A collection of stats from the 4-0 win against Betis, the first time FC Barcelona have won when returning to the league after the Club World Cup
11:00PM Wednesday 30 Dec
Barça have played at the Club World Cup, or the Intercontinental Cup as it was known before, five times, and until now they have never won in their first league match immediately following the event. All that changed after they emphatically saw off Betis 4-0 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night. In 1992, after losing to Sao Paulo in Japan, the side managed by Johan Cruyff drew 3-3 at Rayo; in 2006, after losing in Yokohama, Frank Rijkaard’s side was held 1-1 by Atlético Madrid; in 2009, after Pep Guardiola had led Barça to its first world title in Abu Dhabi, Villarreal got a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou, and after seeing off Santos 4-0 in 2011, Barça drew 1-1 at Espanyol, although they had won two Copa del Rey matches in between, 9-0 against Hospitalet and 4-0 versus Osasuna.
Barça set two all-time records against Betis. They became the first Liga team to get 180 goals in a calendar year, surpassing Real Madrid’s tally of 178 in 2014. They also set a new record for wins in a calendar year, 51.
The win confirms Luis Suárez’s position as the outright leading goalscorer in the league. With a brace against Betis, the Uruguayan now has 15 goals in his account,and is followed in the ranking by his team-mate Neymar Jr and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who have 14 each.
The three points ensure that Barça stay top of the league with 58 points. That’s the same as Atlético Madrid, but the Catalans have a much better goal difference, and a game in hand too. That’s against Sporting Gijón, after the fixture was postponed due to Barça’s involvement in the Club World Cup.
Wednesday saw the full trident in action at the Camp Nou for the fifth time this season. Barça have won all five of those games and have only conceded two goals in the process. Messi, Neymar and Suárez have scored 13 of the 17 goals that the team has scored in those matches.
Dani Alves won the most balls against Betis (11) and also made the most completed passes (71). Leo Messi was on the receiving end of most of those (22), while the most active player was the right-sided centre back Mascherano.
Barça kept their third successive clean sheet. After 3-0 wins in both Club World Cup matches, Claudio Bravo was also unbeaten against Betis.