Lenglet suffering an injury, but Setien mentioned his substitution was just a precautionary measure, and his injury doesn’t look bad.
De Jong should have started keeping in mind the Napoli match where Busquets will not be available. The match was a performance Barca needed as we have a big clash in the UCL. The post-match comments from Messi and Setien are a hope that things are finally falling into place for Setien. Consistency and right investments and we can be in a for a positive next season.
Abuzar’s Player of the Match– Riqui Puig: With 2 assists and a dominating performance in the midfield, Barca has the perfect midfielder for there future.
📊 [SofaScore] | Riqui Puig created 3 big chances against Alavés – it was the first time a Barcelona player not named Messi created that many in a single match since April 29 2018, when Luis Suárez created 5 against Deportivo La Coruña.
Fantastic performance by Masian! 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/pl2eHnINdB
— La Masia Times™ (@LaMasiaTimes) July 19, 2020
A resurgence from mediocrity
Not only the loss but the football from Barcelona against Osasuna gave the perfect Ernesto Valverde vibes. After Captain Messi’s clear indication of reviving the mentality, the team looked much more confident and fresh against Alaves. The 3-4-3 brought the best out of every Barca player. Right from the movements of Puig to give Suarez spaces in between the lines to dominating the final third, the team executed everything with perfection. Ansu getting the freedom on the left was vital since his dribbling and 1v1 were key to generate defensive destabilization among Alaves.
The width from the far-right provided by Roberto was crucial. The balance which Busquets brought to the side is low key underrated. Vidal’s versatility has to be applauded as he fits into any role in the team. Overall, this match will provide a great injection of confidence among the players for the Napoli clash.
Sahil’s Player of the Match: In a parallel universe, Sahil would have chosen Neto, but in all honesty, Puig is the deserved MOTM. He showcased his raw talent, space interpretation, high IQ, passing range in such monstrous performance.
A shot in the arm for Barça
Though Barca surrendered their La Liga crown to Real Madrid this season, they managed to end things in a positive note with a 5-0 win against Alaves. They found their much-needed rhythm before UCL with Messi scoring a double, and Ansu Fati, Luis Suarez, and Nelson Semedo scoring one each. Alaves had an abysmal outing, and they let Barcelona pound all over them.
Messi was impressed by his teammates’ performance this match and said during post-match that this commitment should be the iota as they look forward to reclaiming their title next season. This positive display might push Setien’s tenure for a little more, but Barcelona’s UCL progress will determine his fate.
Though forming a conclusion from an end-of-season thrashing is silly, but still, this performance will give a much-needed boost to the team as they resume their UCL outing, with the second leg of the last-16 tie against Napoli which will take place on August 8 at the Camp Nou.
Arun’s Player of the match– Indisputably, Messi: He scored a double and assisted one for Ansu’s first goal. He could have scored a hat-trick had that 15th-minute woodwork turned to a goal—yet another majestic performance from the Argentine.
📊[Sofascore] | #AlavesBarça |
Messi's Full Time stats:
Mins played: 94 mins.
Passing Acc: 46(85.2℅)
Key Passes: 4
Ground duels won: 7(15)
Long balls: 4(4)
How would you rate it?
Heat Map 👇 pic.twitter.com/6UoOKnl13m
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) July 19, 2020