Following their last two drawn games against Real Sociedad and AC Milan, Barça were again back to their imperious selves against Osasuna at the Camp Nou tonight. A fantastic first half which saw them playing at great pace, holding onto the ball and seemingly creating chances at will as they scored five goals to set up the win. They didn't let up after the break either, scoring three more and leaving the scoreline to say it all : 8-0.
Surprises in the line up
Guardiola surprised Osasuna with a 3-4-3 formation, using Mascherano, Puyol (making a welcome return to the starting 11) and Abidal at the back behind a midfield diamond of Busquets, Xavi, Thiago and Cesc, with Villa, Messi and Alves (playing as a right winger) as the front three and it couldn't have started better, as after just 4 minutes, Busquets found Alves out on the right with an inch perfect pass and the Brazilian crossed for Messi at the far post to open the scoring.
Barça just looked unstoppable and within the first quarter of an hour Cesc had doubled their lead with a lovely left footed volley after being put in by Messi.
5-0 at half time
Seemingly having learnt the lesson from recent games, the Barça players were playing a fast paced possession football with their opponents' goal always their target and they enjoyed an astonishing 80% of possession in the first half. Cesc nearly made it three on 25 minutes, only for the Basque team's keeper Fernandez to this time get the better of him and soon after Messi headed against the woodwork. There was little the keeper could do as Villa rounded him just past the half hour to get his first of the night though and the team showed their hunger for goals was still there with two in two minutes, as Roversio put through his own net after Villa's shot had been blocked and then Cesc brilliantly set up Messi for a relatively simple tap in.
And three more!
It was clear from the start of the second half that more was to come and Messi hit the bar with a lovely chip, something Xavi managed to better with a lob over the keeper soon after to make it six. Guardiola now brought of Xavi, Puyol and Abidal, which momentarily at least seemed to give Osasuna a glimpse of at least getting close to Valdes.
However, Barça were soon back to scoring, with Cesc setting up Villa for his second on 75 minutes and soon after Messi claiming his hat trick with a trade mark individual effort to round off a pitiless display of attacking prowess that was just unstoppable, as the champions, led by the world's best player, made it 13 goals in the team's two Camp Nou league games so far this campaign.