The Champions were back to their rampant best against Quique Sanchez Flores’s Espanyol side as they smashed 4 goals past them to end the calendar year on a high
The Blaugrana ended their long wait for a win at the Nou Camp in the best possible manner. It was a good end to the year, and the victory sees them reduce the gap between them and Real Madrid to only 3 points for now.
Goal from Suarez, Alba and Messi were enough to help them sweep aside an Espanyol side, whom for all of their great form before this match, never really stood a chance on the night.
It was the best possible way to justify a recently signed contract extension. The Uruguayan signed a bumper new contract which would see him extend his stay until 2021.
His 2 goals on the night were his 11th and 12th in the La Liga this season and for a brief period of time, he was ahead of teammate Lionel Messi on the goal scoring charts and he duly repaid the Argentine with a stunning chipped assist in the 90th minute.
He was at his clinical best and a goal in each half was enough to seal the game for his side as Barcelona ran rampant at the Nou Camp. In 21 appearances this season, he has found the net 15 times and registered 8 goals in all competitions and he will hope to carry this form in to the New Year after a much needed break.
The Other Suarez
The Spaniard has been getting a good run of games this season under Luis Enrique, mainly due to the injuries to Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. He has had to compete with Andre Gomes, Rafinha and Arda Turan among the substitutes for a starting position, making it all the more difficult.
He was handed a surprising start against Espanyol ahead of first team regular Ivan Rakitic and Andre Gomes, who has been disappointing in recent weeks.
He got a good 66 minutes under his belt before being substituted for Rafinha. It was a typically assured performance in the middle of the park, not that the Espanyol players made it too difficult and it would have surely helped make his case for a more prominent role in the first team, going forward.
The Argentine lost out on to this year’s Ballon Dór award to arch rival Cristiano Ronaldo, but he’s started the race for next year’s award in stellar fashion.
He put in a stunning performance on the night, which included 2 assists and a goal. He dribbled past 4 Espanyol players before taking a shot at Lopez, who deflected it into the path of a lurking Suarez. He went past 4 players once again to set up Jordi Alba, which was Barcelona’s third of the night.
He has now scored 23 goals and registered 8 assists in 20 appearances across all competitions this season. He has saved them on numerous occasions this term and has been their most important player this season and has brilliantly shouldered the added responsibility during the absence of key first team members.
The home fans cheered his name through the night and deservedly so. Now that Messi is back to his brilliant best, which means Barcelona’s hopes of defending their title are far from over.
Barcelona Are Back
Luis Enrique’s men haven’t had the best of seasons so far. They have been ravaged by injuries and up until recently, have always had one or the other first team player missing.
However, with the return of Andres Iniesta and now Neymar to the starting XI, Bareclona are once again at full strength and it shows. After going for nearly a month and a half without a win at the Nou Camp in a League game, Barcelona managed to swat aside an inform Espanyol with ease.
So far this season they have drawn 4 and lost 2 matches this season. Unprecedented numbers, given that only one half of the season is over and that there are still 5 months to go.
But they have got a good run of results in the past few weeks, scoring 11 goals and conceding only 1 in their last 3 games in all competitions, much like the Barcelona we are all used to.
Now it’s up to Luis Enrique and his men to carry this good form onto the New Year as they look to regain the Champions League title from Real Madrid, whilst also defending their La Liga crown against the same.
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