Barca needed a win to keep their strong lock on La Liga. We’re starting to wind down this turbulent, yet exciting season of football. Coming to town was Betis, a club fighting Villarreal for Europa League football. This wasn’t going to be an easy match, so how did Barcelona fare against Betis?
Well, let’s find out.
Barca started out with immense control over the match.
Crisp passes, good movements off the ball. Good link up play between the midfield and forward line. It all seemed to be going well for Barca early on.
All that was needed was the goal to cement the early efforts.
Barca ended up getting that goal, but from an unlikely source. One that finally opened his account as a Barca player and was rewarded for his stellar performances to begin his first year as a Barca player.
Christensen’s first goal for Barca
Andreas Christensen has been a rock for Barca at the back.
He’s locked down a starting spot alongside Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, and Alejandro Balde, and has done everything right with the opportunity he’s been given. What’s been so treasured with Christensen is his ability to stay composed on the ball, which is a must for quality Barca centerbacks.
That ability has allowed him combine well with the midfield in build up play, which in part has allowed Xavi’s system to flow whenever the right players are on the field.
But what’s been missing throughout Christensen’s elite year, has been a goal to solidify his welcome in Barça. Against Betis tonight, he finally got that goal for Barcelona, putting home a nice header off a luscious cross from Raphinha, to make the match 1-0.
It was a pretty emotional moment for Christensen, who was seen wiping tears away from his eyes after the goal. Goes to show just how much his time in Barcelona has meant to him, as well how grateful he is for his return after missing some time due to injury.
But the first half fun didn’t stop there, as Barca wanted to pour it on Betis to secure the win for good.
And that they did, with their talisman up front putting home a goal in his second straight match.
Lewandowski’s second straight match with a goal
Lewandowski got on the score sheet after a pretty nice moment of link up play between him and Kounde.
After Betis received a red card and were down to 10 men, Barcelona found it easier to navigate through Betis’ defense. The second goal for Barca was evident of that, with Gavi and Kounde combining to open up another scoring chance in Betis’ penalty area.
Kounde received a pass from Gavi, a pass that opened up Kounde on the right flank, an area where he had been making some good looking runs all match long.
Kounde then picked out Lewandowski, as the Polish star was streaking across the face of goal. Lewandowski then put home the pass and doubled Barca’s lead.
This goal was pretty important in the moment for Lewandowski, as he scored a goal in two straight matches in what seems like forever.
It’ll be encouraging if Lewandowski can keep up his form, as it’d remain a pretty valuable streak of positivity to end the year after a rough stretch after the World Cup.
But as we saw, the excitement just couldn’t end here, not with other players stepping up and putting up decent shifts on the pitch.
Raphinha gets his deserved goal
To cap off the first half action, it was Raphinha who got a much deserved goal.
He simply made a darting run from left to right and into a more left central area of Betis’ penalty area, before receiving a gorgeous pass from Sergio Busquets.
Raphinha then took a touch to round the keeper, before lifting a beautiful chip into the back of the net.
The goal was looked at for a few minutes, simply because Raphinha was very close to being called offsides. But after some time, the goal was given and the celebrations could finally begin.
The goal gave Raphinha 10 goals on the season, to go along with 11 assists. Despite the undeserved criticism, Raphinha has put up some very decent numbers in his debut season for Barca.
You surely can’t find a way to disrespect that, right?
After Raphinha’s goal, the first half action died down and came to an end. But not before Barcelona had put 3 past Betis on a rainy night in Catalonia.
As the second half began, some thoughts began to linger about a potential debut from a certain La Masia wonderkid. Would it happen? The lead was big enough for it to go down, all that was left to do was get to the later portions of the second half without any sort of collapse, then those thoughts would likely become reality.
As we saw, the debut went down, and fans are still buzzing.
The second half was more about control than anything, with Barcelona already holding a 3-0 lead vs Betis. And no signs of giving it up whatsoever.
Welcome Lamine Yamal
As we approached the 80th minute or so, the blowout became a must watch experience though, as Lamine Yamal made his debut for Barca’s senior team, the youngest ever player to do so.
The Camp Nou was raucous with excitement, as the Moroccan/Spanish winger made his way onto the legendary Camp Nou pitch, and potentially opened up a new chapter as a cornerstone for Barca’s future.
His debut was exciting nonetheless, as Yamal almost scored a goal and gave two breathtaking passes that unlocked Betis’ defense.
Surely he’ll get more chances to impress, but it was still a great debut for the most hyped product from La Masia in years.
Barca added another goal before Yamal’s debut, as a Betis own goal gave Barca their fourth of the night. But I’m sure fans will rather remember Yamal’s debut over a lousy own goal, and they’re totally right to do so.
This was the best Barca had looked in months.
Plenty positives in the attack, along with some return cameos from players that have missed time due to injury. Christensen was one, along with Ousmane Dembele, who finally returned to the pitch after missing 3 months due to injury.
You can only hope Dembele will stay healthy, as Barca becomes a totally different team whenever he’s on the pitch. It opens up Lewandowski, as well as the rest of the forward line, to make additional positivity happen.
But that’s all I can dissect from this match, so we’ll catch you next time.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match will be on Tuesday against Osasuna. This match will be played at the Camp Nou.
See you all then!
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