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Barça got the job done in style against Sevilla this Sunday, and the 3-0 win, coupled with Real Madrid’s loss in Mallorca, means they are now a might eight points clear the top of the league table.
Despite dominating, they were unable to find a breakthrough in the first half, but three fine goals in the second mean that they have now gone for an incredible 15 games against Sevilla without defeat.
Today’s performance, and especially the second set of 45 minutes, is especially comforting following four consecutive games in which Barça have scraped wins by a single goal. No scarping by today. This was a confident, exhilarating display of football prowess.
It was a night when everything smoothly clicked into place, and Sevilla never really had a chance against one of Barça’s most convincing looking performances of the season so far.
The home side were so utterly on top throughout the first half that it’s astonishing that not only did they fail to score but didn’t particularly create that many chances. Xavi was not wrong when he predicted before the game that it would be difficult to break through Sevilla’s very well organised defence.
And when they did, there was a world class goalkeeper in Bounou behind them. The Moroccan produced two particularly brilliant saves to deny Robert Lewandowski the chance to put his side ahead.
Barça’s cause was not helped in the slightest by the loss of Sergio Busquets to an ankle injury after just five minutes.
Kessie took his place, and Jordi Alba took his captain’s armband, and they were the duo who produced the goal when it finally came. The Ivorian completed an exquisite build-up with the deftest of passes into space, and there was Alba running in it tuck home his first goal of the season.
Gavi doubles up
Goal number two came after 70 minutes, Raphinha finishing off another fabulous move by sliding the ball to the far post where the unmarked Gavi was waiting to score his first league goal for Barça. And also his first as a fully-fledged first team member, and with Xavi’s old number six on his back.
Barça were on a roll. Sevilla had yet to create any kind of meaningful danger, and didn’t look like they were going to either. Instead the men in blaugrana were putting on a show for the 77,987 souls on the terraces.
Raphinha makes it three
And the third goal was the icing on the cake. A wondrous ball from Frenkie de Jong, and equally stupendous ball in from Jordi Alba, and Raphinha was there to slam home with his first touch.
A joy to watch, and fair reward for the Brazilian, who was enjoying perhaps his best game yet since his move to Catalonia.
Yet another clean sheet, eight points clear at the top of the table and playing football like in the good old days, it would take a brave man to bet against Barça going on to win the Liga trophy now.
But there is a lot football still to be played. And next up it’s Villarreal away, in another Sunday 9pm CET start.
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